My Hair Tutorial for Long, Thick Hair (But fine strands!)

I’ve been putting off this post for about two years now, mostly because I feel like I wrestle with my hair daily, so I’m the last person to be promising you all these Magical Secret Solutions. But, then I realized that I’ve learned some things in my fighting, so I’m HERE TO SHARE. Haha.

It’s important to note that my tips probably won’t work for you unless your hair is really similar to mine: long, thick (in amount), and fine (in diameter of hair strands). It’s VERY important to know the difference between your amount of hair and the nature of your hair strands. A lot of us are told at one point, “oh your hair is so thick!” and don’t realize that ehhhhhhh that doesn’t really explain our hair that well. For example, you could have an average (or even less than) amount of hair, but your strands are really coarse – and it would seem thick to you, but really, you just have course, heavy hair!

MOVING ON.

1. I only wash my hair twice a week. Natural hair oils are a gift, if you know how to use them. Infrequent washing keeps your hair from being stripped, helps your scalp stay healthy, is just overall a good thing. The longer than you can go without washing your hair, the more dry shampoo, and the more volume/texture. : )

2. Shampoo & Conditioner. I swear by good conditioner, but shampoo is pretty important too. You don’t want something that strips your head, or coats it in wax (all Pantene products). Right now I’m using Davine’s stuff, and I love it. If you only have money to spend on one, pick the conditioner. It comes in a pot and lasts forrrevverrr. If your hair is uber-stripped from over bleaching or something, rub coconut oil through it and let it sit for 10-15 mins before showering.

3. Brush your hair in the shower. If you have long hair you’re probably already doing this to get the tangles out, but make sure you brush or comb your conditioner through your hair. Otherwise you only condition like 1/3 of your head. And ONLY condition the lower 2/3 of your hair. Don’t get close to your scalp. That weighs down your hair. No volume for you. : (

4. Dry your hair half-way, upside-down. Flip your head upside down to blow dry it. I don’t blow dry completely because that usually frizz-es me out, and it’s really easy to fry your hair when you have SO MUCH THAT YOU JUST HAVE TO BLOW DRY FOREVER AND EVER.

< friendly note > Make sure your hair has finished air drying before continuing to the next step.< /friendly note >

5. $3 Suave dry shampoo. You can also use baby powder, but I highly recommend Suave’s aerosol can since it doesn’t result in me accidentally dousing my shirt in white stuff or smelling like a baby’s butt. You can get this at Target or your drugstore. Shake the can, and hold it 2-4 inches from your scalp. Spray liberally (but not so much your hair turns white!) and then rub it in with your fingertips or palm of your hand. I usually work my way around the crown of my head just so I get good lift and volume (and soak up all the oil) from all directions. Some people wait to put this in until Day 2 or Day 3 (whenever their hair gets oily) but I do it right out of the shower to help add volume immediately. I re-apply whenever I need.

6. Teasing/back-combing. Dry shampoo is my Epic Secret #1, and this is Epic Secret #2. If you’ve never done it, it’ll take a little practice to figure out how your hair needs to be teased. Don’t be too aggressive. Start your comb at 2-3″ from your scalp and backcomb towards your scalp, and then you can do a loose backcomb at about 4-6″ if you want super intense volume, but I recommend waiting to do this until after your hair is fully styled.

7. Natural waves. If your hair is like mine, it does its own thing every day. Some days it waves or lays nicely, others I just run through it REALLY loosely with a flat iron, but sometimes I want some prettier looking waves (Read: Calmer. Heat, for some reason, just does beautiful things to hair like ours). Use a 1.5″-2″ curling iron and wrap chunks of your hair around, but DON’T go all the way to the ends. You can run it through the ends briefly just to “seal” or “treat,” but don’t actually include it in part of the curl. Hold the curl for a few seconds before you release. The curl will loosen, and if you don’t wrap your hair all the way to the ends, it will retain a natural wavy look. This is a good video for how to use the curling iron, though this girl has significantly less hair than I do, and they didn’t add volume to her hair.

