Fine hair vs thin hair

How To Determine Your Hair Type, Plus Which Products Will Give You Your Most Luscious Locks

Remember the good old days when that fish-shaped 2-in-1 shampoo conditioner was all your haircare routine consisted of? Yeah, and I bet your ‘dos didn’t look as sweet then either, which is why it’s so important to determine your hair type before you go testing all the fancy new shampoos, conditioners, and beyond at Target.

“But Kara,” you say, “I’ve had this hair for my entire life. I know what’s going on on my head.” Well, sure. You probably know if your hair is super curly or if it’s so thin that it slips out of hair ties. However, if you’re in between textures and curl patterns (which most of us are), knowing for sure whether your strands are medium or coarse can be the difference between good hair and OMG AMAZING EVERY DAY hair.

To help us all figure this out, I consulted Matrix Celebrity Stylist George Papanikolas (the Kardashians, especially Kim and Khloe, love him) and Matrix Artistic Director Nick Stenson (a regular backstage at New York Fashion Week). Each has their own method for determining a client’s hair type, all of which you can do on your own at home. Below are the six things to look for, plus product recommendations for every style of strand.

1. Diameter

Kara McGrath

Even though you can say your hair is big/flat/crazy just by looking at your hair in the mirror, it’s the diameter of your hair that’s super important for picking out the right products — something you can’t tell just by looking. According to Papanikolas, you can only really test if your hair is fine, medium, or coarse by doing a strand test.

If you take a single hair in between your fingers and you don’t feel anything, then you have fine hair.

If you can feel the hair, then it’s medium.

If you feel a strong, thick strand, then you are coarse.

“Don’t confuse the density of hair with diameter,” Papanikolas emphasizes. “People with fine hair can have can have a ton of it but still be considered fine. It’s looking at the individual hair strands.”

If you’re having trouble determining if you can feel your hair or not, Stenson recommends doing a thread test as well.

Kara McGrath

“Pull a single hair from your head and lay it next to a piece of sewing thread (putting it on a surface that’s the opposite color of your hair will help),” he explains. “If it’s the same width as the thread, your hair has medium texture, but if it’s thinner or thicker, so is your hair.”

2. Density

Kara McGrath

Just because the diameter of your hair is fine doesn’t mean you can’t have a thick head of hair — and vice versa. Stenson offers up a simple test for eyeballing your strand density: “Standing in front of a mirror, grab a handful of hair at the side of your head and notice the space around that ‘clump.’ Can you easily see your scalp? Your hair is likely thin. No scalp visible? Probably thick. If you’re in the middle, you likely have hair of medium density.”

Determining both your diameter AND density will help narrow down the types of product you should use. “Someone with dense, coarse hair will need smoothing products,” Papanikolas said. “While someone with less dense but still coarse hair will need a volumizing product.”

Matrix Biolage Smoothing Shine Milk, $20, Amazon

Moroccan Oil Volumizing Mousse, $19, Amazon

3. Elasticity

Kara McGrath

The amount of elasticity your hair has indicates how healthy it is, plus how easy it’ll be to style the way you want. To test, Stenson says to “begin to slowly stretch the hair. If it breaks almost immediately, your elasticity is low, but if it stretches to 50 percent of its original length, your hair has high elasticity.” If you hair has low elasticity (mine snapped as soon as I started tugging) you’ll want to use a strengthening treatment, like Matrix Biolage Advanced Fiberstrong Shampoo to reinforce your strands. This should help with split ends as well!

Matrix Biolage Advanced Fiberstrong Shampoo, $26, Amazon

4. Texture/Curl Pattern

Kara McGrath

You probably have a sense of your natural texture, but it’s super important to know for sure before you go product shopping. Your hair naturally changes texture as you get older, plus things like birth control and other hormone treatments can affect it as well. You should let your hair air dry at least a couple times a month — it’ll give your strands a break from damaging heat styling, plus ensure you’re totally familiar with your curl pattern. As you can see, my hair dries to a completely random set of almost-waves, so I tend to go for lightweight serums that’ll reduce frizz without weighing down what little curl I have. If you have curlier hair, try a product like Matrix Biolage Curl Defining Elixer to help give your ringlets more definition.

Matrix Biolage Curl Defining Elixer, $18, Amazon

5. Scalp Sebum Production

Kara McGrath

This one’s another you’re probably already familiar with, but it’s important to understand what type of scalp you have to make sure you’re picking products to keep it healthy and balanced. Papanikolas says to check out your hair a day after you washed it. If it’s super greasy, you have an oily scalp. If it looks basically the same, your scalp is pretty balanced. If it’s dry, you’ll start to see flakes on day two. Somehow I ended up with a balanced scalp (that’s my second day hair above) that leans on the slightly drier side.

“Most people have a combination of an oily scalp and dry ends,” Papanikolas advises. “In that case, it’s best to use a volumizing shampoo just at the root area, then apply a hydrating conditioner from mid shaft to the ends of your hair.”

