The 13 Best Products for Fine Hair That Give Life to Limp Strands

These lightweight products deliver volume and texture without weighing it down

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Best Products for Fine Hair

InStyle / David Hattan

Constantly struggling with limp, tangled strands, or styles that barely last an hour? Chances are you have fine hair, which is defined by the thinner-than-average density of the strand. And contrary to popular belief, any hair texture, from straight to wavy to curly, can be classified as fine.

“For the sake of a visual, think of fine hair as angel hair pasta and thick hair as spaghetti,” says Dr. Iris Rubin, a board certified dermatologist and founder of SEEN Haircare.

“A few common issues for those with fine hair are lack of volume, frizziness, won’t hold a curl, and it also tangles really easily,” says mononymous celebrity hairstylist Castillo. While your hair density cannot be changed — it’s usually a matter of genetics — it can be temporarily boosted or plumped to give the impression and appearance of a full-bodied head of hair.

Best Overall

K18 Peptide Prep pH Maintenance Shampoo

K18 PEPTIDE PREP pH Maintenance Shampoo


What We Love: This pH-balanced shampoo effectively cleanses hair without weighing it down while also addressing dullness, frizz, and tangling.

What We Don’t Love: As with any shampoo or conditioning product, if it’s not thoroughly rinsed out, it will leave hair lackluster and flat.

The most important thing you can do for fine hair? Properly clean it, says Jon Reyman, celebrity and editorial hairstylist and founder of Spoke & Weal. “Shampoo is your best friend,” he says. His absolute be-all and end-all recommendation for fine hair is this peptide-boosted shampoo from K18. It’s gentle on hair, safe for color-treated strands, and thoroughly cleanses. But most importantly, notes Reyman, is that it removes buildup without stripping hair or drying it out, which is especially vital for fine hair, as that “will weigh hair down the most,” he says. “Some shampoos will deposit softening agents so hair feels softer, which makes hair flatter even though it’s cleaning it."

Price at time of publish: $36

Size: 8.5 fl. oz | Active Ingredients: Patented peptide | Benefits: Cleansing, smoothing, pH-balanced formula

Best Budget

Eva NYC Lift Off Volumizing + Thickening Mist

Eva NYC Lift Off Volumizing + Thickening Mist


What We Love: This mist provides soft, touchable volume with an incredible $13 price tag.

What We Don’t Love: A little goes a long way and too much can make hair feel sticky.

Pump up the volume with this budget-friendly volumizing and thickening spray formulated specifically for thin and fine hair. According to the brand, it can triple your natural volume, while also providing that elusive all-day hold. Although the formula consists of a hydrating blend of botanical oils, your hair will look nothing short of commercial-worthy hair — as long as you adopt a less-is-more approach. As with all Eva NYC products, it’s scented with the brand’s signature fragrance — a delicious and mood-boosting warm floral note.

Price at time of publish: $13

Size: 5.4 fl. oz | Active Ingredients: Linden bud, Australian wild berries, aloe leaf juice | Benefits: Volumizing, thickening

Best Splurge

Christophe Robin Volume Shampoo Paste

Christophe Robin Cleansing Volumizing Paste


What We Love: The clay pulls impurities out of the hair and plant-based extracts add noticeable fullness to chronically oily roots.

What We Don’t Love: If not utilized correctly, the paste shampoo can weigh down strands.

This brown sludge looks anything but volumizing at first glance, so remember that looks can be deceiving. The innovative paste (which transforms into a sudsy foam) is basically fine hair-enhancing magic. It was developed to treat the tricky combo of fine hair and oily roots. Volcanic clay soaks up excess oil and calms the scalp, while sugar crystals exfoliate and plump strands.

And of course, we can’t forget the scent, which smells like walking through a rose garden. For those with consistently deflated or oily, fine strands, this can be used daily, every other day or even weekly without drying hair out.

Price at time of publish: $53

Size: 8.4 fl. oz | Active Ingredients: Moroccan lava clay, exfoliating sugar crystals, rose water | Benefits: Volumizing, cleansing

Best Conditioner

Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Conditioner

Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Hair Volumizing Conditioner


What We Love: This conditioner is focused on amping up the thickness and moisture level of fine hair.

What We Don’t Love: Some users note an increase in tangles, perhaps from the maltodextrin.

