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Best Shampoo for Fine Hair

Updated December 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 21 Models Considered
  • 6 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 171 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best shampoos for fine hair

    Last Updated December 2018

    If you struggle to get ready in the morning because your tresses always seem to be flat and limp, chances are good that you have fine hair. Because it lacks body and volume, fine hair can be pretty difficult to style, particularly if you want to get out the door in a hurry. But you can usually banish bad hair days if you find the right shampoo for fine hair.

    But given the number of shampoos for fine hair on the market, it’s no wonder that shopping for one can get overwhelming in a hurry.

    If you’re looking for a good shampoo for fine hair, check out our shopping guide for tips to help you choose the best formula.

    Fine hair is fragile and prone to damage, so it’s important to shampoo with a gentle formula.

    Fine hair vs. thin hair

    The terms “fine” hair and “thin” hair are often used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same thing. Your hair might be fine and thin, but not all fine hair is thin, and vice versa. It’s possible to have fine, thick hair or thin, coarse hair.

    • Fine hair: If your hair is fine, the thickness or diameter of each strand is very small. Fine hair is usually the result of genetics.

    • Thin hair: This describes the density of the hair follicles, or the number of strands on your head. Genetics might play a part in having thin hair, but you can also have thin hair due to damage, breakage, health issues, and other forms of hair loss.
       

    How to tell if you have fine hair

    You can usually tell if you have fine hair because your locks lack volume and body, leaving it looking flat. It often gets greasy more easily, too.

    If you’re not sure whether your hair is fine, a strand test is the easiest way to tell. Hold a single strand of your hair between your fingers. If you can barely feel the hair, it’s likely fine.

    Still not sure? Take a single strand of hair from your head and place it on a piece of paper next to a thread in a contrasting color. If your hair strand is thinner than the thread, your hair is likely fine.

    Professional option for home use

    If you’re looking for a salon-quality shampoo for your fine hair, the Olaplex Bond Multiplier No. 1 stands out. Designed for color-treated or damaged fine hair, it rebuilds broken bonds in the hair to repair it and prevent future damage. We love that it comes with a satisfaction guarantee to back up the hefty price tag.

    Fine hair shampoo features to consider

    Formula

    When it comes to the best shampoo for fine hair, it helps to choose a volumizing or thickening shampoo. These shampoos, which are clearly labeled as such on the bottle, are designed to open your hair’s cuticle so the individual strands appear thicker. A volumizing shampoo is usually lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about it weighing down your hair and making it appear flat.

    Fine hair is often fairly fragile, which makes it prone to breakage and even falling out. A strengthening shampoo formula can help repair the individual strands to restore their strength, so hair becomes healthier and appears thicker.

    Ingredients

    Even if a shampoo doesn’t advertise itself as volumizing or thickening, it might be a good fit for fine hair depending on the ingredients. The following are excellent shampoo ingredients for fine hair:

    • Polymers: These large molecules bond to the surface of your hair to make it look and feel thicker. Some common polymers to look for include polyquaternium 7, polyquaternium 10, and polyquaternium 11.

    • Hydrolyzed wheat protein: This can help strengthen hair strands so they aren’t as prone to breakage or other damage. It also forms a film on your hair that helps it look thicker.

    • PG-propyl silanetriol: This vegetable-based protein also helps strengthen and fortify hair to prevent breakage. Like hydrolyzed wheat protein, it forms a film on strands to bulk up the look of fine hair.
       

    When you’re checking the ingredient list, it’s also important to keep an eye out for ingredients to avoid, such as the following:

    • Silicones: Shampoos for fine hair should be free of any type of silicone because it can weigh the hair down. You can usually spot a silicone by the “-cone” at the end of the name.

    • Sulfates: If your fine hair is also color-treated or damaged, avoid shampoos that contain sulfates. While sulfates help shampoo create suds, they can also be quite drying, which can cause hair breakage, frizz, and other damage.