It’s a 10 Shampoo, $14, Amazon

Moroccan Oil Hydrating Conditioner, $21, Amazon

6. Porosity

Kara McGrath

Testing the porosity of your hair is less about daily treatments and more about learning how much chemical treatment (dyeing, perms, etc) your strands can withstand. To test this out, Stenson says to remove a single strand of freshly washed, towel dried hair from your head. “If it sinks immediately, you hair is likely highly porous,” he explains. “If it doesn’t sink, your hair isn’t porous.”

Blonde hair tends to be more porous than any other color, which is why we need extra moisture. Papanikolas recommends weekly use of a hydrating product, like Matrix Biolage HydraSource Mask, to help balance your strands.

Matrix Biolage HydraSource Mask, $19, Amazon

So What Does It All Mean?

Once you have your hair type (fine, medium density, non-elastic, wavy, balanced, porous hair, in my case), you’ll be able to shop for your best products a whole lot easier. This isn’t a secret system — most brands will note in which hair type their product is made for, and you’ll be confident mixing and matching across systems to create your perfect routine.

Another bonus? You’ll be more informed at the hairstylist. It’ll save you a lot of tears if you go in knowing your super porous hair is likely to be totally fried if you bleach it all, so it’s better to ease in with a couple of highlights.

Maybe you’ll be brushing your hair or getting a trim at the salon when you realize things are suddenly looking sparse. Hair loss doesn’t happen overnight, but you might not realize you have a problem until it’s progressed. And at that point, it can take a toll on your looks as well as your mental health.

“The emotional and psychological toll of hair loss in women is tremendous and often not discussed,” says Sonia Batra, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Santa Monica, CA. “Women are often embarrassed and feel isolated, even though it is extremely common.”

In fact, up to 38% of women will experience thinning hair. The most common type is female pattern hair loss, also known as androgenetic alopecia. “It’s due to a combination of family history of baldness, changes in the levels of male hormones known as androgens, and aging,” says Batra. She explains that the size of individual hair follicles starts to shrink, and smaller follicles produce thinner, shorter, more fragile hair. “Eventually, the number of follicles can decrease as well,” she says. (Lose up to 25 pounds in 2 months—and look more radiant than ever—with the new Younger in 8 Weeks plan!)

So what can you do to save your strands? The key is catching thinning hair early, since the sooner hair loss is recognized and treatment is started, the more likely it is to be effective. Batra says these are the most common signs that your hair is starting to thin:

1. Widening of the part
2. Seeing more skin on the scalp when hair is pulled back
3. Hair looks flat or doesn’t hold style as well
4. More hair on the pillow

ThamKC/getty images

5. More strands on the brush
6. More hair in the drain
7. Sunburn on the scalp
8. A thinner ponytail or increased looping of the holder around the ponytail


If you notice several of these signs, see a physician to rule out systemic causes of hair loss, such as thyroid disease, anemia, hormonal abnormalities, or an autoimmune condition. “If it is female pattern hair loss, the earlier women start treatment, the more likely they are to see improvement,” says Batra. She recommends taking a supplement of 2.5 mg biotin daily, as well as using a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products. (Check out these 7 new ways to treat your thinning hair at home.)

The only FDA-approved medication for women for female pattern hair loss is minoxidil; it’s applied to the scalp and is available without a prescription. Batra recommends the Keranique line, which she works with and is designed for female hair loss. You’ll also find minoxidil in Rogaine products.

MORE: Why The Heck Is My Hair Falling Out?

If your hair doesn’t respond to minoxidil, a dermatologist might prescribe spironolactone or finasteride, drugs that block androgen receptors. But these aren’t officially approved for use in women, and you shouldn’t use them if you might become pregnant.

Other options include platelet-rich plasma injections, low-level light therapy, and hair transplantation.

Keep in mind that lifestyle can play a role, too. “Some of my patients swear by wigs or extensions; however, I recommend avoiding any that are too tight or cause too much friction or tension on the scalp, as these may worsen hair loss,” cautions Batra. She suggests that avid swimmers wear a swim cap to protect their locks from harsh chlorine and other chemicals. And remember to guard bare patches on your scalp by wearing a hat during any extended sun exposure: “Sunblock is helpful but can be messy to apply to the scalp,” she says. “There are water-resistant hats treated with UPF that can be worn in a pool or the ocean.”

Treat your hair carefully to prevent breakage—don’t brush too much or too harshly, and avoid styling with heat too often. Avoid brushes and combs with plastic bristles, as they can damage the hair shaft. Skip vigorously towel drying wet hair, and instead pat it dry gently with an old T-shirt. A healthy diet is key too, so fill your plate with foods containing protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron; these nutrients will help your hair look healthy inside and out. Remember, says Batra, it’s a lot easier to maintain the hair you have than to recoup it after it’s gone.

Celia Shatzman Celia Shatzman is a Brooklyn-based writer who has penned stories on topics ranging from fashion to travel to celebrities, entertainment, beauty, finance, health, and fitness.


