Fine Hair? No Problem! Here's How To Get The Most Out Of Thinner Strands

To the fine-haired ladies out there: we feel your pain. In a world where Kardashian-levels of fullness and extensions have become the hairstyle standard (not to mention the lovely Duchess Kate and her impossibly thick locks), it's enough to make us thinner-haired ladies a little bummed.
Short of implants or weaves, we're kind of out of luck when it comes to truly increasing the thickness of our hair, so we think it's about time we made due with what we have. To help us find those perfect styles for fine hair types, we reached out to none other than Nick Arrojo (yes, the adorable English hair pro behind all of those amazing hair makeovers on What Not To Wear), who was expectedly full of information and suggestions for reaching our fine hair nirvana.
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According to Arrojo, maximizing the look of fine hair — no matter what the cut or style — starts with the right care. "If hair texture is naturally fine, the key is to use lightweight shampoos and conditioners that won’t weigh down the hair." If your hair is fine and dry, Arrojo stresses that strategic moisturizing is key. "If hair is dry as well as thin — this is most likely if hair has been through chemical treatments — the best thing to do is follow the same steps as above, but also use a moisturizing conditioner. However, it is imperative that this moisturizing conditioner only be applied mid-length to the ends, not near the roots. The mid-lengths and ends are the oldest part of the hair strand, so these are the parts that will be dry. The roots are new hair, and less prone to becoming dry; so putting a moisturizing product here will only weigh down the hair."
Now that you know the best way to care for your delicate locks, click through for Arrojo's tips for the best cuts, styles, and products to boost volume and texture — plus, how to make your amped-up look last all day.
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Once hair has been washed and conditioned to max out volume, the next step to prepping fine hair for long-lasting oomph is to apply the correct styling product — and the right amount of it. "Towel-dry hair to damp and apply ARROJO Volume Foam from roots to ends. The amino acids in the product help to plump, thicken, and lift the hair shaft. Meanwhile, because the product is a foam, it makes it easier to apply where volume is created: at the roots."

While it's common for fine-haired girls to fear product overload, Arrojo actually insists that when you're using the right product for your hair type, more is actually, well, more. "Product usage follows a simple rule of thumb: the more you want to volumize, the more product you should use. If you left your hair unwashed for a day or two afterwards, then product build-up can be a problem, so the trick is to know when to shampoo and condition your hair clean of product. For example, you may use a lot of product to give your hair the wow factor for a big night out –– in that case, you know you’ll need to shampoo and condition the next day." If you follow this rule, you'll ensure that you don't over-wash hair, which can majorly dry out your locks.

Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages
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When it comes to finding the right haircut that will allow strands to be as full of body as possible, Arrojo makes the argument that soft layers are preferable over more harsh, structured, blunt cuts. "Fine hair tends to be limp and fall flat, so cuts with soft shape and soft lines work best. Strong styles with strong lines that are dependent on structure just won’t hold their shape, and will leave hair looking deflated."

As far as length, Arrojo says that there can be some flexibility, although he claims that short cuts are pretty foolproof for creating volume in fine strands: "When hair is on the longer side, the extra weight pulls it down, making it look fine and thin. Conversely, when cut short, hair lies on top of each other and with it comes the illusion of thicker hair. If you’re conscious of fine or thinning hair, a shorter style might be just the ticket." Arrojo is a big fan of Keira Knightley's choppy bob for its fashion-forward, yet soft and romantic look.

Photo: Everett Collection/Rex USA
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Fine-haired ladies need to be conscious of hair health, as treatments like coloring and straightening can do even more damage on delicate locks. Says Arrojo: "A naturally fine hair texture combined with tons of chemical services to make her bombshell blonde means that Gwyneth Paltrow is a paragon of hair style for women and girls who suffer from similarly fine strands. Here, she's backcombed aggressively from forehead to crown to create that vital illusion of lift." If backcombing isn't your cup of tea, Arrojo recommends going for a smooth style (with a heat protective styler, of course), which will shift the focus onto the polish and gloss of the hair, rather than its thinness.

Whichever way you decide to wear your hair, keeping the look going strong all day can be challenging when your fine strands tend to have a mind of their own. "Being prepared will be your best asset," says Arrojo. "Unless wearing a cropped or pixie cut, fine hair will always go a little limp as the day wears on, even with hairspray. So, the best thing to do is put a style saver in your purse. ARROJO Refinish Dry Shampoo is a miracle style rescue that's perfect for such situations. It instantly adds texture, bulk, and grip. Carry it with you and whenever you feel you are falling flat, pulse into hair, shake, and tousle." Confession: us fine-haired ladies in the R29 beauty department keep a stash of dry shampoo in the office just for this purpose!

Photo: Richard Young/Rex/Rex USA
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If you prefer to wear your fine locks long, Arrojo suggests trying bangs, which trick the eye into thinking that your whole head of hair is as thick as the fringe, as seen here on Jessica Biel. "There is no one perfect way to wear bangs," says Arrojo. "It depends on the style, and it depends how you want to accent the temples and eyes. But full, straight deep set bangs would be best for hiding a thinning hair line at the front." So, there you have it: If you've been toying with the idea of going for the bang-up job, this could be the final encouragement you need.

To maximize the impact of the bang, blow them out smooth (but not too straight, as a little bit of bend can enhance the thickness illusion) and finish with a light coat of hairspray. As bangs can tend to get greasy as the day wears on, you'll definitely want to have some dry shampoo handy to give your bangs a boost, if needed.

Photo: Jim Smeal/BEImages
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As previously stated, fine hair can be delicate and extra-sensitive to damaging chemicals and heat. To give your hair a break from styling and backcombing, Arrojo recommends adding some unique updos to your hairstyle arsenal, as the lovely Kate Bosworth continually demonstrates with her chic upstyles. "Kate deals with [her fine hair] a little more creatively, creating a variety of special occasion updos that add so much visual interest that one does not notice how fine her strands are."

Funky braids or twisted 'dos can perfectly frame your face and add some extra flair to your overall look — plus, fine locks can be the perfect non-competing backdrop for a bold headpiece or hair accessory (we loved this example on Kirsten Dunst). We'd say that these gorgeous and proud fine-haired ladies are getting us majorly inspired. Who needs extensions when your fine hair can look this cute?

Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages
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