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2-in-1: For the VERY thin-haired, extensions? Products?
February 5, 2014 10:41 AM   Subscribe

I have very, very fine hair. Silky, almost baby-fine. My mother has been offering to get me high-end keratin extensions because she said there are areas where the hair is very sparse. I have heard only disastrous things about extensions, but am very open (hopeful even) to hearing otherwise. Can you give me feedback? Which methods were less damaging? Was it worth it?

Alternatively, since I'm not expecting any miracle stories about magical methods, keratin or otherwise, what products have you used that actually helped with volume and fullness? I've used kerastase volumactive spray, but it seems like recently it hasn't been as effective after 2 years of usage.

Thanks!
posted by namesarehard to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is this the hair you've always had? Have you been to the doctor to rule out thyroid, or a drug interaction that may be causing hair loss?

Hair extensions are either sewen into your hair, or glued in. Neither process is great for your hair.

Personally, I'd rather have wiglets or falls or other little hair pieces that I could use as I felt like it. Less expensive in the long run and a lot less hassle and pain.

Getting hair extensions takes all day, is monsterously expensive and can result in some pretty nasty hair breakage or even sores on your head.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:01 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Have you ever tried Aphogee Two-step? I use it about 6-12 times a year, and it really works wonders. I have caucasian hair and it works well for me, and I think it's typically marketed for African hair, so I would guess that it works on a range of hair types. For me, it really aids thickness and volume. Obviously you should check out whether your hair needs protein versus moisture etc., but I think fine hair often needs protein. Not too expensive in the 4 oz size, and possibly worth a shot? I've never gotten extensions, but my sense is that they're not great for your hair, and might thin it out even more in the long run.
posted by ClaireBear at 11:23 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Not a miracle product, unfortunately, but this stuff really does create volume for my hair. The other thing that makes a big difference, and maybe you already do this, is getting highlights. Instantly fuller hair.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 11:26 AM on February 5


I should have said and forgot to that the Aphogee is definitely not vegetarian-friendly, as it is primarily made of hydrolyzed animal protein. It's an intense protein treatment. As I said, I think that people with fine hair often benefit from it, but YMMV of course. I think that aiming for every 1-2 months with it is about right. It's not too difficult to do: basically, you comb your clean wet hair, drench it in the Aphogee Two-Step treatment, blowdry your hair until it hardens (taking care not to agitate your hair at this point since it's hard and brittle), and then rinse the Aphogee out (rinse until it un-hardens, and then shampoo until it's all out). They say to follow with the special conditioner, but I find that the mineral oil makes my fine hair greasy, so I skip it and just use a bit of normal conditioner on my ends, and my hair is no worse for the wear. It sounds scary, but it's not, and it takes maybe 20-30 minutes extra time (from combing hair hair, drenching it, blowdrying it, and then getting back in the shower to rinse and shampoo again). I find it really makes a noticeable difference, giving my hair a lot more volume and strength.

Aphogee also makes a Two-Minute Keratin Reconstructor that is more of an everyday product, that I think you could use regularly in conjunction with more occasional use of the more intense two-step above. However I have never used this myself so I can't personally recommend it, although it does have good reviews and at some point I will try it myself. I think you can buy both from Sally's beauty if you'd prefer not to work with Amazon third-party vendors.
posted by ClaireBear at 11:37 AM on February 5


I've never personally gotten keratin bonded extensions but I've seen the damage they can cause - increased thinning among them. If you're considering it, I'd go to a proper stylist who can assess your specific head of hair and tell you whether it's a good idea. Clip ins might be a better solution, but if your hair is super super fine they can cause damage, too.

Do you wear your hair straight? Maybe barrel curls to create a bit of wave might add volume.
posted by sm1tten at 11:50 AM on February 5


I also have fine, silky hair. I have found that coloring it -- especially going lighter helps a lot. The slight damage makes it easier to style and add volume.
posted by missmerrymack at 11:52 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


My husband uses Kiehls Ultimate Thickening Shampoo and it does an impressive job of making his thinning hair look fuller and thicker.
posted by Requiax at 12:05 PM on February 5


I have a good friend who uses clip-in extensions. She has them dyed and cut into her existing hair - but only wears them a couple of times or two a week, so it isn't causing constant damage.

Whether this will work for you, will depend on whether you care about other people close to you knowing that you sometimes have extensions and sometimes don't - a sensitivity that really varies across social circles.
posted by mercredi at 12:09 PM on February 5


I have the same hair as you. For me, coloring/highlighting it helps a bit, but not much. This Got2Be Fat-tastic Mousse is the best product I've found for adding volume, but it's certainly no miracle worker.
posted by jabes at 12:16 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


I've just discovered TIGI Bed Head Sugar Dust which is pretty remarkable stuff. The less you use the better it works.
posted by Room 641-A at 12:28 PM on February 5


My superfine hair loves protein, and I have found that a little Neutral Protein Filler, slightly diluted (about 2:1 filler to water) in a spray bottle and spritzed on wet hair after a shower really boosts the body. Some people add it to their regular shampoo or conditioner.

