Scroll through any large media outlet and you will surely see catchy headlines about hair health in our ever-reaching pursuit of growing a glorious and luscious head of hair.
Well, the universe had a different plan for the millions of us who hit the genetic anti-lottery of very fine/thin hair or who navigate hair loss concerns. While I’m not professionally trained in hair care, I have struggled with androgenetic alopecia (female pattern hair loss) for over 25 years and fashion myself an amateur connoisseur of all things fine hair. If your wimpy hair has also been the bane of your life as it has mine, stick around for some of my favourite tips and tricks for giving your fine/thin hair - along with your self-confidence - an extra boost!
Tip #1: Choose a hairstyle and colour that works with your hair type.
From a young age, I insisted on regularly highlighting and blowing out my curly hair with the hopes of achieving an ever-elusive blonde, silky mane. In spite of going to top hair stylists and using high-quality dryers/tools combined with professional quality heat protectants, fine/thin hair can only take so much before it is damaged. Combined with the loss of hair density due to my genetic hair loss condition, this was a recipe for wimpy, damaged hair.
After decades of living as expats abroad we decided to move back stateside and relocated to Houston, a city often described as hot, humid and swampy. Having heard countless stories about the extreme steps many take to maintain a blowout in the humid Texas climate, I finally took a leap of faith, let my hair air dry and do its natural thing, and switched to single-process hair colour.
Although the initial transition period of waiting for the damaged hair to grow out can be tricky, seeing the bounce and vitality of my healthier hair made it well worth the patience. I was pleasantly surprised to see it had more volume because of the curls and each hair strand was significantly healthier without the constant highlights and heat/styling. I miss being a blonde but now cherish travelling with only a comb and styling oil to help form the curls.
If your wimpy hair has also been the bane of your life as it has mine, stick around for some of my favourite tips and tricks for giving your fine/thin hair - along with your self-confidence - an extra boost!
Tip #2: Select hair care products that keep your fine/thin healthy and hydrated without weighing it down.
Have you tried many products only to find that your hair is weightless but very dry, or hydrated but weighed down? I feel you! The most important step is washing and conditioning our locks, which I most enjoy doing with this shampoo/conditioner pair that is perfect for nourishing fine/thin hair:
- Shampoo/Conditioner: Graydon Matcha Mint Shampoo + Hair Smoothie (aka conditioner): Formulated with nourishing ingredients such as matcha green tea, jojoba and oat/sativa oils, these products quickly dethroned my previous go-to's (Virtue Labs and Olaplex). Graydon’s extensive ingredient knowledge has yielded this outstanding shampoo/conditioner combo. It really hydrates my curls yet leaves them free of heavy residues.
- Shampoo/Conditioner: Virtue Labs “Full” shampoo to tackle roots+ “Recovery” conditioner: While this pair no longer reigns supreme in my lineup, fine/thin hair couples very nicely with Virtue’s Alpha Keratin 60ku® (identical to the keratin in our hair) and benefits from extra hydration without placing excess weight on fine/thin strands.
- Styling Oil: Rōz Hair “Santa Lucia” Styling Oil is lightweight, smooths frizz, adds natural shine, and protects against humidity. This is the lightest weight styling oil I have ever tried and the fragrance is also divine.
- Overnight Hair Treatment: Graydon Superfood Serum: is technically formulated for the skin/face but I love using this nutrient-rich oil on the ends of my dry hair or as a hydrating scalp serum at night. Containing delightful ingredients such as goji seed, turmeric and chia, it also offers a healthy dose of sacha inchi oil, an ingredient I came to love when living in Peru where indigenous groups traditionally consume it. Colloquially referred to as the Inca nut, it is rich in fatty acids and tocopherol (Vitamin E) and leaves the scalp soft and not oily.
Tip #3: Install a water softener in your shower head.
This trick is on the bougie side but can make a meaningful difference in your hair’s shine and bounce. Approximately 80-85% of US homes have hard water and the contents of this mineral-rich water can cause your hair to become dry, straw-like, dull and limp. Installing a water softener significantly improved my hair’s softness and bounce with the first wash! I was honestly quite shocked at the difference and many friends have experienced the same results.
If installing a water softener isn’t in the books right now, then a simple chelating shampoo can quickly remove weighty deposits of minerals in addition to dirt and residue.
Tip #4: Create the illusion of thicker & fuller hair with innovative cosmetic solutions like We Are ME Cosmetics’ Can’t Stop Me Now - The Scalp Foundation™
PSA: There now exists a luxurious, dermatologist-tested and waterproof makeup product that instantly makes hair look thicker and fuller. The Scalp Foundation™ is the first ever comprehensive complexion product for the hair and scalp and, incidentally, was born from my own hair loss journey.
In parallel to prescription medical intervention focusing on regrowing my hair, I struggled for years with lame cosmetic “hacks” to make my hair look fuller, such as adapting eye shadows, root concealers, or coloured dry shampoo sprays. However, the reality is that these products fall short because they simply weren’t designed for this purpose. Having tired of settling for the status quo of these hacks, I dedicated myself to developing a luxurious and comprehensive makeup solution for the hair and scalp that is effortless to apply and looks and feels very natural.
The Scalp Foundation™ is also infused with ten skin-loving and hair-loving ingredients such as green tea, red clover, peptides, caffeine and jojoba seed and packs a punch as a multitasker that also covers grays in a fraction of the time compared to existing root covers and beautifully fills in brows.
Tip #5: Seek evaluation and diagnosis with a board-certified dermatologist or reputable trichologist for hair loss concerns.
If you are one of the 50% of women or 70% of men who experience hair thinning, I strongly recommend seeking a medical expert for evaluation and proper diagnosis. Alopecia can be temporary or permanent and is broadly categorized into two types: scarring and non-scarring, each with its own treatment protocols.
While reaching for heavily advertised hair growth serums or supplements may be tempting, investing in a thorough medical evaluation is the best strategy to determine an appropriate treatment protocol.
There are also wonderful hair loss advocates on social media such as @thehealthyhur, @lacie.rodriguez and @hairlossgirlboss, who share uplifting and, most importantly, accurate information about navigating hair thinning concerns.
While we thin-hair gals are unlikely to share the delightfully carefree life enjoyed by those with thick, shiny hair who can ride in a roller coaster or convertible, then confidently sashay into a dinner party after a few graceful strokes of a brush, I hope these tips and tricks serve you in finding a healthier and bouncier spring to your own hair and step!
Camille Barreto is Alopecia Advocate & Founder of We Are ME Cosmetics