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How To Care For Low Density & Fine Curly Hair

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One of the biggest issues I had when I started my curly girl journey was finding products and styling methods that actually worked for my fine curly hair that is also low density.

I even pleaded to the stylist that gave me a Deva cut about my struggles with volume and she basically told me unless I was willing to lose A LOT of length, there really wasn’t much I could do in that area. My hair is too fine and thin.

So I have now been following the curly girl method for over 3 years and wearing my hair curly for even longer and I’ve figured out that my hair likes and dislikes, and the best methods that work with and not against my fine curly hair.

What is fine curly hair?

Fine hair is smaller in diameter than coarse hair, meaning the individual strand of hair is thinner. Hair being fine has nothing to do with how much hair you have (aka the number of strands). You can have a lot of fine hair, very little fine hair, or be in between.

In addition, fine curly hair is also very fragile when compared to other curl patterns because the strands themselves are so thin, which makes them even more susceptible to damage or breakage from dyes, flat irons or blow drying.

Because a fine curl will not hold as much moisture as a thick curl, it needs to be treated differently in order to maintain luster and manageability.

hair texture chart with fine normal and coarse hair

What is low density curly hair?

Low density hair is where your hair strands are spread very far apart from each other and you can more easily see the scalp. You can have fine, medium, or coarse low density hair.

Anything that has a low density will have an easier time being affected by the factors in your day to day life, such as weather conditions, and air, because they’re more prone to not having enough support or protection from the elements.

Low density hair typically struggles with volume. Low density curls are also called thin curls.

So low density fine curly hair means each individual strand is thin and there aren’t many strands on your head.

hair density chart with low medium and high

Product tips for fine curly hair

Here are my top tips for using products on low density or fine curly hair:

  1. Use lightweight products
  2. Use 1 styling product, preferably a mousse or gel
  3. Use less conditioner
  4. Use styling products that add volume.
  5. Deep condition on dirty hair
  6. Use low poo and clarify often
  7. Try protein treatments

Use Lightweight Products

First up is the product issue. Although my hair is more curly than wavy, it behaves more like wavy hair. It prefers really lightweight products, shampoo, and a very small amount of styling product.

Lightweight products have less moisture and will not weigh down the hair as much. These products will define and hold the curls without all the heaviness.

So I stay away from heavy products with butters and oils like curl creams and heavy lines.

Use 1 Styling Product

I see lots of other curlies slathering on the leave in, creams, mousses, and gels and there is no way that my hair could handle all that. I even recently experimented with using a volumizing mousse and a gel to see if that would help but it was a total flop. My hair was heavy with product, dull, and got greasy very quickly.

products for fine curly hair EVOLVh smart curl line in bathroom sink in a row

The two times I have had a Deva cut both stylists used only 1 product on my hair. The first time it was the Devacurl Volumizing Foam, and the second time it was the Ouidad Climate Control Gel.

I have always only styled with 1 product out of pure laziness, and because quite honestly my hair always looked fine with only 1 product. If it works, I don’t really mess with it.

But thinking back on the discussions I had with the stylists, I see now that because my hair is so thin they did not want to layer it with products because it would weigh it down.

Use Less Conditioner

When I use conditioner, including leave-in, I don’t use a lot. I emulsify a small amount in my hands and spread it over the length of my hair while it’s wet, then let it sit for a few minutes.

The key to making this work is emulsifying the conditioner in my hands first. Just rub it for a minute or so and it will cream up and transform into more product on your hands.

It’s also a good idea to squish to condish to really help lock in the moisture, reduce frizz, and help with tangles.

Use Volumizing Products

I also use products that add volume, like a volumizing foam or conditioner.

Deep Condition on Dirty Hair

One other thing I noticed was that whenever I deep conditioned, my hair felt so soft and almost wispy. Like it was too much moisture. It would be smooth and shiny but lose its curl quickly and get frizzy.

So I tried deep conditioning on dirty hair and that was the ticket. On wash day, I wet my hair then apply the deep conditioner. I proceed with my shower and once done I rinse out the conditioner. Then I shampoo, conditioner, and style as usual. This method seems to help my hair not to absorb too much moisture. I also only do this one every month or two. (This method is also known as pre poo).

