I started wearing my hair in its natural state in 2004 or ’05. Although I’ve never had a relaxer, I always wore it straight (blow dryer+ pressing comb or flat iron). It’s now 2008 and I’m just now experiencing healthy hair. I use to have to do search-n-destroy missions (seek out splits and cut them off) 2-3 times a month. My hair would split if you looked at it wrong. Here recently, I’m hard pressed to find a single split. My hair is finally thriving!!!

My strands are VERY fine and therefore susceptible to splits, breakage and tangling. It’s taken me almost three years to develop a routine that works for my hair. I am just now, for the first time since I was a little girl, maintaining length. So, I thought I’d list some of the things that have improved the condition (and length retention) of my fine strands

10. Find a regimen and stick to it- Although my products change often, my routine stays the same. I try not to do too much to my hair and that seems to aid in length retention. This step will take the longest, lol. Product junky-ism is a real disease, and I’m in recovery. Relapses, however, are always right around the corner 😉

9. Moisturize and Seal- Moisturize with a water-based product and seal with a heavier-oil laden one, or oil. Some fine haired ladies don’t do well with butters or heavy creams…I thought I was one of them, but my hair looooves rich, heavy butters. I’m really feeling un-refined shea butter. My hair is shiny, moisturized and happy 😀

8. Stretch the ends- Find a low-mani way to elongate the ends of the hair. My fine strands curl up on themselves, knot and then split. Wearing twist-outs, a curl-former set or curling the ends, when I want to wear my hair down, really keeps my ends stretched out and happy. For some reason, they seem to retain moisture better in this state.

7. Use the Denman sparingly- it’s very tempting to grab the denman to detangle…it makes the process much quicker, and makes the hair much smoother. However, my wet hair and any brush is bad news. I learned this the hard way. The best way to detangle fine strands is with your fingers (and/or a wide tooth comb) and a crap load of moisturizing, slippery conditioner. It takes longer, but you don’t lose as much hair.  Many people choose to use the Denman as the last step in the detangling process after finger detangling thoroughly.

6. Avoid product build-up at all cost- Do this by lo-pooing or using products that don’t contain cones or other ingredients that can build up over time. For me, build-up always leads to dry hair that tangles and breaks. I’m not a strict no-coner, but I try to only use amodimethicone, for reasons I’ll touch on in another post. A great way to shampoo is to use a color applicator bottle, filling it with a solution of 1:1 shampoo:water.  It not only helps to stretch your favorite shampoo further and efficiently target the scalp and roots, but it is far less concentrated and easier on fine strands.

5. Only co-wash a few times a week- my fine strands didn’t do well with all of the manipulation and over time I lost more hair than I should have. I did daily co-washing for a year or more and my hair never showed an inch of growth. Sad.

4. Avoid protein- my hair just can’t handle it…not even in small amounts. My hair gets hard, brittle and will snap off at the slightest tug.

3. Weekly Deep Treatments- this has been a tremendous help. I have one in right now!! I try to DT every time I wet my hair. Its hard, because I always feel pressed for time, but my hair thanks me later.

2. Henna– Need I say more?! My hair has never been thicker, softer or happier. It also helps with number 8 since the henna elongates my curl.

1. Gentle Handling- I know you’ve heard it before, but it can’t be said enough- treat your hair like old fine lace. Be patient when detangling and styling and please, please, please keep your hands out of your head as much as possible. I have serious HIF (hand in fro) disease, and I’m sure this adds to the few splits and knots I do get.

Ladies, chime in with other tips and advice for us fine haired ladies!

Disclaimer: These tips may not work for all fine haired curlies…it’s just a starting point…