Damn girl, your hair is fine
March 16, 2015 11:48 AM   Subscribe

What are some good styling products to give my super-fine hair some texture?

Story of my life: found a great product, used it for a few years, it got discontinued. Wah waaaaaah. The new product my stylist gave me that replaced my old product does not work well. I do not have the patience (or money!) to buy every styling product trying to find one that works. What do I need to give my super-fine hair some texture and maybe volume too?

Not really looking for waxes or "moldable" type stuff. That kind of stuff just weighs my hair down. I've experimented some with dry shampoo and that seems to be the kind of thing I'm going for - something to essentially dirty my hair up so it's not slip-sliding all over the place and out of every holder/clip I use. Using that stuff daily seems like it will get expensive fast, though. There must be something else?

Possibly relevant info: chin-length, straight, very dark brown hair. Absolutely no texture. A little on the dry side. Have a great haircut. My styling abilities are somewhere between 5 year old and drunk college student (so, not that great).
posted by geeky to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
I have fine hair, but a lot of it; but I still look for products of the type that you mention, that give a bit of volume and help curb frizz, without weighing down so much that it looks lank.

I've tried about a billion hair products, but one of the best for my fine hair has been Neutral Protein Filler, which, incidentally, I found out about on Ask Metafilter. I don't dye my hair, so I use NPF as a leave-in. I think you can dilute it with water (2:1?) and apply it directly, as per the package's instructions. I actually add NPF instead to a light cream leave-in (about 2 parts cream and 1 part NPF), and it helps with volume, body, frizz, and definition. You only need a tiny bit every time, so it's super cheap because a bottle will last you forever (I bought my bottle about a year ago, and it's still going strong). A 16 oz bottle on Amazon now costs $18 and free Prime shipping. Start out gently because you can definitely overdo the protein. Obviously YMMV, your hair may or may not like protein at all, etc., but I think it's worth a try. Based on what you say, some sort of protein would be the first thing I'd experiment with if I were you: fine hair tends to do well with protein as protein adds body and volume without weighing down.
posted by ClaireBear at 12:12 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have very very very fine hair as well. What was the product that worked?

I like Bumble & Bumble styling lotion (it's a spray, not what I would call a lotion) before a blowdry. And Perfect Hair Day for air-drying (a pea-sized amount on wet hair, combed through with a wide-toothed comb, scrunched, and slept on.)

Skipping a wash works shockingly well for me but it won't last late into the night (the greasies set in and weigh it down, you know how it is.)
posted by kapers at 12:18 PM on March 16, 2015

I was going to recommend Bb. Texture, a different Bumble and Bumble product. The description ("Gives hair that elusive, undone-yet-done quality, with a hint of grit, hold and a tousled, shine-free finish.") is corny but true. I've also been using their grooming creme lately - it makes my hair less crunchy than the other thing. And sumotech was my go-to for a while to prevent frizz.

Pro-tip: If you want to just experiment with those things, I just bought small travel-size bottles of the texture and grooming creme.
posted by kat518 at 12:22 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

A few other potentially helpful pointers about things to avoid. I would avoid silicones, which can easily weigh down fine hair. I'd also avoid oils (trendy at the moment) for the same reason. People rave about argan oil or whatever as a leave-in, but I have done a lot of experimenting in my own hair and have found oils and oil-based products to leave my fine hair looking flat and lank.

As I said, I would definitely start by experimenting with protein products. Beyond Neutral Protein Filler, I use Aphogee two-step every couple of months, with good results (more volume and less frizz and breakage). I only do the protein step, and then follow with my volumizing conditioner (I find their conditioner to weigh my hair down - YMMV). Using this every so often makes my hair more manageable on a day-to-day basis, and makes my leave-in more effective. I have also used Jheri Redding Natural Protein Conditioner in the same way as I use the Neutral Protein Filler: it's half the price, but I don't find it gives me quite as good results and it smells exactly like soy sauce - but might be worth a try.

If you want to have a try at formulating your own, you can always buy hydrolyzed proteins from a wholesaler and dilute them or add them to a leave-in that you already like. I'm planning on trying baobab protein, rice protein, and quinoa protein from here, and potentially jojoba protein, bamboo extract, rhodiola hairactive, and panthenol from here, and making my own leave-in. Don't forget to use a preservative if you make your own product or even if you water down something like the Neutral Protein Filler and don't make it fresh each time.
posted by ClaireBear at 12:32 PM on March 16, 2015

Response by poster: The products I've used and liked in the past were Redken's Wool Shake (my favorite) which got discontinued, so I switched to Toussle Whip, was has now also been discontinued. My stylist then recommended Redken's Rewind. I don't love it. It seems to smooth my hair more than texturize it, and if I use more it just gets weighed down.

It took me an embarrassing number of years to figure out I didn't have to shampoo my hair every day! I usually shampoo every other day now, but I'll wet it down, add product and blow dry every day. The second day my hair has the best texture! Any longer than that and it gets greasy :\

Love the samples idea! Possibly dumb question: Where are you finding them?
posted by geeky at 12:33 PM on March 16, 2015

Best answer: Have you ever tried sea salt spray?

Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray is excellent and I'm a devotee of Sevi Organics' Blue Yarrow Sea Salt Texturizer but you can just as easily make your own.

