fine natural hair
Hair Styling

Styling Products I Stay Away From as a Fine Haired Natural

styling products and fine natural hair

With fine hair, you have to be careful what styling products you use because many products weigh our hair down.

What styling product works for one person’s hair may not work for yours…especially if it’s fine.

The best thing you can do is engage in a bit of trial and error when it comes to styling products. That’s because you can have fine hair but if you have lots of density (many strands of hair on your head), your hair can likely tolerate products that are a bit heavier.

I can only offer up what I’ve found works well for my fine natural hair as well as styling products that I avoid. If you find that your hairstyles could look much better and have more movement perhaps try avoiding some of the hair stylers I avoid as outlined below.

Butter Based Stylers

Most butter based stylers, (including shea butter and mango butter) are too heavy for my fine hair. That is, unless they are whipped and even then, in small amounts.

Related Post: How to Use Shea Butter on Fine hair

Other styling products that are rich in butters also tend to weigh fine hair down. Cream based stylers are a bit lighter on the strands and I can often get away with using them so long as it’s in small amounts. The absolute ONLY exception to this is Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, which is rich in Shea Butter.

I don’t know if it’s the whipping of the Shea Butter in the product that makes the difference but I suspect it is (read that related post above if you haven’t already).

The Curl Enhancing Smoothie also contains a number of oils but the end product is a pretty smoothing, moisturizing creamy styler. It’s A-OK for my hair.

shea moisture curl enhancing smoothie

Level 10 Gels

Gel will always be a staple in my natural hair regimen. My wash and go’s don’t stand a chance of lasting past day two without a gel. Yes, I may be able to achieve bigger hair but I tend to prefer definition over how large my hair can swell.

When my hair loses definition, it also loses the ability to be “tamed.” When it starts to expand due to lack of styling products controlling it, it also tends to shrink excessively. The result is tangling and I’m not about that life. (who is??)

So, the highest level of hold I will go with on for example a gel like EcoStyler, is a level 8. I’ve since stopped using EcoStyler gel since it’s been found to cause hair loss.

I’m typically using all natural products but gels are the exception. Eventually, I’ll make flaxseed gel on my own but for now, I’m fluctuating between using four gels for styling my fine natural hair.

Preferred Hair Gels:

gel styling products for fine natural hair

  • CurlPrep Curl Crush Around the Way Gel – a very lightweight gel. I have slathered globs of this onto my hair and it doesn’t weigh it down. I’ve found it to also pair well with all of my leave in conditioners.
  • Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils Don’t Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel – Definitely not like all pure homemade flax seed gel (I actually purchased some once) but it has great hold without weighing the hair down. I found it pairs REALLY well with Shea Moisture’s Curly Enhancing Smoothie
  • Camille Rose Naturals CurlMaker – Admittedly, I was not very fond of this gel when I first started using it but then I discovered it really depends on what leave in conditioner is paired with it. When used with a very light weight leave in, it works quite well on my fine natural hair. I also really like this gel to create smooth, frizz free twists.
  • Mielle Organics Honey & Ginger Styling Gel – This gel is very very lightweight. Actually, I don’t find it to have enough hold for me. However, it’s a good back up gel to have for smoothing updo protective hairstyles.

Note: Typically, to keep curls light and flowing jelly based stylers work better over heavy gels on fine hair.

Super Creamy Leave-in Conditioners

There’s very few leave in conditioners I can say I love.

Since you’re essentially “leaving them in” they have to be just right.

For my fine hair, it seems leave ins that aren’t excessively creamy work best. The exception is Camille Rose Naturals coconut water leave in. It’s partly creamy but very water based and absorbs quite well into my strands.

Preferred Leave in Conditioners:

  • Natty Naturals Bohemian Collection Lemongrass Leave in Conditioner – This is by far my FAVORITE leave in conditioner of all time! It’s surprising because the featured ingredient is a butter….Cupuacu ButterNow, I’ve never used actual Cupuacu Butter so I don’t know how heavy it is but this is truly a very light leave in conditioner. And, while this is on the more expensive side (you do get a lot though), it’s AH-MAZ-ING! Tons of slip, loads of moisture, makes detangling a breeze, smells phenomenal AND it’s super light. What more could a girl ask for?OH wait, it also comes in a dark amber glass bottle with a pump on it! Aesthetically pleasing and protective of those wonderal ALL natural ingredients. This leave in is also available fragrance free or with other essential oils. It comes in a 16 and a 32 ounce size. You’re not ever going to want to run out! Check it out here.
  • Camille Rose Naturals Coconut Water Leave in – Water based? Yes! The coconut water is SOOOOO different from coconut oil. It’s not drying to the hair at all. It’s very very moisturizing.
  • Kinky Curly Knot Today  – This is rich in organic stuff and slippery elm which imparts great moisture and tons of slip.

Pay attention to your stylers and leave in conditioners. Each of these stylers should be scrutinized before being used to style fine natural hair. Often times the ingredients will tell on themselves and at other times, you need to put them through periods of trial and error.

Once you discover what works best in your fine hair, you’ll be well on your way to effortless styling. I hope sharing the styling products I avoid using in my fine natural hair helps.

fine natural hair


Michelle Smith
Michelle is a Christian special needs mom residing in the NYC area who shares useful tips to grow and maintain fine natural hair. She's a published author and Creator of Fine Natural Hair and Faith, inspiring others with faith for living along side knowledge on how to care for their "crown."

8 Comment

  1. I am 5 mos in it hard for me to wear a style I got crown breakage and my hair is so soft. I want to wear ponytail but I am afraid my crown will break more I tired a rod set it turned out a message and I am a hairstylist for 18 yrs. Any ideas

    1. Baby that crown with more product especially conditioner. You can do ponytails but I’d use nothing more than sating scrunchies and keep the hair very moisturized. I try to always keep my hair protein and moisture balanced and I concentrate a lot on the crown with moisture. It seems to be working because now my crown is growing in

  2. Hi Michelle. Thank you for reminding me that Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie is what works best on my hair. I strayed away to experiment. I’m going to try a few of the other products you recommend.

    1. Hi MiMi – girl if it aint broke don’t fix it! 🙂

      I keep going back to my old staples but its always good to try new products. I have a new leave in conditioner I love!!! Working on the video now

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