Chronicles of Team Thin Natural Hair
SO FINE: Not Every Natural is Coarse, Of Course
by Cassidy of Natural Selection
For the longest time, I thought that if you had thick hair, your hair was coarse and if you had thin hair then your hair was fine. Until about a year ago, I lived my entire life under the assumption that because my hair was extremely thick that it was coarse. However, after going natural I discovered that beneath my straightened hair, there were follicles waiting to release zillions of little slinkies from my scalp. One day my friend was inspecting my teeny weeny coils when she said “your coils are so dense, but your hairs themselves are so so fine.”
“Fine hair??On this head??Not a chance”, I said laughing it off.
“No really,” she insisted.And with that, she plucked a hair from her scalp held it up to one of my own.
To my surprise her hair was double the thickness mine! After a few more comparisons with other heads, I discovered that without a doubt, I fall into category of having fine hair.
I shared with you my discovery of fine hair because many of us assume that because we have kinky coils or a thick head of hair that our hair is COARSE, when in reality you could be like me and have a thick head of fine hair.
Let’s break it down to see where you fall.
First, there are really two spectrums of hair that we’re talking about here:
- the thickness of a strand of hair (fine-medium-coarse)
- the density of follicles on the head (thin-medium-thick)
If you’re like me, you could go around plucking hairs from other people’s heads and comparing them to your own, but there actually is an, erm, place below the waist where everyone grows coarse hair.That’s right- pubic hair is coarse hair!(You knew getting to know your hair was intimate, but betcha didn’t know HOW intimate).If your hair is as thick as this hair from your nether regions, it’s coarse and if its thinner, but only slightly so, it’s medium, and if its noticeably more faint, then you have fine hair.
Fine hair can be placed into two camps. First, there are those (like me) who have lots fine hair whose follicles are placed very close together (thick) and those whose fine hair follicles are placed further apart and the hair is thin.
Showing my densely packed fine strands
Here are a few pictures I took comparing my fine hair and a friend’s coarser hair (thanks La Shon!)
FINE LEFT—> COARSE RIGHT
A fine strand. A coarse strand. And a piece of black thread.
As you can see, fine hair is much thinner than coarse hair and as a result is much more fragile and special attention must be given to make sure you’re giving your fine strands the TLC it needs to thrive. This series, SO FINE, will discuss, explore, and explain all things that every fine natural must know to be at her FINEst.
Read More on Thin Natural Hair
Reader Question- I saw a picture of you on your blog recently with huge, fluffy hair! It looked a lot fuller than usual and I was wondering, how did you get so much volume?
CN responds- By now y’all know I’m a “big hair girl.” I want “block your view,” “disrespect your personal space” big hair. But sadly, I wasn’t blessed with those genes. I have very fine strands with moderate density, but I’ve learned techniques to create one heck of an optical illusion. To achieve the voluminous look in the picture above, I have to start with stretched hair. It can be stretched from a previous roller set, twist or braid-out or even a bun. But since I was in a crunch, I used the Tension Blow Dry Method.
How To Tension Blow Dry:
1. Blot excess moisture and allow hair to air dry for 15 minutes prior to starting. Blow drying wet hair can lead to loss of elasticity and in the long run, breakage.
2. Keep the heat setting as low as possible and hold the nozzle a few inches away from the hair. Remember to use a heat protectant!
3. Section hair as you normally would and work with one small section at a time. Grab a section of detangled, damp and moisturized hair and gently pull it straight with one hand while blasting the roots with warm air in a downward angle. It gently stretches the hair without the manipulation of a comb or brush.
The result for me, is a stretched out, frizzy looking wash & go. Next, I section my hair again, starting at the nape, and apply my styler of choice, flat twist the root and two-strand twist the length. I usually create 8-15 twists… the fewer twists, the larger and more voluminous the results. I let it air dry completely and then rake my fingers through the definition to give the illusion of more hair and there you have it. Unfortunately, this style only lasts for two days before I have to re-twist. But luckily, I can go two weeks without having to wash and start anew. It’s a great option for those that are short on time and want to maximize and show off their hard-earned length and volume.
The products I used for the above results:
- Davines Shelter Leave-in (for moisturizer and heat protectant)
- TIGI Totally Baked Merigue + Davines Beautifying Potion to style
Originally published Jan 26, 2011- edited for content, clarity, and grammar.