8. Salt water spray. This is a new fad, but you don’t have to spend $30 on it. Just get a little 99 cent spray bottle from Target or JoAnn’s, fill it with water, and put 1-2 teaspoons of salt in it. Shake well. Salt water drys out your hair a little bit, but gives it a lotttt of texture. This is what you’ll have to experiment with the most. IF YOU USE SALT WATER SPRAY, make sure you flip your head upside down and re-dry with the blow dryer. Soaking your hair will make it all go flat again. Weight of any kind is your enemy. Also, experiment with doing it at different stages in the process. Like right before the dry shampoo.

9. Tease/backcomb again. Or add in more dry shampoo. If you have little baby wisps or fuzzies around your face, you can touch up with a flat iron.

10. Remember to create more volume in the bathroom than you actually want. BE BRAVE. Your hair will fall naturally, so over do it at first. : )

Don’t be frustrated if your hair doesn’t look as amazing as you want the day you take a shower and try all this. Day 3 is best for me, and it might be Day 2 or Day 6 for you. Play around with backcombing and salt water spray and dry shampoo til you find how it all works best for you.

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  1. Nichole says:

    Thanks for all of your advice! I didn’t realize dry shampoo was such a lifesaver. I have major issue with not having enough volume in my hair. I only wash it every couple days, but it still seems weighed down. I used to only condition my ends, but then I got some of the new scalp therapy shampoo/conditioner and so it is supposed to go all over. should I just still avoid my scalp with the conditioner? I have really curly hair and so I have volume when I leave the curls be, but they get super frizzy and right at my crown it’s still flat. I think we have the same texture of hair, but I think you have a lot more than I do. I also have a lot of issue with falling, breaking strands. Any suggestions?

    • / / / / lauren nicole / / / / says:

      Hmm. Were you having issues with your scalp that caused you to purchase a therapy shampoo/conditioner? Some people really like all-in-ones, but I’ve never ever had good results with them.

      I would experiment with running a flat iron loosely through your hair (it calms the frizz – you don’t have to make it stick straight), and then add in your salt water spray, re-dry it a little bit, then add in dry shampoo and backcomb it a little bit.

      For falling/breakage, try deep conditioning your hair with coconut oil maybe twice a month and see what happens! You can get it for $5 at Trader Joes or any health food store. :)

  2. Maggie says:

    Baking soda and Apple cider vinegar. I haven’t even really touched regular shampoo since June of 2012. (except when I was swimming in a pool)

    You take 1 tbsp of baking soda for every 8oz of water (warm water to mix) and I’ve found that 1.5 tbsp for every 8oz Apple cider vinegar but that’s for my hair’s natural oil level.

    You take the baking soda solution and put a few capfuls (if you’re using an old drinking bottle for a container) and scrub it in your scalp, try not to allow it to go down pas your ears. I usually add enough solution and massage until I get a some white foam knowing the baking soda is lifiting the excess oils from my scalp. THen I rinse. Then I squeeze out the excess water (I usually have water off after I get wet and rinse to save water while I work on my hair). then mainly from the ends up I pour a little of the vinegar and squeeze any excess around the rest of my hair, leaving only just a small amount for the top. Let that sit while I wash the rest of me, rinse and air dry.

    I have found that letting it air dry (don’t go to bed hair wet) is the best for naturally wavy/curly hair (don’t brush until your hair is dry), but if you want just a slight wave or straighter just leave it slightly danp and/or brush after you get out of shower. I only have to wash my hair once every 4 days it’s amazing especially for my busy schedule. You spend a little extra time actually washing hair but you do it less often so it evens out.

    I know I had a growth spurt with my hair shortly after I started (along with keeping my hair up as much as possible to keep ends from breaking farther). This has helped me add an easy 3 inches of hair in what seems to be no time. My hair has never been this healthy. Now I just need a trim since it’s been a year since Ive had one and my ends are so dry and damaged.

