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.
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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.
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.
Product tips for fine curly hair
Here are my top tips for using products on low density or fine curly hair:
- Use low poo and clarify often
- Use less conditioner
- Deep condition on dirty hair
- Use lightweight products
- Use 1 styling product, preferably a mousse or gel
- Use styling products that add volume.
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.
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.
My hair is also high porosity, meaning it absorbs things easily. Products and moisture build up and weigh it down making it dull. So I stay away from heavy products with butters and oils like curl creams and heavy lines. I also use products that add volume, like a volumizing foam or conditioner.
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).
In addition to monthly deep conditioning, I do protein and clarifying treatments. The protein treatments help my curl keep its shape, volume, and shine. The clarifying helps with the buildup to bring back bounce, softness, and shine. You can read more about protein treatments here and clarifying here.
And because I know you will ask, I'll list my favorite products in each category:
- EVOLVh SmartCurl shampoo (use code HE15 to save)
- EVOLVh InstaVolume shampoo (use code HE15 to save)
- MopTop Gentle Shampoo (use code HE10 to save)
- Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat shampoo
- Kinky Curly Come Clean clarifying shampoo
- EVOLVh SmartCurl conditioner (use code HE15 to save)
- EVOLVh SmartVolume leave-in conditioner (use code HE15 to save)
- EVOLVh InstaVolume elixir (spray leave in conditioner that replaces conditioner) (use code HE15 to save)
- MopTop Daily conditioner (use code HE10 to save)
- Giovanni Root 66 Max Volume conditioner
- Giovanni Direct lightweight leave-in
- Briogeo Curl Charisma leave-in
- Briogeo Don't Despair Repair deep conditioner
- Shea Moisture Strengthen and Restore Masque
- EVOLVh Total Control Styling Creme (use code HE10 to save)
- EVOLVh InstaVolume mousse (use code HE10 to save)
- MopTop Curly Hair Custard – not good in humid or very dry weather (use code HE10 to save)
- Giovanni LA Hold gel
- Flaxseed gel (DIY or storebought)
- Giovanni Mousse
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.
- Don't apply styling products near the roots.
- Style in a way that pulls hair away from the scalp, like upside down or sideways.
- Don't let your hair clumps get too big while styling.
- Squeeze out as much water as you can with your hair towel.
- Gently flip your hair to the side and forward while drying to lock the lift in the roots away from the scalp.
- Use dry shampoo after wash day.
- Put your hair up in a buff at night.
- Fluff your hair with your fingers or a comb/pick.
- Scrunch out the crunch soon after your hair has dried.
- 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.
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.
You can also read my other popular posts on curly hair:
- A Basic Guide to the Curly Girl Method for Wavy & Curly Hair
- What Products You Really Need To Start The Curly Girl Method
- Curly Girl Method Routine for 2B 2C 3A Hair
- 50+ Curly Girl Method Approved Products
- Curly Girl Night Routine To Protect Your Curls At Night
- How To Refresh Curly Hair
- Tips For Fine & Low Density Curly Hair
- How To Clarify Curly Hair
- Rice Water Rinse Guide
- 14 Hacks For Curly and Wavy Hair
- How To Repair Damaged Curly Hair
- Curly Girl Method Before and After – 1 Year Progress Update
- Ultimate Guide to Hair Porosity for Curly Hair
- My Favorite Products for Fine Curly Hair
- 11 Surprising Reasons You Have Frizz + Tips to Beat Frizz
- Common Causes of Limp Curls & Their Fixes
- Guide to Humidity & Weather Styling
- EVOLVh Review
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