Caring for fine, overly dry hair can be frustrating. Dry hair lacks moisture, and can become brittle, porous, frizzy, dull and plagued by split ends. Often, dry hair has been damaged by chemical processing. With fine hair, individual hair shafts are thin in diameter. Problems with fine hair include limpness, inability to hold a hairstyle and lack of body or volume. Once your fine, dry hair is properly moisturized, conditioned and styled, its natural silkiness, shine and manageability can be restored.
Use an all-natural moisturizing shampoo made for dry hair. Avoid harsh or chemical-filled products, which can strip hair of natural oils. To thicken fine, dry hair, use a volumizing shampoo that contains natural ingredients such as crustacean shell extract, shea butter, wheat micro-proteins or honey. Shampoo dry, fine hair no more than twice a week.
Apply a moisturizing leave-in conditioner after shampooing, putting it sparingly on the roots but lavishly on the ends. The goal is to moisturize the driest parts of your hair while avoiding over-conditioning, which can weigh fine hair down. Use the conditioner even on days you do not shampoo; simply rinse your hair and apply.
Boil six cups of water, and then add 2 tablespoons each of loose chamomile and lemongrass teas. Simmer covered over low heat for 10 minutes to make a conditioning and thickening rinse. Cool, strain, put in a spray bottle, and use to refresh and treat your dry, fine hair on days that you don't shampoo. Chamomile gently cleanses hair and promotes shine, while lemongrass oils protect dry hair.
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Use a commercial hot oil treatment every week to nourish and hydrate dry hair. Alternately, you can use olive oil. Warm up the oil. Massage it into your hair and scalp, covering with a hot towel for half an hour, then shampooing it out.
Consult a professional stylist who has experience with fine, dry hair to get the best possible haircut. The best haircuts for fine hair are variations on the cap, bowl and crop cuts, adjusted to suit your features. Choose a style cut on the diagonal with hair shorter in front and angled in around your face; this pushes hair forward and gives the illusion of dimension and volume.
Visit your stylist every six weeks to avoid split ends and to keep your haircut looking sharp.
To moisturize dry hair, rub three drops of safflower oil into hair, starting at the ends.
Take a vacation from chemical coloring, perms, rough handling, and heat styling -- including blow dryers, curling irons and flat irons -- while your hair is dry and damaged.
Protect your hair from harsh weather and drying sun by wearing a hat in winter and sunscreen formulated for hair in the summer.
Don't use heavy gels when styling fine hair; these can weigh hair down, causing it to look limp and matted. Spray gels and mousses are a better bet.
Carol Sarao is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose articles have appeared in Atlantic City Weekly, The Women's Newspaper of Princeton, and New Millennium Writings. She has interviewed and reviewed many national recording acts, among them Everclear, Live, and Alice Cooper, and received her Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Warren Wilson College.