One of fine hair’s greatest challenges is finding a non-greasy conditioning cream, to which we say: Try this Briogeo option. The formula was developed with a few ingredients more commonly found in the kitchen than shower caddy, like ginseng and the common sugar substitute maltodextrin. Ginseng works to stimulate the scalp and follicles, thus encouraging hair growth, while maltodextrin increases the fullness of each strand, giving the appearance of voluminous hair. As an added bonus, biotin offers long-term hair health and growth.

Even though the formula is lightweight, ensure that you thoroughly rinse out all traces of the conditioner in the shower, which can take a few minutes. Rushing through this step will likely lead to tangles, stiff-feeling strands (thanks in part to the maltodextrin), and product buildup.

Price at time of publish: $28

Size: 8 fl. oz | Active Ingredients: Ginseng extract, maltodextrin, biotin | Benefits: Silicone-, sulfate-, and paraben-free, lightweight, volumizing

Best for Fine Curly Hair

Taliah Waajid Curly Curl “Gello”

Taliah Waajid Curly Curl “Gello”


What We Love: This bouncy cream is moisturizing and curl-defining, yet doesn’t weigh down fine-haired curls and waves.

What We Don’t Love: The jar packaging can get messy quickly.

Curls love hydration, but fine hair is quick to feel greasy or heavy with curl enhancer products — but not with Taliah Waajid Curly Curl “Gello.” The genius gel-cream is lightweight, moisturizing and weightlessly delivers curl definition for all patterns and textures, even for the finest of strands. It also smooths and conditions curls with what the brand calls a “blend of herbal extract emulsifiers and humectants” — but we’d just call it “amazing.”

Rather than alcohol-based gels, this bouncy “gello” formula is alcohol-free, giving lasting hold without dehydrating and flaking. Designed with fine hair curls, in mind, it also addresses volume and frizz, while adding shine to give touchable, perfectly-shaped ringlets.

Price at time of publish: $9

Size: 6 fl. oz | Active Ingredients: Shea butter, vitamin E | Benefits: Hydrating, curl-enhancing, volumizing

Best for Fine Wavy Hair

Bumble & Bumble Bb.Curl Light Defining Cream

Bumble & Bumble Bb.Curl Light Defining Cream


What We Love: Enriched with a blend of oils (avocado, coconut, and jojoba), butters (shea and cocoa), and aloe vera juice, this cream thoroughly hydrates and heals waves and curls.

What We Don’t Love: While it’s designed to be lightweight, it’s also super moisturizing, which may weigh down some waves and curls, so use just a small amount.

A lightweight version of the brand’s fan-favorite Curl Defining Cream, this iteration is designed to impart beautiful shine and definition to curls without adding weight. What separates this Light Defining Cream from other options is its strand-strengthening formulation of oils (avocado, coconut, and jojoba), butters (shea and cocoa), and aloe vera juice to provide a soft, voluminous hold for fine waves and curls.

Apply just a small dime-size amount to the palms of hands, emulsify the light cream, then scrunch through mid-lengths to ends, and allow curls to fully set before shaking them out.

Price at time of publish: $32

Size: 8.5 fl. oz | Active Ingredients: Avocado oil, coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, shea butter, aloe leaf juice | Benefits: Non-sticky, hydrating

Best Leave-In Conditioner

Crown Affair The Leave-In Conditioner

Crown Affair The Leave-In Conditioner


What We Love: A hypnotic fresh scent, lightweight texture, and multitasking formula make this leave-in product a straight, fine hair must-have.

What We Don’t Love: Although faint, the scent leans masculine and heady.

The ultimate do-it-all product for thin hair, this cream tackles dehydration and all over the place texture to achieve touchable, hydrated hair. Even the finest of the fine hair will benefit from this impressively multipurpose leave-in designed to quickly soak into wet or dry strands and revive and refine hair texture without heaviness or stickiness. The leave-in also locks in a solid dose of moisture, leaving you with less frizz and improved manageability without the fear of an overly poofy result.

Price at time of publish: $48

Size: 5.1 fl. oz | Active Ingredients: Meadowfoam seed oil, Tsubaki seed oil | Benefits: Conditions, softens and refines texture

Best Heat Protectant

Ceremonia Guava Rescue Hair Heat Protectant Spray

Ceremonia Heat Protectant


What We Love: This multitasking spray strengthens hair and protects against blue light, UV, and heat (up to 450 degrees).

What We Don’t Love: While it is designed for fine hair, it is still perhaps a tad too heavy for those with ultra-fine strands.