As naturals I know we are tired (if not we then certainly ME) of the natural hair jargon and the natural hair typing. If it isn’t a mathematical equation frenzy used to describe our hair (3c, 4a, 4b…etc) then it is these terms used that we are all truly so confused about. From thick, to kinky, curly, wavy, coarse, thin…etc there are so many terms used to describe what is sitting on top of our heads. And why does it even matter you might ask? Well understanding the difference between thin hair, fine hair, coarse hair…etc can help you better understand how to create and upkeep your hair care regimen. So let’s start at the basics (what I consider the basics from where I’m learning it myself) discussing the difference in what density/ thickness can mean for you.

Most people think that if they have thin hair that automatically equates to having fine hair. That is not always the case and here’s why.

Thin Hair Vs. Fine Hair: What’s The Difference?

There are two different qualities of your hair that help with the labeling process. There is how thick your strands are and how dense your follicles are. Thickness is often described using terms like fine or coarse while density is described using terms like thin or thick. So it is very possible to have hair that is fine and thin as well as fine and thick as you are describing two different qualities of your hair.

So what does it mean to have thin hair? : If you describe your hair as thin you are referring to/ describing the density of the follicle. Having thin coarse hair is absolutely possible. Thin hair is not always synonymous with having fine hair, as they are two different things. Thin hair means you have lesser hair follicles placed closely together. That is why quite often you see a lot of scalp during your styling process. Naturals with thin hair tend to have to fluff out their roots a bit more after taking down their twists to hide the exposed scalp.

What does it mean to have fine hair?: Having fine hair doesn’t necessarily mean that your hair is thin. Fine hair refers to the thickness/diameter of the actual individual strand. There are a few ways to check the thickness of your hair but the easiest is by doing a strand comparison. If your hair strand appears like thread then you have coarse hair. It is however possible to have thin coarse hair. Pluck a strand of hair and compare it to what you see in the chart below.

What does it mean to have both? : If you have fine thin hair, that is not necessarily a problem but it does require you to pay close attention to your hair care regimen. Fine and thin hair is gentle/fragile and can be easily damaged/broken. Therefore it is best to be careful/gentle when protective styling particularly. Tight braids/ twists/ or faux locs shouldn’t be done too tightly especially around the nape and edge area. Something else you want to pay close attention to when dealign with thin/fine hair is the styles and styling products you use. Thin/Fine hair can often times seem dull or lifeless especially with stretched styles like twist outs or braid outs. What you should do if you want to have these styles is make bigger twists/braids to avoid as much scalp showing. You will get a thicker/fuller appearance without too much manipulation or losing too much definition.

Reminders: When categorizing your hair properly remember the final tips

Thickness= Fine, Medium, Coarse

Density= Thin, Medium, Thick

If you loved what you read sign up for our mailing list here and never miss a post. Also get your hands on our free protective styling ebook: Protective Styling Like A Pro Maximum Growth & Length Retention.

How to Tell the Difference Between Hair Thickness and Hair Density

Hair density and thickness are not one in the same, but they do work together as a team to make up your hair profile. Learn how to differentiate between the two to truly understand what’s going on with your mane.

Hair Thickness vs. Hair Density

Thickness refers to the width of a single strand of hair while density looks at how thin or thick strands are collectively, in a group. This means that someone can have fine hair that’s also very dense. Alternatively, a person can also have thick hair that is not dense. The combinations are (somewhat) endless. Fun fact: The average person has approximately 2,200 strands of hair per square inch on their head.

How to Test Your Strands

To check the density of your hair measure the circumference of your ponytail. If you have low density hair, the circumference will be less than two inches. Medium density hair is two to three inches, and high density hair is four or more inches in circumference. For shorter hair that does not go into a ponytail, just look in the mirror with your hair down. If you can see your scalp without touching your hair, you likely have low density hair. If it’s difficult to see your scalp, then you have higher density hair.

To measure for hair thickness, pluck a strand of hair from your head, ideally from a spot that is well endowed, so avoid any face framing pieces, and compare the strand to a sewing thread. If your hair is as wide, or just slightly under width, as a sewing thread, then you have thick hair. If your hair is much slimmer than the thread, your hair is on the thin side. Another way to test hair thickness, without pulling out any of your strands, is to take a single hair in between your fingers and if you can feel the hair, you have thicker hair and if you feel nothing, you have thin hair.

How to Choose a Hairstyle

In the market for a new hairstyle? Having a detailed consultation with your stylist about your hair density and thickness could prove just as beneficial as identifying your face shape.

High Density vs. Low Density Style

Give dense hair an illusion of lightness with graduating layers (think: longer layers in the front and shorter layers in the back). This kind of cut will keep your hair from looking too boxy. If you like the bob look, try a “lob”, which is a slightly longer bob and ask your stylist to incorporate layers throughout. Part your hair down the side to keep it chic.

