Everything You Need to Know About How to Shampoo Fine Hair Correctly

woman getting her hair washed

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Fine hair can often mean oily hair. Because of this, you should avoid creamy shampoos. Gentle shampoos marked for volume and daily or frequent washing, however, are good bets. The product should be clear, not thick and creamy. Below are three of our all-time favorite shampoos for fine hair, that are suitable for all budgets. 

Kérastase Densifique Bain Densité Shampoo
Kérastase Densifique Bain Densité Shampoo $35

Kérastase offers a gentle shampoo that pumps up the volume of fine hair and works for all hair textures, from coily to straight. Hyaluronic acid floods your hair with moisture and provides a plumping-effect while intra-cylane improves the thickness of your strands. The ceramide found in this volumizing shampoo prevents your hair from breakage, which is always a win. 

Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Shampoo
Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Shampoo $3

To combat product build-up, wash once a week with a clarifying shampoo like this one from Garnier Fructis or rinse your hair with a mixture of one-third apple cider vinegar and two-thirds water. If you shampoo too often, you'll strip your hair of its natural oils. This budget-friendly shampoo is chockfull of vitamins B3 and B6, along with citrus protein and aloe vera extract keeps your hair clean and healthy.

Virtue Labs Full Conditioner
Virtue Labs Full Condtioner $40

Virtue Labs's light-weight conditioner has Alpha Keratin 60ku, the brand's proprietary human keratin protein, which helps repair damaged strands. The formula is gentle enough for color-treated hair and is free from pesky ingredients like parabens, sulfates, gluten, phthalates, and dyes. Follow up with this conditioner each time you wash your hair to replenish hydration and to help build volume.

Can You Shampoo Fine Hair Daily?

You've likely heard it's terrible to cleanse hair daily. However, most experts agree that it's safe to wash hair daily with a mild shampoo (if you have dry hair, you can go as long as a week without washing). If you can wait a day between shampoos, do it. Dry shampoo sprayed at the crown and roots and brushed through, should buy you a day.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo $25

Yes, You Need Conditioner

Fine hair is susceptible to knots and tangles, which is why it's essential to use conditioner. The trick is to use conditioner only on the bottom half of hair, from mid-lengths to ends, and skip the roots. Conditioner near your scalp can get dicey if your hair is susceptible to oiliness.

Make Sure Hair Is Completely Wet

It's easy to forget to wet your hair before applying shampoo thoroughly. But, every strand needs to be soaking wet to cleanse thoroughly.

The Right Way to Shampoo Your Hair

We all don't spend enough time scrubbing our scalps. Give yourself a little head massage each time you shampoo—it'll help clean your hair and stimulate blood flow in your scalp (which leads to faster hair growth).

Here's the proper way to shampoo your hair:

  • Wet your hair thoroughly.
  • Apply a quarter-size dollop of shampoo. It's the shampoo that causes build-up on hair, not conditioners, so a quarter-size will do you. Use less if you have short hair, more if you have very long or coarse hair.
  • Scrub your scalp for three minutes. It's important to spend time on the scalp, where most oils accumulate. And if you spend those three minutes now, you can skip the "repeat" part of your shampoo.
  • Move your hands down to your actual strands and massage the shampoo into your hair.
  • Rinse hair thoroughly. Make sure the scalp and the strands are shampoo-free.
  • Apply a dime-size amount of conditioner to the lower half of hair only. Avoid letting the conditioner touch your scalp.
  • It's a myth that you must use a wide-toothed comb to defeat tangles and hair breakage. While a wide-toothed comb is helpful, you can also brush through hair with a boar bristle brush. Just remember that a brush will work as long as you use it on hair before the conditioner is rinsed out.
  • Rinse out the conditioner.

For Oily Hair, You Can "Rinse and Repeat"

While people often skip this step to save time and shampoo, it turns out you should rinse and repeat, especially if you have fine hair. The first shampoo is meant to remove dirt, sebum, and build-up on the scalp. After you rinse, you should apply more shampoo and focus on the rest of your hair. If you prefer skipping the rinse and repeat the step, make sure you spend those three minutes scrubbing your scalp, making sure to move down to the strands.

Try Combining the Shampooing & Conditioning

Here's a trick that allows you to shampoo your hair and apply conditioner in one step.

  1. First, apply shampoo to your roots. Really massage it into your scalp using circular motions. Remember, you need to focus on scrubbing your scalp because it's your scalp that's oily, not your hair.
  2. Once you've shampooed and before you rinse, slather conditioner on the bottom two-thirds of hair, staying away from the scalp.
  3. Rinse hair of the shampoo and conditioner. The shampoo will work its way down the strand, rinsing out the conditioner. You'll be left with more volume and body at the roots and crown of your hair, while the rest of your hair will be silky and shiny and easy to comb through.

If you're concerned that the conditioner isn't on the hair long enough, you can wash your body or shave your legs before rinsing hair.

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