Having thin hair isn’t exactly ideal. You can’t rock second-day hair without it looking flat or lackluster, you risk burning your hair off every time you heat treat it and you can completely forget about any style that requires volume for any amount of time longer than it takes to walk from your bathroom to your front door.
I’ve had thin, frizzy, naturally curly hair for my entire life. I wasn’t one of those girls that got lucky during puberty and experienced a magical shift in hair type. I tried just about everything to get my hair to look somewhat presentable: short bobs, long bobs, blunt bangs, long bangs, curling with gel, curling with an iron, curling with foam rollers, curling with velcro rollers, flat ironing it, blow drying it—basically I’ve done just about everything short of shaving it off à la Britney Spears circa 2007 (though I did come close one time).
Finally, after 22 years of heinously bad hair days, I figured it out and I’m here to share my new-found knowledge with all of you. Before you can master any specific styles, you need to know exactly how to approach your thin hair. Here are four helpful tips that I’ve learned over the years:
1. Layers are your best friends.
You’ve probably heard this from every professional stylist under the sun, but sometimes it doesn’t really hit home until you hear it from a friend or random stranger on the Interwebs, you know? Layers are what give your hair that extra oomph even when you’re having a flat day, and they make it so much easier to add volume with heat or dry shampoo. So, next time you’re getting your hair cut, talk to your stylist about what kinds of layers would work best for you.
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
At the very least, I blow dry my hair every other day; it’s the only way I can get it to stay smooth and neat throughout the day. Because of this, I’m constantly worried about my hair drying out or getting irreparable heat damage (it’s really not cute, you guys), so I invested in my new miracle product: Weightless Hydration Coconut Water Hydration Oil ($5.99)by OGX. I swear by this spray, and I apply it before every blow-dry. It gives you the heat protection and hydration your hair desperately needs, it doesn’t feel oily at all, it smells amazing and one small bottle lasts a surprisingly long time; I bought mine back in October 2014, and I’m only just now gearing up to replace it.
3. Find a tool that works for you and stick with it.
Hair tools can you be your best friend or your worst enemy. It generally takes a few days to get the hang of a new one, and sometimes, even after you have figured out the ins and outs of it, you realize that you don’t like what you’re getting out of it, and you have to start the search process all over again. They don’t come cheap either, making your search for the perfect tool that much more stressful. I was lucky to find the perfect dryer years ago, after I pulled the classic “Buy Everything My Older Sister Buys” maneuver. I use the Conair IonShine Dryer. Don’t let all of the attachments intimidate you: once you get the hang of it, which, honestly, only takes two uses, you’ll never go back to the old days of a dryer and round brush. Trust me on this one.
Conair IonShine Dryer ($22.99)
4. Give your hair a break every now and again.
This is so, so important. If you constantly subject your hair to heat or excessive product without taking a day or two off every once in a while, your hair will actively hate you for the rest of your life. It’ll look dull, broken and just all-around sad. I understand that this might make wearing your hair down difficult on some days, and that maybe wearing your hair up when it’s thin makes you feel like you “look bald” (is that just me?), but if you throw it up in a top knot or sock bun, you’ll barely notice the difference. A few bad hair days every now and then is a small price to pay for hair that’s both healthy and healthy-looking.