If you have low density hair, you can create the illusion of fullness with a blunt cut. Skip the feathery layers that can make your hair appear flat or limp. Ends cut straight add instant volume and weight to your style. If you really want some layers, ask your stylist for a few light, wispy layers around the crown for lift and movement.

Thin Hair vs. Thick Hair Style

Bring body to thin hair by going for a blunt chop, this kind of cut can give the appearance of thicker hair. Fine hair can also benefit from a boost via an angled bob or lob, but be sure to request blunt ends, that is where the fullness will come from. Adding in light layers to your cut can add movement, but you also don’t want to remove too many strands, so finding balance between the two is key.

If you’re concerned about your thick hair feeling a bit heavy, you can opt to remove that excess weight. Different from those with fine hair, people with thick hair should avoid blunt ends as it can lead to the dreaded pyramid shape. If you’re going for a flattering lob cut, request that your stylist thins out your ends or if you are trying out bangs ask to make them piecey to encourage lightness.

Want to put your new-found knowledge to the test? Take your custom Prose consultation, here.

1. Hairdressers love to tell you about it. ‘Ooooh, you’ve got really fine hair, haven’t you?’ This will usually be immediately followed by the comment ‘But you’ve got lots of it’. To be honest you probably have the same amount as everybody else – over 100,000 individual stands. Which yes, is a ‘lot’ in number terms but if it’s thinner, it looks like less. But it’s nice of them to talk it up.

2. You are probably also very familiar with the ‘layers conversation’. Which goes something like – Hairdresser: Have you thought of having a few layers cut in? – You: ‘No, thanks’. Ten minutes later – Hairdresser: ‘I really think a few layers would work’ … repeat to fade.

3. The word ‘volumising’ is on your instant radar alert – in the hair section of the pharmacy, in magazines, on TV, online. If it promises to add volume, you’ll definitely take it into consideration. But you’ve lost count of the number of times you’ve invested in a product that promised the earth, then just weighed your hair down.


4. ‘Texture’ is another holy grail. Though you have been known to go out wearing so much hairspray your hair turned crunchy. But it was beautifully textured …

5. You struggle with the concept of ‘home blow-dry’, no matter how many YouTube videos you watch promising to ‘make it easy’.

6. However you are a big fan of the ‘upside-down blow-dry’ and can get a few hours worth of swishy hair when it works.

7. You are very familiar with the concepts of static and flyaway. A good serum is worth its weight in gold for taming the problem, as you have come to find out.

8. You have come to accept ‘flat days’ when nothing works and those heated curler rollers you tried out that promised to ‘add bounce’, only added bounce for the first 10 minutes. Then you left the house.


9. You need to be very careful with Moroccan hair oil. Yes, it can tame those nasty flyaways but it’s a quick and easy step from sleek to oil-slick.

10. You may need to wear a hat, head-scarf or stay in the shade on a very hot sunny day. Sunburnt scalp is an uncomfortable look to work.

11. An up-do can be tricky to pull off – somehow those hairgrips just don’t seem to have enough to grip …

12. Curly friends envy you your sleekness. Because, with the right styling, you can put off beautifully sleek with ease.

Liked this? You’ll love:
11 things you only know if you have curly hair
How to find a good hairdresser

Help and advice for thinning hair
Top 5 products for fine or thin hair
Thinning hair? 6 tricks to try
10 thickening treatments for thin hair
What causes hair loss?