Use Low Poo & Clarify

My hair is also high porosity, meaning it absorbs things easily. Products and moisture build up and weigh it down making it dull. Because of this, I need to always use a low poo shampoo and clarify often.

Low poo shampoo ensures I don’t have too much moisture in my hair. The clarifying helps with the buildup to bring back bounce, softness, and shine after some time.

Try Protein Treatments

In addition to monthly deep conditioning, I do protein treatments. Protein treatments help my curl keep its shape, volume, and shine.

Fine hair often needs protein to strengthen the strands and prevent breakage. It also helps bulk up your hair and make it feel and look thicker.

And because I know you will ask, I’ll list my favorite products in each category:




I also have a whole post dedicated to my favorite products which you can read here.

If you need more help in choosing specific products based on your hair type, check out my product finder, the Curly Product Handbook.

This guide will show you how to identify your hair type and characteristics, provide some styling tips, and list exact products that will work on your hair type. Click here for more info.

Styling Tips for low Density or Fine Curly Hair

Aside from using products that give me volume and don’t weigh down my hair, I have some tricks to help my hair look fuller.

  1. Don’t apply styling products near the roots.
  2. Style in a way that pulls hair away from the scalp, like upside down or sideways.
  3. Don’t let your hair clumps get too big while styling.
  4. Squeeze out as much water as you can with your hair towel.
  5. Gently flip your hair to the side and forward while drying to lock the lift in the roots away from the scalp.
  6. Use dry shampoo after wash day.
  7. Put your hair up in a buff at night.
  8. Fluff your hair with your fingers or a comb/pick.
  9. Scrunch out the crunch soon after your hair has dried.
  10. Flip your part every day.

Some of these are pretty obvious but I will expand on a few. If you need visuals watch the YouTube video.

I never apply products near my roots. You can see in my wash day and styling videos I apply products, including conditioner, from the ears down. I then scrunch up and get some product in the root area but it’s never applied directly. This helps to not weigh it down.

I also make sure not to let my clumps get too big when I’m applying products. Big clumps mean the hair condenses into a smaller area so it will look flatter. Instead split them into smaller clumps for a fuller look.

I squeeze out as much water as I can with my hair towel. I microplop, which you can see in the video above. I do this until my hair is no longer dripping to help reduce the weight the water puts on my hair.

Using a hair buff and dry shampoo also helps lengthen wash day and hide my scalp since the root area doesn’t get greasy and flat as quickly.

product and styling tips for fine low density curly hair
Tips for low density, fine curly hair

If you want help with embracing your naturally wavy or curly hair, you can join my FREE email course and download my FREE pdf guide, THE QUICK START GUIDE TO MASTERING YOUR CURLS, full of everything you need to know to get started and bring out your beautiful waves and curls.

Posts On Fine Curly Hair Care

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the best tips and tricks for fine curly hair for volume, definition, and bounce

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  1. Hey Delilah,
    Happy New Year to you from India!
    I’ve been a subscriber and avid reader of your blog since I heard what the CG technique was all about in early 2018.
    I’ve tried to switch to it as far as I could. The reason the entire CG technique doesn’t work for me is because I have thin and low density hair, that’s all the way down to my backside. Hahaha.
    I have switched to chem free products for washing, Ive been using an ACV shampoo from Amazon for the past year and it’s worked fine for me. I don’t do the styling part though, as my hair it too long to retain the curls anyway, it just gets weighed down even without any product as the strands are too long to hold curls. Anyway. I guess I’ll just do it for overall hair health them even without the curl definition.

    I’ve recently read about DIY Castile shampoos, and I wanted to know how they work. Because I want to be waste free as far as possible with my haircare and shower routine this year. I know you’d be quite unwilling to experiment with something new at this stage now yhat you’ve already gotten beautiful curls and have settled with products that are suited for your hair, I was just wondering if I could get some leads here.
    Whether the shampoo would be okay on curly hair and the process, it’s generally followed by an acidic rinse and all of that. I really want to switch over to a less waste lifestyle and I’ve reached a slight roadblock here.