Ceremonia’s Guava Rescue Spray is truly versatile: It defends hair from heat up to 450 degrees, and also safeguards from blue light and pollution damage. It works as a detangler, adding slip to strands, making a comb through wet and damp hair far easier.

The spritz also acts as a leave-in conditioner or hydration mist to improve overall hair health, thanks to a blend of aloe vera juice, coconut oil, avocado oil, and safflower seed extract. And for some, it may even completely replace the need for conditioner. Plus, it just smells fantastic, like a beach vacation in a bottle.

Due to the long list of deeply reparative oils, ultra-thin hair may find it too heavy. Test before purchasing, if possible, to see which side your strands land in.

Price at time of publish: $22

Size: 6.7 fl. oz | Active Ingredients: Guava fruit extract, aloe vera juice, safflower seed extract | Benefits: Heat protecting, hydrating, detangling

Best Dry Shampoo

Olaplex No.4D Clean Volume Detox Dry Shampoo

Olaplex No.4D Clean Volume Detox Dry Shampoo


What We Love: This dry shampoo not only makes hair look cleaner, but it does so without leaving behind a white cast or product buildup.

What We Don’t Love: Compared to some traditional dry shampoos, this gentle cleanser may not remove all build-up completely.

One of the most common issues with dry shampoo is the gritty, white film left behind or the scalp irritation that can sometimes follow with these oil-absorbing products. Yet these woes were the exact inspiration for Olaplex’s new volumizing, airy dry shampoo.

Not only will even the most generous mist go undetected, but it’s particularly great for sensitive scalps (a common issue for fine hair). In clinical studies, it was shown to leave no white residue or clog the pores on the scalp (another leading cause of irritation with dry shampoo).

Price at time of publish: $30

Size: 6.3 fl. oz | Active Ingredients: Rambutan seed extract, micro starch | Benefits: Volumizing, oil-absorbing

Best Volumizing

Aveda Volumizing Tonic

Aveda Volumizing Tonic


What We Love: One of the most ethical hair brands on the market, Aveda is vegan, B-Corp certified, and focused on responsible packaging and manufacturing.

What We Don’t Love: While a few spritzes are all you need, you don’t get a ton of product in the bottle.

This iconic volumizing tonic is Reyman’s favorite styling product for fine hair. Not only does it give non-sticky volume to dull, flat hair, but it also adds a subtle texture and shine. The aloe vera juice gives hair a touch of hydration and gloss, while the clever use of wheat amino acids builds long-lasting volume naturally.

Additionally, while it’s not a dedicated detangler, Reyman utilizes the product as one. “It gives hair a slip that allows a brush to comb through strands more easily,” he adds.

Price at time of publish: $30

Size: 3.4 fl. oz | Active Ingredients: Aloe vera juice, wheat amino acids | Benefits: Volumizing, texturizing

Best Strengthening

Vegamour HYDR-8 Deep Moisture Repair Mask

Vegamour HYDR-8 Deep Moisture Repair Mask


What We Love: This weekly mask is deeply reparative, hydrating, and frizz-reducing — even after just a single treatment.

What We Don’t Love: To reap maximum results, it needs to be left on for five minutes.

If you had to grab one and only one product to strengthen hair, make it this repairing mask by Vegamour. Featuring a vegan silk alternative to keratin and silicone, Karmatin, the mask gets to work repairing damaged hair and reducing breakage.

But don’t just take our word for it: The mask has been clinically shown to leave hair up to three times stronger after just a single use. The trial also found a noticeable reduction in frizzy flyaways for up to 72 hours and a helpful hydration boost (up to 15 times more moisturized than before the treatment), making hair not only look healthier, but actually become healthier over consistent usage.

Price at time of publish: $52

Size: 5 fl. oz | Active Ingredients: Karmatin, milk thistle, marula oil, moringa seed oil | Benefits: Reparative, strengthening

Best Anti-Frizz

Matrix Styling Controller Gel

Matrix Styling Controller Gel


What We Love: This medium-hold gel resolves flyaways and frizz without a sticky, stiff, or crunchy feel.

What We Don’t Love: Don’t expect a gravity-defying hold.

For stylist Castillo, gel is one of his favorite must-haves for fine hair. “Fine hair doesn’t need to mean flat and lifeless locks,” he says. “A great way to add some thickness and manageability is by using a light to hard hold gel on your hair, preferably while it’s damp.”

