Letters From Your HairdresserLies You've Believed: Hair TypesKate Allen

They key to any great hairstyle or haircut is knowing what you are working with. And beyond that, taking what you’ve got and realistically embracing it to its fullest potential to look your best. In that regard, before we really get started, I need to go over a few key words that describe hair types we’ll be discussing. Most people get the density and texture of a hair strand mixed up and in order to fully understand what I will be explaining and exploring today, I need you to know what I’m truly saying.

The density of someone’s hair refers to how much hair exists in an area on the scalp. For example, if you take one inch of a person’s head, hold the hair and see a lot of bare scalp, that person has very thin hair. Density can be either thin, medium, or thick depending on how much scalp is visible. Texture, however, refers to the actual hair strand itself. If an individual hair strand is very large in circumference, we would call that a coarse hair strand. If a hair strand is incredibly skinny in width, we would call that a fine hair strand. It’s important to note that someone can have very thick hair in density, but fine strands in texture. This hair type happens to be the most prone to tangling. Or a person can have very coarse hair in texture and very thin density. Sometimes, this can be very confusing to hairdressers and clients alike, so I just want you to understand what the truth is about your hair before we start breaking down the lies about it

Today, we are talking the biggest lies you’ve believed about your hair type and why they are simply just myths. We’ll cover them all and I’ll leave you with a lot of information, but as always, if you have questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will get to as many as time allows!

Myth #1: Fine Hair Is A Lost Cause

I know this sounds like a harsh way to speak about our wispy-haired sisters, but it’s truly what a lot of hairdressers and clients believe. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve met in my chair who have such a depressing outlook on their fine hair. They say, “Do whatever you can with it” and “I’ve never had a cut that works for me”. They just expect that no one will have the skills or time to make their hair look beautiful. And I get it as I have had fine, thin hair my whole life. It wasn’t until I began doing hair myself and could explain to other hairdressers how to cut my hair that I finally felt like I could rock a great style. And it really, really sucks to feel that your hair will never come close to those ladies who have beautiful, thick tresses when your hair is such a part of your identity.

Well, it’s simply not true. You should know by now that I believe everyone can have great hair. The first piece of putting this puzzle together is your outlook. Ladies, you’ve got to stop acting like your fine hair is such a burden; it’s not! So stop treating it that way. The next missing piece is to understand your hair type. You need to know that lots of layers are a huge no-no because they will make your ends look too thin. But you need to accept that there are certain layers that can amp your hair up to the next level and not be afraid to try them with the right hairdresser. The secret is to wear “long layers” that can allow for more volume at the root and still maintain fullness at the ends. You need to know that a diagonal back side part is a great solution to get more volume. To do so, try parting on one side directly above the arch of your eyebrow and and comb it back towards the center of the top of your head, ending at your crown. And switch sides on a weekly or monthly basis to get a little extra oomph.

I also believe that using the right product is so incredibly crucial for fine hair. You need a product that gives you volume, hold, shine and heat protection. But it also has to be weightless so that your hair isn’t fallen down flat two hours into your day. Your answer is definitely not more hairspray (as most of us think), but Kevin.Murphy’s Anti Gravity. You can blowdry in the lotion on days that you wash and spritz it in through spray form on the days when you want to get up and go. I am seriously obsessed with this product and it’s been the only thing that will give my hair lots of hold, but since it’s oil free, I also don’t have to worry about tons of product build up on day two or three. With how this product and a great cut make my hair look on a daily basis, clients who sit in my chair with the same hair type are genuinely shocked when I tell them that naturally, my hair lays flat to my head and looks like four measly little strands coming from my scalp. And bonus points: it only takes me ten minutes to style my four little strands every morning!

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  1. Thank you so much for this article! Lately, I’ve been bemoaning my fine hair that doesn’t seem to hold a hairstyle other than straight. I got bangs recently, and while I had enough hair to get somewhat heavy bangs (my hair is fine but I have a lot of it), they have no volume. They’ve been falling flat against my forehead. Every time I curl my hair it takes forever to get a good curl. I was starting to think that fine hair can’t hold any kind of hairstyle and those with thick hair didn’t know how lucky they had it.

