a Step by Step guide
flat ironed hairI’ve searched the web again and again for information on how to grow fine natural hair long. My reason for searching for this information was not necessarily to grow my own hair but to see if it’s something that requires assembling all in one place to share with my fellow fine hair naturals.

I’ve read a few great articles on the web about growing natural hair. I’ve even read some great information out there on growing hair in general. Most of what you will find however is really not written specifically with fine hair naturals in mind.

Some of what I will share can be applied to various hair types but I’m writing purely from the perspective of a natural with fine hair. I mean really fine hair. As in, so fine one strand of hair looks nearly invisible when singled out.

NOTE: This blog used to be Radiant Brown Beauty.  Fine Natural Hair and Faith has replaced it but you’ll notice that some of my photos are stamped with my old logo or name. I decided to keep these photos because they are great shots and why re-create them? 😉

wet fine natural hair

How to Grow Fine Natural Hair Long –
Step by Step

When it comes to having fine hair, handling is critical. That’s because, each hair is a lightweight. Below, you will find step by step how I grew (and am continuing to grow) my fine natural hair long. This includes length retention.

I. Washing Fine Natural Hairshampoo in fine natural hair

  • Pre-poo (pre-shampoo) hair before washing using coconut oil and/or combined with a moisturizing conditioner
  • Wash in sections (4-6 twists or loose braids depending on the length and density of hair)
  • Use a sulfate free shampoo or co-wash product (not a conditioner)
  • Stimulate the scalp when washing by using the pads of your fingers or a shampoo brush but do NOT brush through the hair.
  • Finger comb hair when damp but not wet

II. Conditioning Fine Natural Hairdeep conditioning under soft bonnet dryer

  • Deep condition EVERY SINGLE Wash day. No excuses
  • Use heat with your deep conditioner
  • Focus on your ends but don’t forget your crown which gets the brunt of exposure from the elements
  • Apply a little oil or honey to your deep conditioner to aid with slip if needed
  • Allow your deep conditioner to cool before rinsing it out
  • Rinse your deep conditioner out with cool water and use diluted aloe vera juice or apple cider vinegar to seal your hair’s cuticles after the wash/condition. (Note: Limit apple cider vinegar use to no more than twice a month)
  • Your deep conditioner shouldn’t contain protein unless it’s intended for protein/moisture balancing such as Aubrey Organics GPB.

III. Strengthening Fine Hairgoat's milk conditioner in hair

  • Protein treatments are essential for fine hair to remain strong.
  • Apply protein every other wash day but no less than monthly. It can be applied as part of your pre-poo or after washing/before deep conditioning.
  • Always balance out a protein application with a moisturizing deep conditioner (unless you are using a product like Aubrey Organics GPB (see above)
  • Henna is a great alternative to protein treatments. In addition to full strength henna treatments every other month, I have also used a henna strengthening spray recipe consisting of Henna, Shikakai and Amla powders, paired with tea tree oil, rosemary and/or peppermint essential oil.

IV. Moisturizing Fine Hairsuperb-naturallycurlyhair-week8

  • As important as protein, moisture should be applied before your hair dries out. If you have normal porosity hair, you can get away with moisturizing less often as long as you have adequately imparted moisture to your hair on wash day but as a rule of thumb, moisturize proactively. Daily is best.
  • Moisture should be layered on wash day using a combination of the LOC, LCO, LCOC or other layering method. L = Liquid. O = Oil. C = Cream and or Conditioner.
  • Never skip the leave in conditioner after washing your hair. It imparts add’l moisture.
  • If your hair dries out sooner than you would like, seal your moisture in with a light weight oil like Jojoba oil, Almond oil or Argan oil. Heavier oils will weigh fine hair down. For a heavier sealant, use a mango or shea butter that’s been whipped (see this article on using Shea Butter on Fine Hair)