    Hope you can help me out with this 🙂

    Love & Regards to your curls:P,

    1. Hi Nikita! So I am not very familiar with castile soap but from looking at it it seems like it might be a bit harsh. I guess you could try and see if it is drying. I do know that an acidic rinse is not enough to condition hair though. I have heard of some cg friendly shampoo and conditioner bars. Those would be zero waste and much less harsh on your hair. I’m not sure how accessible they are in India though.

    1. I really like the Plump line from NYMN but it has alcohol so it may not be good for some curly hair types, and it’s not CG approved. But it’s what gives me the most volume.

  2. Thank you for this information. I have thin low density hair that is curly and I’ve had such a hard time with the heavier products. I will give your suggestions a try!

    1. Thanks so much for this post. You described my hair exactly! I’m looking forward to applying some of your advice. Nine months ago I started taking a collagen supplement and stopped coloring my hair. So I have a lot of new hair that’s about 5 inches long and the rest of my hair is in long layers just a little past my shoulders. I’ve been struggling but hoping it won’t be weird for too many more months!

      1. Hello Delilah, I have been struggling with my 4 B/C for 15 or so years. Very fine, low density, low porosity. I just tried clarifying, deep condition and 1 style product (homemade DIY gel). It looked better than it has for years with just one treatment. Co washed, conditioned and gel with Giovani products you suggested. Wasn’t quite as nice, but still better than before. I have been using the buff too which seems to be working out. I would love to get my hair just healthy with a little length. How often should I deep condition on dirty hair? Any more suggestions? Thank you for all your help.

  3. I love your site! I have fine, low density, high porosity hair, and your tips have helped me a lot. Right now, though, I am really struggling with dry hair. I had been using a protein/moisture treatment, but switched to a deep conditioning treatment on the mid-lengths to ends. Any tips on adding more moisture to straw-like hair without weighing it down?

    1. Hi Colleen! Have you sorted this yet? Do you know what is making your hair so dry? There isn’t much to do other than deep condition and leave for extra moisture. If your hair is color treated Olaplex will help. I wonder if you’re having a problem with an ingredient drying out your hair, like glycerin or coconut.

  4. Hi, Delilah. Just discovered you by googling about fine, thin, curly hair. I know you discuss how to style fine curly hair by embracing the curls and using products to style in that manner but I like blowing my hair dry with a round brush to wear it straight and with volume. For some reason, I’m having a terribly hard time for the past year with humidity here in Florida. I live in Key West and it seems to be extra humid even though the weather has cooled down a bit. Do you have any tips or suggestions. I have tried tons of different styling products that are supposed to help smooth and help keep the hair straight and sleek but they don’t seem to be helping. Thank you so much! Josette

    1. Yes, make sure you avoid styling products with glycerin. Silicones are geat for this too so find a serum or styling cream with silicone to help create a barrier. But don’t use a lot since you want volume. Hairspray is good too. Any with alcohol will give more volume and they tend to work well against humidity. You can spray a little on wet hair before you dry it.

  5. I’m so relieved to have found your website! I have very thin, high porosity 3a-b curls. I had a TON of postpartum hair loss and now I have some new growth but it’s impossible to style. If I follow the normal curly styling routine to lift curls from the scalp, then I look like I have a thicker scalp/halo with a bunch of longer straggly curls just last my shoulder. My trick to make it look somewhat okay is to have it dry flat to my head. Do you have any styling tips with this issue? Or do I need to just power through the awkward regrowth phase?

    Note, I also struggle with the curl families not staying happily together because the new curls and old curls go in different directions 🤦🏻‍♀️

    If you can share advice, I’d appreciate it! Even without, your blogs have been SO helpful!

    1. That’s certainly tricky. As the new growth comes in, it will struggle to clump with the rest of the hair so there isn’t much you can do about that. I think you’ll just have to push through and hope it grows quickly 🙂

  6. Hello. I desperately wanted to try the products you suggested but I’m on a budget. So I did some online looking and found Elvive total repair products. It’s lightweight and has wheat protein. I only bought the treatment masque to start with and I could tell a difference before my hair was done air drying. The frizz was 90% in control. My hair has shine for the first time in 20 years and oh so freaking soft! When I finish the shampoo I have I’m going to buy the shampoo to see the difference with using them together.
    If I hadn’t read your blog I never would have finally had a proper direction to look for a product. Thank you so much for your wonderful information!

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