Cynthia Alvarez, celebrity hairstylist and ambassador for Dove haircare, has seen it all: thick hair, curly hair, thin hair. She advises those who fall in the last category to follow these seven commandments for maintaining and volumizing thin hair.
Never have lifeless strands again!
1. Keep a Regular Wash Schedule
There's definitely something to the no-shampoo movement, but it doesn't apply to hair types across the board. Thinner hair will suffer if it goes unwashed for too long. "Do wash your hair often," Alvarez says. "As soon as fine hair gets oily, it tends to get flat and weighed down."
The hairstylist suggests adding Bumble and Bumble's Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner to your routine. "The collection plumps up strands and adds body while cleansing," she says.
2. Avoid Product Buildup
While you want to give your fine strands a boost with some sort of styling formula, it's important to use as little product as possible. "A common mistake people make is overloading on products," Alvarez says. "It's hard not to try new trendy products, but with fine hair especially, most products tend to be way too heavy." Instead, stick to some lighter staple items. "Try experimenting with texturizing sprays and volumizing mousses."
3. Say Yes and No to Treatments
Alvarez believes that a good dye job can give your hair some desired dimension. "When coloring your hair, no matter what color you decide, try to deepen the color of your roots at least a half a shade darker," she says. "This gives the illusion of fuller hair."
However, Alvarez says that not all treatments are right for thinner strands. Avoid hot oil and keratin processes, as the oils will weigh down hair; keratin will also flatten and dry out hair.
4. Get the Right Haircut
Although you may want the latest and greatest haircut of the season, be careful: "Steer clear of layered cuts as they will make your hair look thinner and finer," Alvarez says. Additionally, beware of trendy fringe. "Bangs are also a big no-no for fine hair," she says. "Getting bangs takes away the attention from hair at the crown of your head and, in turn, gives you less volume." Alvarez recommends blunt cuts instead.
"It's hard not to try new trendy products, but with fine hair especially, most products tend to be way too heavy." —Cynthia Alvarez
5. Stick To These Ingredients
You might have read of protein's magic powers on Sweet in the past, but here's a reminder: "Protein is an ingredient to look for when buying products for fine hair," Alvarez says. "It coats the cuticle, giving the appearance of thicker, fuller hair." Another ingredient you want in your shampoo is panthenol," Alvarez says. "It governs the thickness of hair and helps in making thin hair grow healthy."
6. Stock Up on Crucial Tools
Thin hair often falls victim to static, which causes strands to stick out. But there are a few products and materials that will prevent flyaway strands, according to Alvarez.
Metal Combs: "Metal helps smooth hair, eliminating the chance of frizz or static," she says, noting that plastic combs create more static.
Boar-Bristle Brushes: "Boar bristles are gentle on the hair and help distribute oils evenly from root to tip," Alvarez says. She also suggests nylon bristles that detangle while preventing damaging snags and breakage.
Dryer Sheets: Alvarez recommends rubbing dryer sheets on your hair to cut down static (as they do for your laundry). "The added bonus," she says, "is that they make your hair smell fresh."
Humidifiers: "Invest in a humidifier—it adds moisture back into the air, preventing static," says Alvarez. They aren't just great for your hair; they hydrate dry and irritated skin, too. It's a two-for-one!
Lightweight Moisturizers: "Apply a lightweight moisturizer or oil to just the tips of your hair to tame frizz and static," Alvarez says.
7. Go Grocery Shopping
Eggs and avocados are probably already on your grocery list, but grab a couple more next time you go for Alvarez's DIY at-home treatments.
The Fortifying Egg Treatment: "Beat two eggs (three if your hair is longer), apply the liquid to wet hair, and allow it to sit for about a half hour," Alvarez says. Shampoo out the eggs, and repeat the process once a week for stronger and denser strands.
The Hydrating Avocado Mask: "Mash one avocado and one banana, and mix in a tablespoon of olive oil to create a hydrating hair mask," she says. "The avocado adds thickness by moisturizing the hair, and the health of the hair shaft is improved by the vitamin E, which is an essential nutrient for hair growth."
Alvarez recommends buying organic ingredients, as pesticides and other harmful chemicals can lead to follicle damage.