  • extension upkeep
  • extensionist
  • extensions
  • extensions for fine hair
  • extensions for thin hair
  • eyelash
  • eyelash extensions
  • eyelash serum
  • eyelashes
  • eyeliner
  • facts
  • fashion colors
  • feature a sale
  • features
  • fiber mascara
  • fill in aging hair
  • finding hair extension hairdresser
  • fine hair
  • fix
  • flat-tip
  • Flat-Tip hair extensions
  • flexibility
  • floral
  • flyaways
  • focus
  • foliage
  • foreign countries
  • free breast health guide
  • free dvd
  • free lash comb
  • free marketing kit
  • fresh start
  • fun
  • funky
  • Fusion
  • fusion cutter
  • fusion extensions
  • fusion go belt
  • fusion hair extensions
  • gauge interest
  • getting the right extension color
  • Gibson Girl
  • gift
  • gigi (36)
  • give babe as a gift
  • glendale fashion focus
  • glue hair extensions
  • glue in hair exe
  • glue in hair extensions
  • go back to school
  • golden red
  • good hair extensions
  • graduation season
  • gray
  • green
  • greeting cards
  • grey hair
  • group
  • grow out short haircut
  • growing hair
  • guide
  • hair
  • hair care
  • hair care tips
  • hair color
  • hair conditioning
  • hair extension
  • hair extension beads
  • hair extension blending
  • hair extension brush
  • hair extension business
  • hair extension care
  • hair extension closet
  • hair extension color
  • hair extension consultation
  • hair extension customers
  • hair extension distributors
  • hair extension education
  • hair extension hacks
  • hair extension installation
  • hair extension installations
  • hair extension marketing materials
  • hair extension matting
  • hair extension methods
  • hair extension organizer
  • hair extension parting
  • hair extension pictures
  • hair extension pliers
  • hair extension receptionist
  • hair extension removal
  • hair extension rules
  • hair extension salon
  • hair extension slippage
  • hair extension snorkel
  • hair extension styling
  • hair extension stylist
  • hair extension stylists
  • hair extension tape
  • hair extension tips
  • hair extension tools
  • hair extension transformations
  • hair extensions
  • hair extensions amount
  • hair extensions bad rap
  • hair extensions beach
  • hair extensions charge
  • hair extensions cost
  • hair extensions for cancer survivors
  • hair extensions for everyone
  • hair extensions for prom
  • hair extensions for summer
  • hair extensions gossip
  • hair extensions highlights
  • hair extensions lice
  • hair extensions matting
  • hair extensions on vacation
  • hair extensions perm
  • hair extensions swimming
  • hair hack
  • hair painting
  • hair show
  • hair shows
  • hair styles
  • hair stylist tip
  • hair trends
  • hair waste
  • haircuts
  • haircuts in foreign countries
  • hairdo
  • hairdos
  • hairline
  • hairstyle
  • hairstyles
  • halloween
  • hanukkah
  • happy fall
  • happy holidays
  • happy thanksgiving
  • hat-friendly
  • heat protection
  • heat-friendly
  • height
  • highlight
  • highlights
  • holiday
  • holidays
  • host a soiree
  • hot fusion hair extensions
  • hot seat
  • houston
  • how many hair colors are there
  • how many hair extensions
  • how short is too short for hair extensions
  • how to
  • how to buy hair extensions
  • how to make the most of the changing seasons
  • how to respond to an unhappy client
  • how to sell after care to your clients
  • human hair extensions
  • humidity
  • hydration
  • i-tip extensions
  • I-Tip hair extensions
  • ICC
  • ice cream
  • ideas
  • identity
  • improve your skill
  • inconspicuous bonds
  • industry update
  • information
  • inspiration
  • instagram
  • install ready
  • installation
  • installation tips
  • Instant Hair
  • instant rewards
  • instructions
  • international color chart
  • interventions
  • intricate styles
  • inventory
  • inventory update
  • invest
  • invitation
  • iPhone
  • keep up with Babe
  • keratin hair extensions
  • kwanzaa
  • labeling
  • las vegas
  • lashes
  • layers
  • learn more
  • liability
  • lice
  • lice in hair extensions
  • light color
  • limited edition
  • liquid eyeliner
  • list
  • local distributor
  • long beach
  • lowlight
  • madness
  • mainstream
  • maintenance
  • make money
  • makeover
  • makeup
  • making hair extensions not look like hair extensions
  • manage expectations
  • manage stress
  • managing inventory
  • Marcel waves
  • marketing
  • marketing hair extensions
  • marketing materials
  • mascara
  • mastery tour
  • match
  • meaning
  • methods
  • micro bond
  • micro bond course
  • micro bonding
  • micro-bead hair extensions
  • microbonding
  • milkmaid
  • milkmaid braid
  • mink lashes
  • mixing methods
  • moisturizing
  • national breast cancer foundation
  • natural hair extensions
  • natural-looking hair extensions
  • need to know
  • networking
  • nevada
  • new
  • new hair color
  • new hair extension tool
  • new method
  • new product
  • new products
  • new red extension colors
  • new red shades
  • new technique
  • new to hair extensions
  • new tools
  • new year
  • new you
  • no expectations
  • ohio
  • old news
  • ombre red
  • online education
  • organization
  • organize
  • paradise
  • pastel
  • pastel colors
  • perfect brown
  • perfect time
  • perming hair extensions
  • phone protector
  • photo shoot
  • photography tips
  • photos
  • pink hair extensions
  • pink strands
  • pinterest
  • plants
  • platinum
  • plum
  • poem
  • points
  • pompadours
  • portal
  • pre-color
  • preferences
  • premiere beauty classic
  • premiere birmingham
  • preparation
  • present
  • press release
  • preventing hair extension matting
  • princess
  • pro tips
  • procedure
  • product
  • product to prep for summer
  • products
  • professional development
  • prom hair extensions
  • promotion
  • promotions
  • proper techniques
  • purple strands
  • quality
  • questions
  • quick pink hair parter
  • re-installation
  • ready for the holidays
  • recycling
  • red
  • red extensions
  • red hair
  • red shades
  • red velvet
  • redhead
  • redhead color inspiration
  • reflect light
  • refresh
  • removal
  • remy
  • Remy hair extensions
  • Replacement Tape
  • reputation
  • return on investment
  • reusing
  • right for your client
  • safest extension method
  • salon
  • salon schedule
  • salon storage
  • salon style
  • seasons
  • secrets
  • security
  • selection
  • serum
  • shade
  • shampoo
  • shampooing hair extensions
  • shed excess
  • shield windows
  • shopping
  • short hair
  • simple twist
  • simple ways to transform your business
  • single sided tape
  • single sided tape in hair extensions
  • single sided tape tips
  • single strands
  • smartphone
  • social media
  • social media hair extensions
  • solid colors
  • solutions
  • sombre
  • sort out
  • special promotion
  • spring cleaning
  • spring fever
  • spring things
  • starter kit
  • starter kits
  • starting with hair extensions
  • stock up
  • streaks
  • stress-free color
  • style
  • styling tips
  • stylist
  • stylist problems
  • stylist tips
  • stylist to client
  • stylist tricks
  • styrofoam mannequin head
  • subscribe
  • sulfates
  • summer
  • summer hair
  • summer hair extensions
  • summer weather
  • summer-smart hairstyles
  • supply closet
  • support
  • swatch
  • system
  • take a break
  • tanning
  • tape extensions
  • tape hair extensions
  • tape hair extensions slippage
  • tape in hair extensions
  • tape in hair extensions falling out
  • Tape-In
  • tape-in extensions
  • tape-in hair extensions
  • targeted sale
  • tax return
  • techniques
  • tense
  • test
  • test strand
  • testimonials
  • texas
  • thanksgiving
  • thin hair
  • thinning
  • thinning hair
  • time
  • time saving
  • time-saving tips
  • tip hair dresser
  • tip hair extension stylist
  • tips
  • tips and tricks
  • tools
  • top knot
  • tote
  • Touch-up appointment
  • trade show
  • trade shows
  • travel ready
  • traveling abroad
  • treatment
  • try-on tool
  • twists
  • twitter
  • undertone
  • undertones
  • undos
  • unexpected brushing rules
  • up do with hair extensions
  • updates
  • updos
  • use
  • use a fan
  • valentine’s day
  • velcro hair grippers
  • victory rolls
  • vivian (4R)
  • volume
  • volumizing mascara
  • warm color
  • washing
  • washing hair extensions
  • waste management
  • water
  • we’re grateful for
  • wear and tear
  • weather
  • wedding
  • weddings
  • what does hair mean to you
  • what is a hair care consultation
  • what is Remy hair
  • what’s difference
  • what’s new
  • white hair
  • wigs
  • winter
  • winter hair care
  • wishlist
  • wonders
  • workplace stress
  • youtube
  • youtube videos
  • WATCH: The Difference Between Fine Hair and Thin Hair

