Some of us are born with it, others develop it slowly over the course of our lifetime becoming more and more jaded by its incidence (no, we are not talking about a reluctant trust in capitalist economy) – we are talking about fine or thin hair. Whether you have always had fine hair, or have begun the slow decline into a life defined by a thinning mane due to genetics and age, we are all looking for the same thing –any way at all to style your hair and add volume and thickness while minimizing the visibility of our scalp.
There are countless serums and shampoos and pills and potions dedicated to revitalizing those underperforming follicles and thickening your hair strands. Without visiting a doctor to obtain a prescription or seeing a surgeon to go under the knife there are a few things we can do ourselves to thicken our hair (that, wonderfully, do not require a bank loan to achieve).
The first, and perhaps simplest, step we can take to not only thicken our strands but also encourage existing hair growth is to modify our diet. Hair, like our skin and nails, is made up of proteins and amino acid chains; if we consume foods that are rich in these essential components our bodies will utilize that fuel and our hair will be healthier as a result. Another diet modification (and one that I have personally taken advantage of and experienced surprisingly positive results with) we can make is adding a Biotin supplement to our daily routine. Biotin is a B-Vitamin that promotes the general healthy function of your hair, fingernails and skin – we recommend the 5,000 mcg variety (1,000 is not enough and 10,000 is just overkill). Both dietary changes will take 6 months to a year before you see results but all good things require a little patience.
Another huge change we can make to increase hair health is to lower our stress. Now this may sound like another simplistic, catch all suggestion that you have heard a million times before for every problem in your life – but this is science. Stress can stimulate oil production in our sebaceous glands on our scalp which in turn clog pores causing hair to become thin or fall out altogether. Undue anxiety and tension can also prevent our bodies from utilizing the nutrients we consume in an efficient manor (causing proteins, amino acids and certain B-Vitamins to run through us as waste products) preventing these nutrients from “feeding” our hair and scalp like we need. So just chill out bro!
As far as the shampoos and conditioners (List of the best conditioners) and serums are concerned, those are three separate topics that require three separate articles (don’t worry little bear cubs, we will feed you). Today we are going to focus specifically on styling products for that fine haired scalp or thinning shock of yours. With the products we reviewed, combined with dietary and lifestyle changes, you can put some volume into that flat cut that will have you beaming with confidence (and wearing a lot fewer hats) just in time for summer.
The main things we want in a styling product for the fine and thin hair types (besides the obvious hold, strength and malleability) are volumizing and nutrition. The volumizing is simple, a product that lifts hair at the follicle, separates individual hair strands and adds density to these strands is going provide a noticeably thicker head of hair. This means avoiding greasy products that clump hair together, reveal the scalp and turn hair glossy – you want a matte finish. Simultaneously, you want a product that is going to not only protect your fragile follicles from further damage but nourish and fortify them while you wear it, slowly strengthening and healing. The last thing we want is something that looks good, feels good, volumizes… and breaks your already weak hair like uncooked spaghetti because it is damaging and not curative.
Now, this is a lot to ask for in a styling product but we found a handful that we really love. The list we compiled is in no particular order however, because everybody is looking for something slightly different we wanted to include a product for every desire and dream (and potential style preference) of the thin haired man. So here they are…
Kerastase Densifique Baume Densite Homme
We love this product! It is basically a modeling paste/fiber specifically designed for fine, thin or thinning hair. As far as styling goes, it does just about everything you would want from a hair modeling paste – it provides a medium strength hold with some flexibility and lasts through the day. If you are looking for a super strong hold that makes your hair stand strait up and down, this is probably not the product you are looking for; however, if you are looking for an average hold that allows you to form a more natural style (great for shorter cuts) this will be perfect.
It has also been specially formulated for thin and fine hairs, so the paste is infused with vitamins (like Biotin) and amino acids to nourish your hair with each use. The material of the paste itself will provide a volumizing effect by thickening your strands and making your hair look fuller – perhaps not to the extent a hair clay might, but still a wonderful choice depending on what you are trying to accomplish.
Kerastase has a whole line of amazing products for fine and thinning hair which is another reason we included this styling paste on our list. When used in conjunction with the shampoos, conditioners and serums Kerastase created, the benefits of this modeling paste will be maximized.
Man Made Clay by 18.21
If you read our previous article on hair clays you already know all about their nourishing and thickening benefits and the cool, matte finish style they provide. You will also know how fantastic the Man Made Clay by 18.21 is – if not, here is a little refresher course… From a purely stylistic perspective, this product will provide a strong hold with just the right amount of pliability that will last you through the day. The hybrid mixture of beeswax and bentonite (clay) coats the individual hair strands and thickens those strands providing both a volumizing effect as well as physically thickening the hair (through the power of clay!).
Surprisingly the clay is also very therapeutic for the hair and follicle helping it to retain moisture and repair damage. This particular brand is made with all natural ingredients, is paraben free and smells like a man should invariably smell (sweet pipe tobacco, vanilla, wood and boozy-honey to sing a few notes – like a tobacconist who just got home from having a fire-side single-malt at the Country Club, delicious). Another hair clay we like is Baxter’s of California Clay Pomade, but the 18.21 is still our favorite (just trying to provide some option).
Nioxin 3D Styling Thickening Spray
Yes, this is a hair spray and yes, it is marketed as a unisex product – but you need to put on your big boy boots and get over it. Nioxin does one thing – it creates hair products for thin, fine and thinning hair – that is all it does. Every product it creates is specially formulated to either strengthen thin hair, regrow hair, make fine hair appear thicker or all three – and they do a great job with all of it.
The Thickening Spray is our favorite but Nioxin has about seven other styling products (not to mention their shampoos, conditioners and serums dedicated to your specific needs – thin, fine, thinning hair) that you might want to check out as well. This spray is specially formulated with Nioxin’s Pro Thick Technology which individually coats individual hair strands and creates a defined space between those strands providing an instantly thicker look throughout your hair. It is also fortified with nutrients that will strengthen your fine hair and not damage strands like many other sprays. This particular product is better for longer hair styles and provides a strong hold (although if you use too much it WILL become stiff and lose a lot of flexibility). Like we said, check out Nioxin’s whole line of products to use in conjunction with this styling spray if you want to totally revamp your thin/fine hair game and begin to thicken and regrow hair.
There are a lot of products out there marketed toward men like us with thin, fine or thinning hair and it is important to not get tricked by clever marketing into buying a product that will end up damaging your hair. One of the main things to avoid are lots of alcohols (ESPECIALLY denatured alcohol) in your hair products. These will dry out your hair making it brittle and prone to breakage; they will also dry out your scalp potentially causing damage to your follicles and loss of hair altogether. There are some ingredients, however, (like cetostearyl alcohol) called fatty alcohols that are generally fine for your hair and skin. These are included in many products as emulsifiers and are inert.
Another ingredient you want to be on the look-out for are parabens. A lot has been made of parabens (which are generally included in cosmetic and grooming products as preservatives and antibacterials) because they can cause skin and hair damage especially when applied and then exposed to sunlight. Definitely something you want to run away from.
Anything greasy that will cause hair to clump together or expose the scalp is not a product a fine haired man wants to use. Remember, this is the opposite of what we are trying to accomplish. Even though these products may be healthy for your hair they will make your hair look thinner than it actually is. We want separation and lift, volume and thickness – we want to hide that scalp from peeping out under those follicles not expose it!