Unravelling the Mystery of Fine, Thick and Thin Hair

Megan Dominion

Fine hair, thin hair and thick hair all have distinct characteristics that can help to determine the best haircare and styling techniques for each. The differences between these three types of hair can be subtle, but each type should be taken into consideration when it comes to which haircare and styling products to use, as well as how best to maintain hair health. We’ll look at how to identify the various types of hair, as well as the different techniques and products that are best for each particular type. We will also explore the different challenges each type of hair can face in regards to maintenance and styling, as well as how to make the most out of what you have.

woman with sunglasses in her hair

What is fine hair?

Fine hair is hair that has a small diameter and often produces fewer natural oils. It looks thinner and more delicate than other hair types, but it can still be lustrous. You can have a lot of fine hair, but this does not mean that your hair is thick, just that you have a lot of it!

How to look after Fine Hair?

Fine hair is generally very thin and fine in texture, with a tendency to become limp or frizzy without proper hydration. It is usually very light in color, and often has little body or volume. When touched, it often feels smooth and silky, but it also can be very fragile and prone to breakage. For fine hair, the most important thing is to use gentle and nourishing products to keep it moisturized. Opt for light and nourishing shampoos and conditioners, and use leave-in treatments to protect and strengthen hair strands. Avoid using any harsh products or excessive heat when styling, as these can damage and weaken the delicate strands.

Using less heat styling, such as blow drying, can also help protect fine hair. Use silicone-free styling products and avoid brushing or combing wet hair, as this causes more damage. It is also important to use a protein-based leave-in conditioner or mask to help repair any existing damage and to keep your hair healthy and strong.

What is thick hair?

Thick hair is dense and full, with a wide circumference. It can sometimes be difficult to manage and prone to tangles, but with the right products and techniques, it can look beautifully voluminous and luxurious. Thick hair is hair that has a thicker diameter, producing more natural oils. It has more strands per area than thin or fine hair, making it appear fuller and more voluminous.

How to look after thick hair?

To maintain healthy thick hair, opt for hydrating and nourishing shampoos and conditioners, as well as intensive treatments to help keep it manageable and soft. As thick hair tends to be more dry, it is important to use products that are specifically designed for this type. Avoid using any heavy products that can weigh it down, and opt for more lightweight styling products.

Thick hair is often more resilient than other hair types, but it still requires gentle care. It is important to use shampoos and conditioners that are made for thick hair, as these products can help keep the hair shiny and manageable. Avoid heat styling as much as possible, as this can cause damage to your hair. Use products with non-drying and softening ingredients, such as argan oil or almond oil, to help keep your hair soft and healthy.

woman with braided hair

What is thin hair?

Thin hair is hair that is not as thick as average hair. It may have a similar diameter to fine hair, but it is usually less dense, meaning it has fewer strands per area. Thin hair can be fine or thick too, depending on the dimater of the strands.

How to look after thin and thinning hair?

To maintain healthy thin hair, it is important to use products that are specifically designed for this type. These products should be lightweight, nourishing, and ideally with volumizing properties to help create texture and body. Avoid using any heavy waxes or oils that may weigh down the hair, and opt for lightweight products such as mousses, creams, and gels.

Look for products that are specifically formulated for thin hair and that help to strengthen and nourish the strands. Hair masks can also help to nourish and revive thinning hair, as can using less heat styling and avoiding over-brushing or combing. Supplements that are rich in biotin, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids can also help to boost hair health.

So, what really is the difference between fine hair and thick hair?

The difference between fine hair and thick hair is the circumference of the individual strands; fine hair is thin and has a smaller circumference, while thick hair is thicker and has a larger circumference. To determine the type of hair you have, you can use a ruler or a measuring tape and measure the circumference of a single strand of your hair. If it’s smaller than 2.2 millimeters, then your hair is considered fine. If it’s 2.2 millimeters or larger then your hair is considered thick.

Megan Dominion

Megan Dominion is SILKUP's Managing Editor. She's been down both the curly hair and skincare rabbit holes many times and loves that there's always something new to learn; a new science, method, product or personal experience.