    • Maggie says:

      The baking soda acts as a shampoo and vinegar as a conditioner. But basically anything that acts as a weak base (in natural terms) can be used to lift the dirt and I’m still unsure how the acidic part of the acetic acid (vinegar) actually conditions hair. I’m assuming hair is protein (alpha keratin) and as your hair drys out and loses moisture over time it loses the hydrogen ions that hold the hair together leading to breakage and split ends.

      When I swim in chlorine do have to use shampoo sometimes afterwards to get the chlorine out of my hairs pores, but what I’ve found if you’re willing to do it is before swimming soak hair in fresh water, put any conditioner (i pick cheap dollar store) and use a swim cap. It helps protect your hair’s pores from absorbing the chlorine which weighs downand dries out hair. But if I use shampoo I only use enough for the chlroine to be absorbed and then after the first rinse do only half of what I use normally with baking soda on scalp and double up with vinegar on ends. The after swimming experiments seem to help with my hair staying light and airy after I wash it after swimming.

  3. We seem to have similar hair types (although I am in the growing-out process), so thanks!

    My question is, I’m trying to become a more consistent exerciser…so what do I do when I’m putting my hair in a ponytail to work out? Will I just have to wash it more often?

  4. I love these tips. Also I bought that little bottle of Davines conditioner with you in November in LA and it’s STILL in my shower, not quite finished yet. $11 for over 3 months of conditioner? Really not bad.

  5. Amelia says:

    Yes yes yes. I have the same problem. Exceedingly thick hair–fine hairs. It makes to be difficult to maintain. I’m a natural blonde, so when I get my hair cut, they all say, “Oh, I wish I had your hair!” and I’m like, “no, trust me, you really don’t.” I got my hair done this weekend and it took 2-1/2 hours. Most of that time is blow drying. “SO MUCH THAT YOU JUST HAVE TO BLOW DRY FOREVER AND EVER” could not be more accurate. It’s at least an hour for me, even for professionals.

    I started using dry shampoo on your rec a few months ago, and while I haven’t quite gotten the hang of it, I do like it. I only wash my hair once every 3-5 days, so it gets to be pretty necessary by day 4, especially if it’s behaving more straight than wavy that go round.

    Just, hair. The end. <3

  6. amanda rose says:

    I have hair exactly like you. I think I’ll do my own post like this someday. I never brush my hair. I just keep adding conditioner and running my fingers through it until the knots come out. And I try to avoid adding heat to it. We definitely have crazy (unpredictable) hair! I read something somewhere that said “My friends always ask me if I curl it or if scrunch my hair and I said I just try not to make it mad.” That is my thought exactly on how I style my hair.

  7. Aubrey says:

    Thanks Lauren! I have the exact same type of hair as you, SO. MUCH. HAIR. But really fine strands. Mine is not wavy at all though, stick straight. It can be so difficult to manage. Doing anything with it takes so long that I have mostly given up. I am going to go have it layered and thinned a little, and I’m going to try out this dry shampoo thing, and combing in the shower because my hair gets tangled quite easily. I do work out several times a week and sweat a ton by nature, so we will see how it works. I have gone the route of apple cider vinegar for conditioning as my hair tends toward being oily and started to get dandruff. The vinegar cleared up the problem quickly.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing! I would be interested in seeing different styles that you do with your hair in the future. I feel at a loss with mine so often!

  8. Anna Kate says:

    Hi! It would appear that we have the same hair type: long, fine, and mucho. The only difference is that mine stays straight no matter what “day” it’s on, which is unfortunate. Any volume or wave I want I must actively enforce, ha. (did you know that a sock bun creates some of the best waves?!) However, after reading your post, I may be keeping my hair heavier than it needs to be. (I’ve been on an every-other-day-shampoo schedule for a couple of years, but I’m now venturing into 2 and 3 day stretches. I know, I’m a wild one.) During the 2nd and 3rd day I tend to want to at least wet it in the shower (when I’m, you know, cleaning the rest of my body so that I can stand living with myself) and re-dry it – is that a no-no? After you shampoo yours, do you wait to get it wet when you shampoo next? I hope that makes sense. Trying the salt water spray today. Thanks for the post!