I usually get it at Sally's, where it's with the hair coloring products.
posted by camyram at 12:46 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Redken Powder Grip 03. Shake a little bit of powder on your hair to give it body and texture. It's not sticky/crunchy like mousse or gel. It's dry and doesn't weigh your hair down. Amazing stuff.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:30 PM on February 5


I have hair like that, and the more stuff I do that is terrible for your hair, the better it looks. Seriously, lots of dying, blow-drying, using shampoos that dry it out, etc. Damaged hairs seem to sit slightly further away from the other hairs than silky smooth perfect hair does, so it gives the illusion of volume. Of course, if your hair breaks easily, damage can also make that more likely, so it's a bit of a trade-off.

The other thing that helps for me is dying it a darker colour. My hair is naturally blonde, and so it doesn't really visually stand out against my skin, and that makes it look less full than it even is. When I have it red like now, or brown, it stands out more and gives the illusion of more fullness.

And you probably already do this, but short hair cuts work better for fine hair in my experience. Anything past shoulder length and the hair weighs itself down so much it lies even flatter. If it's chin length, it is sort of bouncy and looks fuller. This was the opposite of my instinct for many years where I felt like I could make up for lack of volume by adding length.

I pretty much don't use products, since I've never found anything that doesn't weigh the hair down so much it cancels out any volumizing effects. The only exception is that a TINY bit of mousse rubbed into your roots before blow-drying with your head upside down can make your hair stand up from your scalp a little and add an effect of volume -- for a few hours. It's worth doing for a special occasion, but for me it doesn't last all day.
posted by lollusc at 6:25 PM on February 5


My hair is also extremely fine. I've plucked hairs from my head to compare the diameter of my strands to those of my friends, and even some family members. It's comical to me how silky and fine it is. That said, I'm grateful that I have it and I've learned to love it. I see it as less of a burden than having hugely thick, unruly hair. As for "sparseness," I highly doubt your hair is as bad as your mother seems to have convinced herself it is. Unless you have bald patches, in which case I would suggest a wig if you're concerned about it, I think you should just start loving yourself and your lovely silky hair.

Some tips for keeping it nice are not weighing it down with tons of products- in my experience the best thing to do with our hair type is to do as little as possible to it. Don't over-process it with color, bleach, or treatments. Try to air dry your hair out of the shower as often as possible, using a great conditioner and combing through it while you're still in the shower to keep it from being a tangled mess when it does air dry. Try not to over-brush, the more yanking and tugging you do to it, the worse off it will be. I love Aveda's Air Control for a hairspray, I find that it gives me a great hold without weighing it down or harming it. I also love Aveda's Smooth Fusion and Organix line of shampoos and conditioners. Do NOT get extensions. Extensions can cause hair loss, and even receding hairlines. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Very fine, fragile hair cannot possibly benefit from the tugging, pulling, and weight of extensions. It's a temporary fix for celebrities, and they are the perfect guinea pigs to examine- a lot of them have given interviews about having a nightmare of a time with extensions. Britney Spears, Naomi Campbell, those are just a couple of people who come to mind when I think about the havoc that can be wreaked on the head by extensions. Naomi's hairline is a disaster and Britney's hair has been through the mill with hers. Extensions inevitably ruin the state of natural hair.

For volume, get yourself a good teasing brush (one of those skinny brushes with a pointy end) and gently tease it when you want volume. Find a video on how to tease hair on YouTube. While it's true that with our hair it will be more voluminous if it's processed (namely highlighted), it will also break far more easily and look ratty eventually because fine hair tends to be weak if it's heavily processed. So I do not think that's the answer. Learning to love it and appreciate it is. Google hairstyles for fine hair, have a stylist give you a few tips and lessons, etc. But don't worry too much about it.

What's more concerning than your hair is your mother's overzealous concern with it. I feel like it could be giving you a complex, if she hasn't fussed and complained about your imperfections your entire life already. If you're in a position to do so (i.e. out of the home) I would suggest thanking her for her concern but asking her not to bring it up anymore. I can't imagine it feels good to have your mother telling you what's wrong with you all the time.
posted by OneHermit at 10:40 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Aveda's Smooth Infusion* not fusion lol
posted by OneHermit at 10:49 PM on February 5


Have you been assessed for hair loss? Two months ago I finally bit the bullet and started using Minoxidil, aka Rogaine, and I WISH I'd started years ago when I first started having hair loss issues. I'm shedding significantly less hair, and my ponytail circumference (hey, I wanted to see if the stuff was working so I'm using that as a quantifier) has already increased by half a centimetre, which I'm attributing to the slowed shedding.

I bought a generic 5% foam off German Amazon, and to use it I put one generous pump in my fingertips, flip my head upside down and work it into my scalp with my fingers. It takes seconds and doesn't make my hair greasy.

I usually wash my hair at night and work through a palmful of volumising mousse (John Frieda, though they're much of a muchness) before bed. I also find that dry shampoos and texturising powders (like Aveda Pure Abundance, though many brands have their own - look for one in a little bottle or shaker, not spray can) work wonders.

If you have fragile, thinning hair with sparse areas I'd be cautious of messing around with extensions. See a doctor, get your bloods done, perhaps get assessed by a dermatologist, and seriously think about trying Minoxidil, with the caveat that it takes about four months to really see results.

posted by nerdfish at 2:19 AM on February 6


Guh, apologies for the unclosed tag!
posted by nerdfish at 2:35 AM on February 6


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