    When it comes to your hair, there are a million and one ways to describe it: Thick, fine, coarse, stick-straight, flat, wiry … you get the picture. For a long time, though, I thought that some of the vocabulary surrounding hair was repetitive. Take fine hair and thin hair, for instance.

    As a fine-haired gal myself, I’ve often used the words “thin” and “fine” interchangeably whenever I was discussing my hair woes with my mama or friends. I learned recently, though, that there is a major difference between fine hair and thin hair, thanks to a conversation with a local stylist earlier this month: Consider it further confirmation that choosing your words carefully is always important.

    In short, when it comes to your strands, the difference between fine hair and thin hair all boils down to width versus density.

    “‘Fine hair’ just means that the strand of hair itself is tiny,” says Eric Goss, master stylist and owner of Hairfolk Salon in Birmingham, Alabama. “You can have a lot of fine hair. But if you have ‘thin hair,’ that refers to the amount of hair you have.”

    Let’s break it down further.

    When determining the width of your hair, a strand of thread is a good comparison. If your individual strands have smaller widths than the thread, your hair is likely fine, rather than medium or coarse. The way your hair feels, too, is helpful in figuring out whether or not your hair is fine. Fine hair typically feels silkier, and from my personal experience, it slips out of hair ties like that’s its job. It also holds onto moisture better than medium or coarse hair, though it is weaker than its more substantial counterparts.

    Unlike “fine hair,” “thin hair” refers to the density of your strands per square inch of your scalp, or in other words, how much hair you have on your head. It’s possible, then, that you could have fine, thick hair. No matter what hair type you are, though, make sure you’re armed with the right vocabulary to talk about it with your stylist. He or she will be able to guide you in choosing the correct products to strengthen your fine hair and give your thin hair some serious volume.

    No matter what type of hair you have, we’re all about these killer short cuts this year.

    ‘Thin’ and ‘fine’ are often used interchangeably when it comes to hair. However, they don’t mean the same thing. Find out whether you have thin hair, fine hair, or both.

    Understanding your hair type helps you diagnose your hair concerns and use the appropriate products to achieve luscious and healthy locks. ‘Thin’ and ‘fine’ are often used interchangeably when it comes to hair. However, they don’t mean the same thing. Find out whether you have thin hair, fine hair, or both.

    What is fine hair?

    ‘Fine’ is the opposite of ‘coarse’. Both terms refer to the thickness of individual hair strands. If you have coarse hair, each strand is almost as fat as thread and very pliable. If you have fine hair, each strand is lightweight and prone to breakage. On the upside, fine hair tends to be shinier than coarse hair.

    What is thin hair?