He’s particularly a fan of this Controller Gel, noting that it creates volume and structure without stiffness or flaking. He recommends applying it through damp hair before blow drying and styling, then touching up as needed.

Price at time of publish: $22

Size: 6.8 fl. oz | Active Ingredients: Alcohol denat, propylene glycol | Benefits: Anti-frizz, medium hold

Best Texturizing Spray

R+Co Balloon Dry Volume Spray

R+Co Balloon Dry Volume Spray


What We Love: Along with touchable texture, this spray produces a trio of additional benefits: Shine, structure, and long-lasting style.

What We Don’t Love: It was developed specifically for fine hair, so medium or coarse hair types should look elsewhere for stylers.

We’ve long sung the praises of texturizing sprays and one of our favorites for fine hair is R+Co.’s Balloon Dry Volume Spray. It’ll zhuzh hair instantly without the weight or stickiness often associated with texturizing sprays. Instead, you’ll rock an enviable lived-in texture that lasts. Yet what we really love is that the spray is so lightweight that it’s buildable (in case you need a midday refresher), yet you won’t compromise a bit of your hair’s softness.

Price at time of publish: $36

Size: 5 fl. oz | Active Ingredients: Silica, zeolite, calendula, mica | Benefits: Texturizing, buildable, shine-enhancing

What to Keep in Mind

Product Amount

Fine hair, regardless of its type or curl pattern, has a smaller strand diameter. This means that using too much product or not rinsing it completely out of your hair will instantly weigh it down, resulting in a limp, flat, and greasy look. And it’s not just the stylers — you’ll want to follow this rule for each and every product you use on fine hair. You can always add more but you cannot remove product once it is applied.

Brush Carefully

Perhaps one of the most important things you can do for fine hair has nothing to do with styling products, but rather with how you handle it while it’s wet. “Finer hair is usually less elastic, meaning it breaks more easily,” says Reyman, who adds that wet hair is vulnerable hair, so you’ll need to go easy — no tugging through tangles!

Using the right kind of brush is also key. “Stick with soft bristle brushes,” recommends Castillo, while Reyman adds that brushes with flexible bristles, like the one from Mason Pearson, are also a safe bet. Detangler brushes, like Wet Brush or Tangle Teezer, work too. In fact, Tangle Teezer makes a brush just for us — the Fine & Fragile Detangling Hair Brush.

But no matter what, steer clear of rough metal or stiff brushes, says Castillo. Using a gentle brush, like any of these options, is less painful when combing out tangles and they also preserve the quality of your hair long term.

Your Questions, Answered

What products should you use on fine hair?

“Fine hair — whether it be straight, wavy, curly, or coily — it all kind of needs the same thing,” says Reyman. That “same thing” is light-hold products, plus thickening and volumizing formulas. If you over-condition and over-hydrate strands, you’ll likely wind up with flat, dull hair.

Look for products with biotin, keratin, collagen, peptides, and amino acids, says Castillo, who adds that all of these ingredients will add lift and body.

What is the best way to care for fine hair?

The best way to achieve a full-bodied look is to blow dry it. “It swells the hair up and gives the hair volume,” says Reyman. If you have curly hair, be sure to also use a diffuser.

Celebrity hairstylist Mara Roszak recommends flipping your head upside down and pointing the hair dryer at the nape of your neck. “Hair has a memory when it is transitioning from wet to dry, so if you build while blow drying, it will help to maintain a lift in hair volume,” she says.

What products should you avoid using on fine hair?

Rather than dismissing entire categories of hair stylers, instead look at the packaging and ingredients. “Avoid using products that are meant for coarse, thick hair, as these can be over-moisturizing and can cause buildup if your hair is fine,” says Castillo.

While many believe oils or oil-based products are a definite no for fine hair, there are actually some that work well. Take RŌZ’s Santa Lucia Styling Oil, which contains a blend of light oils that temper frizz. If you love hair oil, find one that proudly states it’s formulated for fine hair, and then use only a few drops from the mid-shaft to ends.

Why Shop With Us

Kristin Limoges is a freelance editor for numerous publications, including Byrdie, Harper’s Bazaar, and WWD Shop, and has nearly a decade of beauty writing experience. She considers herself a fine hair expert — having tested innumerable routines on her long, fine hair for decades. To compile this list, she researched and tested fine hair products, and consulted with celebrity hairstylists — Castillo, Jon Reyman, and Mara Roszak — to lend their expertise and share their favorite products.

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