If you love dry shampoo but can't justify the cost, the #1 ingredient in a whole lot of dry shampoos is arrowroot powder or cornstarch, which you can usually find in the bulk bins or baking aisle at the grocery store for next to no money (try a health food store for arrowroot powder if you can't find it at the regular grocer). If you're down with DIY, you can add a touch of cocoa powder to plain arrowroot/cornstarch for a bit of color, too. Super cheap and easy, and it smells great!
posted by divined by radio at 12:49 PM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I second the recommendation of sea salt spray. I use Davines This is a Sea Salt Spray.
posted by keep it under cover at 1:14 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Glad to see Bumble & Bumble already here -- I'll add Living Proof. Their products have never disappointed me, except occasionally for their scents. Maybe this one would work for you?

To answer your followup: Sephora sometimes has sample sizes. At minimum, you could try in the store.
posted by gnomeloaf at 1:16 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Texturizing paste? My favorite is probably Shu Uemura Shape Paste. It mostly provides texture/"pieceyness" and a small amount of volume and hold. It also has a subtle, pleasant odor. I'm pretty lazy about grooming and I still find it easy to use. After I shower, I towel dry my hair, apply, and then blow dry.
posted by strangecargo at 1:30 PM on March 16, 2015

Best answer: I've been combining this texturizing shampoo (Not Your Mother's Beach Babe) with a sea salt spray. The effect is basically 2nd-day hair on day 1, AND day 2. I do have to alternate it occasionally with a regular clarifying shampoo, or things start looking kind of dull.

Another thing to consider is getting some highlights put in. The damage helps create some texture and the color variation creates the illusion of texture and depth. But this is a pretty expensive route.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 1:33 PM on March 16, 2015

I just read this article today about a newish volumizing shampoo/conditioner offering from Loreal. If you're not in Canada, this US Loreal shampoo seems to have the same active ingredient.
posted by quince at 1:43 PM on March 16, 2015

I have superfine, thin hair (and similar styling abilities) and have pretty good results from Kevin Murphy's AntiGravity. It does seem to give my hair some volume. I get it from my salon but it may be available from places like Sally's, too.
posted by Beti at 1:47 PM on March 16, 2015

I use this bamboo spray and it is the jam. Does need blow drying to heat activate it though.

I get mine at Sephora after being turned on to a sample from them-- they're pretty good about giving you a sample of anything you want to try, or evidently returns of products that don't work for you. Haven't tried the returns thing myself though.
posted by travertina at 1:49 PM on March 16, 2015

We have the same hair. I use Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion, which starts as a powder but kind of melts into a light paste. You can use a very tiny bit on dry hair at the roots and no additional styling is necessary (No blow drying or backcombing required).
posted by jennypower at 1:53 PM on March 16, 2015

I used to have your hair. The things that helped the most were:
1. Dying it every couple of months
2. Heat styling
Both of these are *bad* for your hair because they suck out the moisture, but they finally gave me some grip and texture. Oh, also -
3. Dry shampoo. Doesn't get expensive, you only need maybe four blasts in your bangs and at your part.
posted by pintapicasso at 2:07 PM on March 16, 2015

I just use mousse. I don't have a favourite brand as any kind seems to work well. It disappears into my hair so that I don't feel it and makes my fine, wavy hair look full and styled.
posted by orange swan at 2:59 PM on March 16, 2015

Redken Thickening Lotion is what I use. It gives it "oomph".
posted by heathrowga at 3:20 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

My hair is super soft and fine. I have just started using a touch of this:

Alterna Caviar blah blah the name is stupid with a touch of Bamboo Volume 2-in-1. Before bed on the days I've washed my hair (so I won't the next) I put in a little dry shampoo (I use Not Your Mother's) and (no one ever told me this until recently, so I pass on to you -- ) brush it out with a natural bristle brush. This has turned out to be vital information.

On Day 2 i put a touch of the bamboo stuff back in my hair and use my blow dryer to smooth things out.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:08 PM on March 16, 2015

this powder stuff is basically wizardry. i don't know how it works BUT IT WORKS.
posted by kerning at 7:21 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Here is another miracle powder . I'm obsessed with it. Just a few taps and I look like a million bucks. Best with a layered cut.
posted by pazazygeek at 8:12 PM on March 16, 2015

And here's another ... use a TINY amount!!
posted by TWinbrook8 at 2:01 AM on March 17, 2015

Response by poster: You guys are hair geniuses. I'm going to find a Sephora and get ALL the samples :D I think the sea salt spray might be on to something. Going to the beach is one of the few things that gives my hair some actual texture. A lot of the others sound good too.

FWIW I used to do that highlights/dying thing years ago, and while it does work, holy expensive upkeep. Probably not considering that solution again until I go gray.
posted by geeky at 7:55 AM on March 17, 2015

I have gotten more compliments on my "new haircut" in the past two days of using a new to me Suave mousse than I ever did in the months after getting the real new haircut. I'm just using a tablespoon amount of Suave gold bottle all-day hold mouse. I like it more than the sea salt spray, which generally gives just the top layer of my fine hair a bit of texture and doesn't add much volume.
posted by Maarika at 10:35 AM on March 18, 2015

I use Nexxus mousse on my baby fine hair.
posted by slateyness at 8:03 PM on March 18, 2015

Response by poster: Success story: I ended up buying KMS Sea Salt Spray from Amazon because it had good reviews and was super cheap. Spraying some of that on my hair before blow drying has been the best thing to happen to my hair since finding my perfect haircut. I LOVE it. Exactly the results I was looking for - texture and some body without stickiness or crunchiness or weighing my hair down. Thank you everyone who enlightened me about sea salt spray!
posted by geeky at 11:20 AM on April 30, 2015

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