    ‘Thin’ refers to the density of your hair—that is, how many hair strands are on your head. If you have thin hair, you have fewer hairs due to genetics, hair loss, or breakage. The opposite of fine hair is thick hair, where there’s a high density of hair. Thick hair can be unruly and hard to manage, whereas thin hair is limp.

    Can you have fine hair that isn’t thin and vice versa?

    Absolutely. You can have a lot of fine hair, or you can have fewer coarse hairs. Of course, you can also have hair that’s both fine and thin.

    How do I care for fine or thin hair?

    Part of the reason the terms ‘fine’ and ‘thin’ are confused is because the hair concerns and goals can often be the same. Both fine and thin hair can lie flat, and you likely wish for volumised, bouncy locks instead. However, it’s important to know if your hair is fine, thin or both to create maximum volume.

    I have fine hair. What now?

    If you have fine hair, use products that help swell the cuticles for the illusion of coarser hair. A volumising shampoo and conditioner, such as MoroccanOil Extra Volume Shampoo and Christophe Robin Volumising Conditioner, will temporarily plump the individual hair strands for greater volume.

    Fine hair is prone to breakage, so it’s particularly important to protect your hair from any damage. A volumising mousse coats the hair to both protect and strengthen the hair cuticle. We recommend GHD Total Volume Foam, which doubles as a heat protectant.

    I have thin hair. What’s best for me?

    Whilst you can have naturally thin hair, your hair can also thin over time. It’s important to understand the cause of your thinning hair. If you have sudden, drastic, or upsetting hair loss, it’s recommended you consult a doctor.

    Hair supplements provide essential nutrients to encourage hair regrowth and help reverse thinning hair. Alternatively, coloured products such as Viviscal Conceal & Densify Volumising Fibres will help mask any visible scalp.

    If you have naturally thin hair, a good blow-dry can help make your hairstyle look denser and fuller. You can also use products to give your hair texture and prevent it from lying flat. Kérastaste VIP Volume in Powder works well to freshen unwashed hair.

    Whilst you likely want your fine or thin locks to be fuller, it’s important to know the difference to ensure you’re going about body-building in the right way. You can then say goodbye to lacklustre, limp hair and be well on your way to bouncy, luscious hairdos.

    Sorry to disappoint, but if you were born with fine hair (which refers the diameter of each individual strand), you can’t actually make your hair thicker. But, fun fact: People with fine texture have more hair on their scalp than others, according to Anabel Kingsley, head trichologist and brand president of Philip Kinglsey. In other words, with the right styling, you can make those fine strands of yours look like the full head of hair that it really is. Ahead, 12 hacks, tips, and words of advice for achieving bigger, thicker hair, courtesy of Kingsley, celebrity hairstylists, and a fine-haired girl from Texas who’s tried it all (yours truly).

    How to Get Thicker Hair #1: Use a thickening shampoo

    Thicker hair starts in the shower with the right shampoo, so no more choosing yours based solely on the way it smells. The best shampoo for fine hair should add body and bounce, so look for descriptors like “volumizing,” “thickening,” or “lightweight” on the label. And forget what you’ve been told about dirty hair being the secret to volume. Kingsley says frequent cleansing (at least every other day) not only helps to keep your scalp healthy to support hair growth, but it also removes excess oils at the roots. “This is especially important for fine or thinning hair, as it easily gets weighed down,” Kingsley says. “Plus, infrequent shampooing can also lead to a flaky scalp which can exacerbate hair loss.”

    4 Shampoos for Fine Hair

    Rahua Voluminous Shampoo $34.00 Aveda Pure Abundance Volumizing Shampoo $24.00 Aussie Aussome Volume Shampoo $24.99 Thicker Fuller Hair Strengthening Shampoo $12.75

    How to Get Thicker Hair #2: Condition before shampooing

    Conditioner is non-negotiable for maintaining healthy, strong hair. If you’re worried the creamy formula will weigh down your strands or make them too soft and slick to hold a style, condition before your shampoo. Washing your hair in the reverse order will create the ideal texture for building volume in your hair. Try Tresemmé’s Beauty-Full Volume Pre-Wash Conditioner, which was designed with this exact concept in mind.

    Krystalina Tom

    How to Get Thicker Hair #3: Use mousse

    Mousse gets a bad rap for sometimes being crunchy and sticky, but it’s key for adding volume to otherwise limp hair, whether you’re letting it air-dry or blowing it out. Hairstylist Mark Townsend says for fine hair, you should use an egg-size amount and work it evenly through damp hair, roots to ends.

    Ruben Chamorro

    How to Get Thicker Hair #4: Add a deep conditioner

    Breakage is the worst, especially when you have thin, fine hair. As your hair breaks off, the your mid-lengths and ends become even thinner, so Kingsley suggests using a hair mask or deep conditioner to prevent that from happening. Again, do it as a pre-shampoo treatment, and you won’t run the risk of weighing down your hair.