    UV protection

    We all know how much damage the sun’s UV rays can do to skin, but they can also wreak havoc on your hair. UV rays can dry out your locks and weaken the protein bonds, leaving your hair more prone to frizz, splitting, and breakage. To help your fine hair look healthier and fuller, opt for a shampoo that offers UVA and UVB protection, so your hair is always protected when you step outside.

    Scent

    For many people, a shampoo’s scent is almost as important as its performance. Shampoos for fine hair are available in a wide array of scents, including crisp, clean fragrances, warm tropical scents, and fresh fruity options. Choose a shampoo with a scent that you like best.

    If you have allergies or particularly sensitive skin, you might be better off choosing a fine hair shampoo that’s free of any chemical fragrances that could trigger a reaction.

    Packaging

    Like any shampoo, products for fine hair typically come in either a squeeze bottle or a pump bottle. Pump dispensers are often easier to use and enable you to better control how much shampoo you use. However, it can be hard to get all the product out of a pump dispenser bottle.

    EXPERT TIP

    Apply fine hair shampoo right at the roots and massage it into your scalp. Massage some of the suds down the length of your hair to clean it as well, but don’t apply the shampoo directly to the ends of your hair.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Avoid using hot water to rinse out your shampoo. The hot water can strip moisture from your hair, making your fine locks more prone to damage. Opt for lukewarm or cool water instead.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Even after using a shampoo for fine hair, you might want to follow up with a dry shampoo once your hair is dry. Dry shampoo can help add extra body at the roots to make your hair look fuller and thicker.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Fine hair shampoo prices

    Shampoos for fine hair vary in price based mainly on the quality of the ingredients and the size of the container. In general, you can expect to pay between $7 and $180.

    Inexpensive: Shampoos for fine hair that contain lower-quality ingredients and sulfates usually range from $7 to $27.

    Mid-range: Shampoos for fine hair that feature sulfate-free formulas with average-quality ingredients usually cost between $27 and $60.

    Expensive: Shampoos for fine hair that feature sulfate-free, silicone-free formulas with high-quality ingredients typically cost from $60 to $180.

    Convenient, easy-to-use shampoo

    Even with fine hair, you might not want to shampoo every day. Living Proof’s dry shampoo is ideal for those mornings when you just don’t have time to wash, dry, and style your hair. It absorbs excess oil at the roots and provides extra body for clean, voluminous hair. And the time-release fragrance keeps your hair smelling great all day.

    Tips

    It’s okay to wash fine hair more frequently. Fine hair tends to get greasier than coarse hair. Some people with fine hair find that shampooing daily provides the best results.

    Use a quarter-size amount of shampoo if you have shoulder-length hair. For longer hair, use twice as much. For shorter hair, a dime-size amount is usually sufficient.

    Concentrate the shampoo at the scalp and roots of your hair. Applying too much shampoo to the strands can leave you with flat, limp locks.

    A two-in-one shampoo for fine hair enables you to wash and condition your hair in a single step.

    FAQ

    Q. How often should I shampoo my fine hair?

    A. Many experts recommend shampooing hair every other day or just a few times a week to prevent hair from drying out. However, if you have fine hair, your locks more easily become saturated with natural oils from the scalp. That’s why you might need to shampoo your hair daily. If you prefer the way your hair looks when you shampoo every day, opt for a sulfate-free formula to minimize dryness and damage.

    Q. How long does it take to see results from using a shampoo for fine hair?

    A. Shampoo for fine hair is typically designed to provide instant results because the formula instantly coats your strands to make them appear thicker and fuller. As soon as you rinse out the shampoo and dry your hair, it should look more voluminous.

    Q. Should I use a conditioner after a fine hair shampoo?

    A. Fine hair typically doesn’t require as much moisture as coarse hair, but it still helps to follow your shampoo with a conditioner to hydrate and smooth the hair. However, be sure to choose a conditioning formula that’s meant for fine hair and only apply it to the ends of your hair, not near the roots. That will keep your hair from getting weighed down and looking flat. If you find that conditioner weighs down your fine hair too much, a leave-in conditioning spray is a good alternative to rinse-out formulas.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Enid
      Enid
      Editor
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer
    • Stacey
      Stacey
      Writer

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