    But now I realize it’s a lot about the kind of products and tools you use. No one ever says that or talks about the pros of having your specific kind of hair.

  2. Thank you! I fall under myth #1 and will remember these tips for life. I just got a horrible cut about a month ago (too short and too many layers and my bangs are everywhere) –it’s shredded my confidence. I’m not letting anyone touch my hair for another month but when they do…I’m telling them this!

  3. Who would EVER say that curly hair and layers don’t go together!? Curly hair looks best with layers! Is this a made up list of myths? Because I highly doubt someone would be dumb enough to say that or believe that.

  4. I think I have thick hair but maybe like medium strands. After a bold move a year ago by cutting all my hair off to have a short pixie hairstyle I now want long luxurious locks…I get bored with my hair lol. Do you have tips on keeping your hair healthy as it grows? I know the basics, eat healthy is a must with everything, stay away from the irons, and every so often get a trim. What I want to know is the extra stuff. Occasionally, I’ll put a dab of organic coconut oil in my hair after a shower to make it shine and moisten the ends. I use coconut oil on my skin so I thought it could be good for my hair as well? Is this bad or good? Do you have any other recommendations? THANK YOU!!

  5. Me having naturally curly hair, having it in layers is an absolute MUST!

  6. Thanks for the great blog, Kate! Would love more insights, styles, and suggestions for fine, thin hair! I have really struggled with finding a cute style as my hair has continued to thin, and still feel like all it does it just lay flat.

  7. Kate, I’ve been loving your articles. Thank you for making me feel like I’m not a fine-haired lost cause. Gonna get some KevinMurphy Anti Gravity, STAT.

  8. I have masses of thick, long frizzy hair that were the bane of my existence in high school (I had the charming nickname ‘babushka’, haha….ha). Since then I’ve taken GHDs to it pretty much every day to make it appear thinner and more manageable. I also have to change stylists every few months because hairdressers hate me! It’s only recently that I’ve started to embrace my naturally fat hair by using hair oils, applying extra conditioner and tying it up when I go to bed to eliminate lumpiness in the morning. I have to say, it looks fantastic. I’m just sad that it took me so long (and a lot of damage) to learn how to manage it.

  9. i’m glad i read this. it makes me feel better about my thin, fine hair. Any suggestions on a cut that would be good?

  10. ughh, so THATS why my hair tangles so easily. I have very fine strands but i have A LOT of hair and it’s wavy(sometimes curly) so it likes to go crazy. I have a kind of boho/carefree look/personality so it suits me if i just let it do its thing. Not so good on days that i need to dress up though :/

  11. YES!! I have a lot of hair, but it’s very fine and yes, extremely prone to tangles. :( It’s hard to find a good way to style my hair because it doesn’t hold product well and curls fall out within 10 minutes. But when I do nothing but blow dry and brush it out, it gets tangly fast. I think when I got a short cut years ago and my hairdresser used a razor, it never quite grew back the same.. and then I kept on getting layers, which now I know is wrong for my hair type, but now I’m stuck with choppy, fine, tangly hair… Haha any suggestions?

    • I have thick fine hair. It was a tangled mess until I found my cut – long layers that are thinned with a little bit of razored ends around my face and bangs. Over the years many stylist told me all of those things were bad for my fine hair. Until Jan. She changed my life….well the life of my hair. Of course product is not my friend most days, the beauty of this cut is I blow dry my bangs and top layer, give it a spritz of hairspray and I’m good to go all day. And, I only have to cut it twice a year, which makes for healthy soft hair. And a fat pocketbook.

  12. This is a life saver! I have that type of hair and it also gets tangled easily. I leave my house with great hear and after an hour it looks as if I haven’t showered and flat to my scalp. I’ve also noticed that short layers make it look worse than it is.