V. Protecting Fine Hairmedlength-fishtail

  • Sleep on a satin pillow case and/or in a satin bonnet/scarf at night
  • Put a satin case over your car’s head rest
  • Wear hair up when commuting
  • Watch out for big earrings and necklaces which can snag the hair. It’s nearly impossible to untangle fine hair from it without resulting in breakage.
  • Get rid of your flat iron. Direct heat placement to fine hair can be detrimental as it’s highly susceptible to breakage naturally. If you must, limit heat styling to no more than twice a year. But again, preferably not at all.
  • Always use a heat protectant product when straightening hair with heat. Grapeseed oil is NOT a heat protectant.
  • Opt to always Air dry vs. blow dry
  • If heat styling, blow hair with warm heat before flat ironing. It will make the one pass method for straightening with a flat iron (direct heat contact) more effective.
  • When blow drying, stretch your hair with your hands and protect the ends.
  • Prevent breakage by nightly oiling your hair with a lightweight and easily absorbed oil like Argan oil. This will greatly reduce tangling and SSKs (single strand knots).
  • Seal the ends of your hair with a heavier oil like Thirsty Roots apricot castor oil that will keep them fused together. This will reduce the likelihood of split ends.
  • Take care when styling your hair (see next section).

VI. Styling Fine Natural Hairsmall twists on fine hair

  • Protective style 80-90% of the time
  • Limit protect styling duration to no more than 2 weeks. Fine natural hair does not like to be bound up for long periods of time. The result of long protective styles is webbing and tangling.
  • Utilize low manipulation hair styling aka easy styles like the wash and go or chunky twist out
  • Do not use brushes on your fine natural hair. It will fray the cuticle and lead to breakage.
  • Limit the use of large tooth combs but if you must use a comb, make sure it’s a large seamless comb.
  • Never use fine tooth combs on your hair. You can use the tail of a rat tail comb to part but that is all. Do not use a rat tail comb to comb your fine hair…Ever.
  • No added hair or extensions – Too much manipulation is required to install them. Just let your hair be. Style it in simple styles like buns, twist/braid outs that are created with medium to large twists/braids.

VII. Trimming Fine Natural Haircurls on fine natural hair

  • Trim individual hairs by feel. You can feel splits easier than you can see them. If you wear your hair in its naturally curly state, it’s not necessary for it to be even. In fact, it’s best that it’s not.
  • Get a professional trim at least once a year. You will require less trimming if you protect your hair from damage.

Each of these methods of caring for fine natural hair is an important part of the step by step process to growing fine natural hair long.

While the steps I have just shared with you makes up this comprehensive guide to growing fine natural hair long, here are some additional articles that you may find helpful.

27 Things You Can Do to Improve, Protect and Keep Your Hair On Your Head

Natural Hair Breakage: Stop Over Manipulating Your Hair!

Quick Tip to Stimulate Hair Growth

10 Non-Negotiable Practices of Naturals Who Retain Length

Tips for Maintaining Length on Fine Natural Hair – Part 1

Tips for Maintaining Length on Fine Natural Hair – Part 2

A Word on Silicones

Many naturals have a problem with using products containing silicones. Silicones have not affected my hair’s ability to grow or maintain length. In the past when I used hair products containing silicones, I periodically clarified my hair with a bentonite or rhassoul clay wash. These help to remove product build up. Additionally, an apple cider vinegar rinse will do the same. However, I am currently following the Curly Girl Method so no longer use silicones in my hair care regimen.

long natural hair

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4 thoughts on “Growing Fine Natural Hair Long

  1. Noelle B. Reply

    How do I find out weather I have fine hair or not? I have a thick head of curly hair that is manageable, but I don’t know what characteristic is specific to classifying hair as fine or otherwise.

  2. Foxychoconaps Reply

    I grew with most of the steps I don’t use tool on my hair just figures and I do I use Ayuverta oils for my scalp I use to suffer from a lot of hair fall out and all that stopped as soon as I started using amla oil. Other than these 2 things I agree with everything. I also find it bittersweet wearing PS they are beautiful but I find that I experience breakage once my hair starts growing out (new growth) mini twists and braids just aren’t pretty to me anymore. Any other styles you can think of that I can keep in for at least 2 weeks without touching ? Thanks

    • Michelle Post authorReply

      I don’t recommend mini twists on fine or thin hair. It takes a lot of manipulation to put them in. I used to do them but it definitely caused too much breakage. Medium sized twists are better and there’s plenty ways you can style them but for length retention, less is more. I also like to do buns which I will set at night but only keep those in for a few days before having to redo them.

      Amla can cause some ladies allergies but I have heard that it works well for preventing hair fall out. I use amla in my henna tea spray but have never used it alone on my scalp.

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