BY LAURA BRAUNSTEIN
Those of us who have the shared experience of fine hair know that the daily struggle is real. Between feelings of our hair being flat, limp, lifeless, flyaway, and boring, it can be hard to appreciate what genetics gave us. The fact that our hair dries quickly and smoothes out easily is hardly a consolation when it looks almost exactly the same no matter what we do. While it's important to try to remember that the grass isn't always greener on the other side, I am definitely not here to lecture anyone on their emotional reasonableness. What I can provide are a few tips for maximizing and working with what you've got.
(1) Cut Choices
Each hair on our head is preprogrammed to max out at a certain length. On people with fine hair, this is often shorter than on others. This means that if you want to wear long hair, not every hair is going to be able to reach the desired perimeter length. What do you do, you may ask? If you are committed to wearing your hair as long as possible, keep it simple, a one length cut is the best haircut for you. You can have your stylist cut in a minimal amount of face framing pieces, but skip the layers. They'll only end up detracting from the look of a clean strong line and leave your ends looking scrappy after only a few short weeks. Peggy, pictured to the left, has this simple cut. If you're interested in trying a shorter style, a long bob (lob) is generally great for fine hair. The defining characteristic of a bob is a strong line and since all of your hair is capable of growing to your shoulders, voila, it's easily achievable. The minimal amount of graduation put into a lob will also help your hair to tuck every so slightly under creating the illusion of thickness, a definite bonus. Finally, if you're really interested in going short, you can't go wrong with a pixie when you have fine hair. As long as the cut is not so short that your scalp is shining through, removal of length always means removal of weight. What does this translate to? Locks that are short always have an easier time gaining volume and thus the look of fullness, no matter what the precise shape.
(2) Using Color To Create Interest
Slight variation in color creates the illusion of depth and dimension and therefore fullness. For us fine haired girls, this is key. Even if your first inclination would not be to add color to your hair, you may want to reconsider. Adding a highlight and lowlight that is one shade lighter and darker respectively, than your natural hue, will not change the overall appearance of your color much, but will add tremendous variation to your palate, thus creating dimension. The subtlety will leave you with a very low maintenance look that will barely be noticeable as it grows out, meaning that you could do it once and let it go without a problem. For those of us who would color anyway, paneled looking highlights and lowlights help to create the look of depth within the hair. Conversely, a very finely woven highlight that just creates an overall lighter look, is actually not as beneficial. It's important to be able to really see the color differential because that's the best way to add interest. In Peggy's hair, pictured at left, you can see a lot of variation without it looking stripey. This can be achieved with both a foil and balayage technique. Any talented NYC hairstylist, but especially everyone in our west side salon of course, will know what is best for you in particular.
It's very easy for fine hair texture to become damaged because the molecular makeup of the hair is actually weaker when compared with coarser hair. Fortunately, there are many great products on the market that can reinvigorate hair with both protein and moisture. Shampoo. It's important to use a gentle shampoo that is sulfate free and not full of other harsh cleansing agents. When shampooing, focus on the lather at the scalp and simply allow the product to run over the ends while rinsing. Unless you were rolling around in the mud, there's really no need to rough up the cuticle layer of your hair by scrubbing your ends unnecessarily. Conditioner. Conditioner is key to keeping fine hair strong and moist. Don't be stingy, really fully saturate your hair with conditioner after each shampoo and if possible, allow it to really seep in for a minute or two before rinsing. While you can use the same shampoo every day, you want to rotate your conditioners between a protein conditioner made to rebuild and a moisture conditioner made to rehydrate. We swear by the Dry Remedy and Damage Remedy conditioners from Aveda in our NYC hair salon and in our own showers at home. Proper conditioning definitely makes a huge difference.
If you'd like to continue this conversation and customize it to talk more about your own hair specifically, give us a call! Consultations are always complimentary!