  9. Izzie says:

    Yay! Tips for my type of hair! I find it so frustrating to read “tips for thick hair” that apply more to coarser strands than my own. Or for fine hair that apply for thinner amounts of hair. I’ve also found that washing my hair less has helped make it more manageable, however, I shy away from dry shampoos because they tend to darken my hair color (I fight the battle of “dirty” blonde hair). Do you know of any dry shampoos that are better for blondes?

    P.S. I find it hilarious when I sit down for a haircut and the stylist clearly underestimates how long it will take to cut (and dry, holy cow how long it take to dry) my hair because it looks so fine.

  10. April says:

    Haven’t tried your techniques yet, but am looking forward to experimenting. It’s been so hard trying to find advice on this kind of crazy hair! Something I would like to know that is not mentioned would be advice on types of cuts that work with this texture. Some advise few or zero layers, as they can create a wispy flyaway nightmare….. however all one length seems too dragged down for my long face. Any words of wisdom on what to tell the hairstylist? ( They seem to be guessing when I explain the issues) Thanks

  11. Sarah Dolislager says:

    This is super helpful for me. I tend to wash my hair every day because it gets oily and I exercise almost every day… but your dry shampoo trick might be just what I need! My hair is unpredictable and I don’t like spending a lot of time on it, so washing it every day is annoying (since that means I either blow dry every morning and the works or just throw it in a loose low bun while it’s still wet before work)… Would you say it takes some time to get my hair “used” to this routine? If I exercise in the evening and then shower and let it air dry… can I still tease and apply dry shampoo a couple hours after?

  12. Perfect Hair says:

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  13. Kotea says:

    THANK YOU I love love love this article. My hair is exactly as yours. I already discovered the sea salt spray, but the dry shampoo and teasing are new for me to try. I wash my hair once a week because it takes forever for my natural oils to work. 5 days after washing my hair I still smell like shampoo!

  14. Sarah says:

    Wow! Thought I was alone…! Just stumbled on the site. Thanks for the tips and I’ll check them out! I’ve got old gray (~50/50) hair that was warm medium brown but am now blond to better blend the out-growth, so I’ve got peroxide hair. It is also stick-straight in the front and curly in the back – a real challenge to find a style that compliments both textures, let alone pleasing to me! The best is to let the hair speak for itself and go as natural as possible – I keep it chopped – shoulder length with layers around the face. Keeping my hair as healthy and natural as possible is my fashion statement. Besides, each and every strand has its own, defiant mind!

  15. Aili says:

    Hi, Lauren! Okay, so, I just stumbled upon this post in 2014, so I’m glad someone finally did a tutorial for my hair type. Seriously. THANK YOU SO MUCH! But I was wondering if you’ve ever tried making like a DIY dry shampoo? I used to use the Suave Dry Shampoo all the time (I still love it) but my hair is so dark that it was making it look to white and I didn’t know what to do.

    Basically, what I did was make a dry shampoo that uses cocoa powder + corn starch + a few drops of essential oil so your hair’ll smell nice and it’s been amazing! Just, y’know, as an alternative for people with super dark hair. It makes my hair smell like chocolate, haha. But I love that you talked about dry shampoo! Everyone thinks I’m crazy for being so obsessed with it but it does wonders for your hair.

  16. Leah says:

    Thank you so much for posting this!

    I’m trying to find some hair help! I have this hair: Fine – but so much it’s like… eating me alive! I can never find any tutorials for it. I never learned how to do my hair as a kid and now as an adult I’m getting pretty sick of the pony tail / bun everyday thing.

    Also, I always found it incredibly – if not impossibly difficult to do my hair – french braids – forget it! And other girls would make fun of me for it! So… this post makes me feel so much better – this type of hair really is a beast to control!

    But honestly, I think that maybe this type of hair is really great- lots of it so it is thick – but thin strands to help with volume. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much info about how to care for it.

    Thanks again!

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  1. […] for it) but not look gross. I have a lot of other tips for hair (particularly long, thick hair) over here on this other post […]

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