Afro textured hair has the appearance of volume but there are still variations in density. Hair density is determined by the number of strands per square meter. There is thick, normal and fine hair. This is usually determined by genetics and a person may take after a relative such as a parent. Hair density may affect the way certain hairstyles work with your hair. For example, cornrows with fine hair may result in too much exposure of the scalp, where the hair is parted. Certain styles may cause women with this hair type to feel self-conscious about their hair density. There are different options for styling and products that can help you to achieve the most from your hair. There are also different methods of maintaining and utilising hair density.
If you have decided to go natural, you have already made a great decision for the health of your hair. Simply having your natural kinks, coils or curls will give the appearance of thicker hair. The absence of chemicals found in relaxers will also greatly improve the health of your hair. Fine hair is affected more by the use of chemicals and any damage that occurs will be more obvious. So don’t give up on your natural hair journey.
There are also many styling options with natural hair. Check out the series: The Versatility of Natural Hair. You will be free to try different styles and figure out the ones that work best for you. We all have styles that work better than others no matter what our hair type is. Afro textured hair appears bigger when it is worn out. So try twist outs and braid outs. As a general rule, the more you separate the more volume you create. There will be a greater risk of frizz but a little bit of frizz can be good, especially as it creates more volume. Try doing three or four large twists to create big waves. This will help to maintained volume but still allow you to enjoy twist outs. Wearing an Afro or a blow out style may also be a good option, instead of manipulating your hair into curls. This will utilized your hair texture and present it in its most volumous form.
Another option is loose two strand twists instead of the traditional ones. As the hair is twisted loosely it unravels slightly and creates more volume. This is a great protective style for those of you who are struggling to find a suitable protective style for fine hair. Check out Alicia James’ tutorial on this.
Finally, puffs, buns and ponytails are great go to styles for fine hair, especially as the hair may be easier to manipulate. You can use a donut to shape your buns.
Light products are better for fine hair, as heavier products weigh the hair down. A water based leave in conditioner may be more suitable than a heavy butter. It is also advisable to concentrate on the ends of the hair when applying a leave in conditioner. If applied from the roots it is more likely to weigh the hair down. The scalp naturally produces oil that travels down the hair strands. So applying moisture to the ends may be all that is necessary. A little goes a long way with fine hair, so save your money and only use what is necessary.
Protein treatments are important for fine hair. The protein binds to the hair cuticles and temporarily gives the hair a thicker appearance. Choose volumising conditioners that are specifically designed for fine hair. However, ensure that you don’t over do it with the protein. Moisturizing conditioners are just as important to maintain the correct protein/moisture balance. Always do a moisturizing conditioning treatment after a protein treatment, to restore lost moisture.
Beer rinses are also believed to be effective. According to author Brenner, the yeast content in beer helps to plump up the hair shaft, resulting in a thicker appearance. Black Castor oil is thick in consistency compared to other oils. It is believed to work by sticking to the hair and creating an illusion of thickness. Although some claim that it actually thickens the hair itself, no official studies have been done to prove this.
According to author Davis-Sivasothy, hair that is finger detangled tends to be thicker and longer than hair that is detangled with a comb. So adopt the best method for your hair and try to keep the use of a comb to a minimum. Although finger detangling may take longer, you are likely to see the long-term benefits of being patient with your hair. When using a comb opt for a large tooth comb instead of a traditional comb or brush.
Head massage has proven to help restore hair that had thinned over time. Massage stimulates blood circulation which feeds the hair follicle and can encourage it to produce hair again. Exercise also does this, so make sure you are staying active. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, which affects your hair. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables obviously helps our bodies receive key nutrients. If we lack important nutrients this may result in hair loss. For example biotin (B7) deficiency has been linked to hair loss. A lack of Iron which carries oxygen around our body can lead to dry, brittle and dull hair. Taking a multivitamin will help you maintain the vitamins and minerals your body needs, especially for those occasions where your diet falls short. Unfortunately, due to the way food is produced today many foods have lower levels of their naturally derived nutrients, making the use of multivitamins essential.
Most importantly learn to love your hair for both its strengths and weaknesses, which every hair type has. You have to work with what you have and appreciate your natural beauty :-). Avoid any products or gimmicks that claim to give you thicker hair. We are born with our hair follicles and throughout our life time, the number of hair follicles on our head remains the same. This is genetic; you cannot create more hair follicles to produce more strands. All you can do is look after the ones you already have.
Do you have fine hair? What advice would you give? Share your styling or hair care tips below.
The Science of Black Hair; Audrey Davis-Sivasothy 2011