    4 Deep Conditioners to Try

    Ouai Treatment Masque $32.00 It’s A 10 Miracle Deep Conditioner Plus Keratin $29.99 Briogeo Don’t Despair Repair Deep Conditioning Mask $36.00 Virtue Restorative Treatment Mask $58.00

    How to Get Thicker Hair #5: Sleep in an updo

    The fastest way to flatten your fresh blowout is to sleep on it. To get one more day out of your look (hey, you worked hard for it) twist your hair in small sections and pin it up before bed. Not only will it prevent creases, but it’ll also maintain the volume and bounce so you don’t have to restyle your hair with more heat the next day.

    Ruben Chamorro

    How to Get Thicker Hair #6: Fill in your roots

    Root powders are great for covering grays, yes, but they’re also the key to creating the illusion of thicker hair. Use a tinted powder that matches the color of your roots and a small brush to fill in your hair part or areas where your scalp might show a little more. No one will know the difference.

    Kathleen Kamphausen

    How to Get Thicker Hair #7: Use dry shampoo on clean hair

    Dry shampoo is obviously great for reviving oily hair, but Townsend says it also works wonders as a texturizing spray—especially on super-fine strands. When your hair is squeaky clean and lifeless looking, dry shampoo will create day-two texture and grip, which is necessary for when you’re trying to build volume. Just make sure to hold the bottle far enough away so you don’t accidentally overdo it and dull down the shine.

    Build Volume With These 4 Dry Shampoos

    Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo $25.00 Batiste Original Dry Shampoo $8.99 Living Proof Perfect hair Day (PhD) Dry Shampoo $23.00 Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo $5.99

    How to Get Thicker Hair #8: Air-dry with sunglasses

    Too much heat-styling leads to breakage, which you already know leads to thinner hair. Try building volume with this heat-less hair hack from hairstylist Riawna Capri: If you don’t naturally have volume and you let your hair air dry, it’ll lay flat against your head (womp womp). Instead, pull the front section of your hair back while it’s still damp with glasses or sunglasses (a headband is too tight), and then push them forward to loosen it up a bit. Keep it like this until it dries, and then remove the glasses for tons of volume.

    Ruben Chamorro

    How to Get Thicker Hair #9: Fake it with tools

    When the goal is My Little Pony but your current situation is more like My Little Ponytail, try this clip trick. Start with a high pony. Split the tail into a top and bottom half, then clamp a tiny claw clip right into the middle of the base to add more volume. Slightly tease your hair above the clip to hide it. If you don’t have a clip, you can get the same effect from a hair tie. Secure your ponytail as normal, but instead of wrapping the hair tie around your entire pony on the last wrap, pull only the bottom half of your ponytail through. This will push the bottom half of your hair down and lift the top section up slightly to create the illusion of a fuller ponytail.

    Ruben Chamorro

    How to Get Thicker Hair #10: Add hair extensions

    Hair extensions might not be the quickest or easiest way to get thicker hair, but they’re definitely the most transformative. If you want something more permanent, you could try tape-ins or sew-ins. But if you’re looking for versatility, clip-ins are a great way to add volume to any hairstyle whenever you want it. The best part? You can do them yourself. Adding clip-ins when your hair is down is pretty self-explanatory, but adding them to updos and ponytail hairstyles takes a little more work and creativity. Start with a small ponytail at the crown of your head. Then, wrap the weft around the base of your ponytail, clipping them to your head as you go. Once you’ve added all the extensions you want, gather the rest of your hair into a ponytail to finish.

    Ruben Chamorro

    How to Get Thicker Hair #11: Tease your roots

    Teasing or backcombing—or whatever you want to call it—is the ultimate trick for creating volume at your roots. Hold a small section of your hair up and away from your head. On the underside of the section, insert a fine-tooth comb gently push the hairs toward your head (think: the opposite of combing your hair). Then, hairspray each section at the roots. Continue doing this in small sections to create the height and shape you want, and finish by lightly smoothing over the top layer of hair to hide the teasing underneath.

    Ruben Chamorro

    How to Get Thicker Hair #12: Chat with your doctor

    People often confuse fine and thin hair for the same thing, but scientifically speaking, they’re different. Fine hair is what you’re born with. Thinning hair is something that can change over time. As Kingsley explains it, there are two different kinds of thinning hair. The first is genetically predisposed and is called androgenic alopecia or reduced hair volume. This is where the individual hairs on your scalp gradually become finer and you produce more hairs that are thinner and shorter.

    The other form of thinning is when there’s actual hair loss occurring called telogen effluvium. Kingsley says this is a reactive hair loss and is not genetic. “It’s triggered by some sort of internal disturbance or imbalance, such as a high fever, nutritional deficiencies, hypo or hyper thyroid, or rapid weight loss,” Kingsley says. If thinning hair is more so your concern, schedule a visit to a trichologist to get to the root of it (sorry, had to). After testing, they can suggest the right hair supplements, diet, or products for your specific needs.

    Related Story Brooke Shunatona Brooke Shunatona is a contributing writer for