InBeauty & Fashion, Personal, Self-care

How to Grow Out and Thicken Fine Hair that Just Won’t Grow

This post has been sponsored by PRIMP Network, but as always, all opinions are my own! Thanks for supporting the brands that keep The Determined Dreamer up and running!

Fun fact (that’s really not fun at all): For the first 23 years of my life, my hair would not (and I mean WOULD NOT) grow past my shoulders.

I was born with such fine, fragile hair that has always started breaking off whenever it gets to around shoulder length. When I say it’s fine, I mean really fine. Some people claim to have thin, fine hair… but mine puts most of those “fine” haired claimers to shame. Mine is “has to wrap the ponytail holder around hair 500 times” type of fine.

I attribute my fine hair partly to my genetics, but a lot of the problem also stems from my own mistreatment of my hair. Like most of you can probably relate to, I was a straightening hair maniac as a teen and this bad habit followed me into college. My mom, dad, one of my grandpas, and everyone else in my life who had a bit of sense would constantly tell me to stop using so much heat on my hair if I ever wanted it to thicken or grow out. To these suggestions, I’d shoot them teenage hormone filled glares and tell them dramatically that I’d “rather die than stop straightening it.”

(Pic below from Freshman year of college: I’m the one in the pink. This just shows that I even straightened it when I wore it in a ponytail! Seriously, what was I thinking!?)

It wasn’t until recently that I knocked some sense into myself and realized that it was more important to me to grow out/thicken my hair than to have every little strand perfectly straight (or curled) every day. Like I said, I’d been trying to grow out my hair for years, but I wasn’t using the correct methods or making the correct sacrifices. I was trying out product after product without realizing that there’s no “magic” product that will save heat and dye saturated hair that isn’t being taken care of properly.

The past year or so, I’ve started implementing the tips + tricks I’ll be sharing with you… and I’ve seen HUGE results. For the first time in my entire life, my hair has grown past my shoulders (woop, woop!) and it’s healthier/thicker than it’s ever been before! If you have fine/thin hair that won’t grow out, I highly recommend implementing the strategies below if you actually want to see a difference.

1. Use heat on your hair very sparingly.

I’m being 100% honest when I say I’ve only used heat on my hair a handful of times the past couple years. A couple of times for when I was lightening my hair with Sun-In and a couple of times when I curled it for pictures and such. And that’s it.

Using lots of heat on your hair causes it to be brittle, dry, and more prone to breakage. This is the last thing you want if you already have thin, fine hair. Since I’ve almost completely stopped using heat on my hair, it honestly feels about two times as thick as it did before. I actually had to go buy thicker ponytail holders because those little kid ones I was using couldn’t hold my hair anymore without snapping. Using less heat is the #1 thing you can do to help your hair grow and thicken.

2. Use a more gentle brush and brush gently.

We’ve all been guilty of brushing our hair a little too vigorously when we’re in a hurry. In fact, I’d say I used to brush my hair vigorously almost every day because I didn’t want to spend that much time on my after-shower routine.

Unfortunately, this is one of the main causes of hair loss (and therefore, lack of thickness). If you want your hair to thicken up… consider NOT RIPPING IT OUT EVERY TIME YOU BRUSH IT. Brush gently with a flexible, wide-toothed brush, even if it takes a minute or two longer. I also recommend using a detangler or my favorite product that simultaneously helps strengthen and seal the split ends of your hair while detangling, Not Your Mothers Way to Grow Leave-In Conditioner.

3. If you’re going to dye your hair, use less damaging products, like Sun-In Hair Lightener.

We all know that there isn’t’ a hair dye product out there that’s *completely* healthy for your hair. But there ARE products that are far less damaging. I usually dye my hair a shade or two lighter or do highlights for the warmer months, which was just another damaging factor that made it impossible for my thin hair to grow.

This year, I decided to use Sun-In Hair Lightener instead of bleach because it’s alcohol-free, conditions while it lightens, is less damaging overall, and it’s much less of a hassle than box dyes (or paying hundreds of dollars at the salon). Fortunately, it also works like a charm. I had light brown hair when I started (that I had mistakingly dyed brown recently, hence why I have split ends), which I was a little worried about because I’d heard of Sun-In turning brunette hair reddish tones.

Using Sun In Properly

I have to admit, it did cause my hair to have a slightly orange tint, which is why I picked up a purple shampoo that quickly took away the yellow/gold/red tones while it conditioned my hair. I’m not entirely sure if the conditioner was the thing that helped, or if the brassy tones just washed out on their own, but I’d suggest researching beforehand and considering getting a purple conditioning shampoo if you use Sun-In on darker hair, just in case! If you have blonde or really light brown hair, this shouldn’t be a problem for you at all, though. Here are before and after pics!

Amazing, right!?

I dipped a brush (shown below) that I bought as Sally Beauty into a bowl that I filled with Sun-In because I was going for a balayage effect, but it didn’t work out quite like I wanted, simply because I was watching a Youtube tutorial that wasn’t the best. I’m definitely going to attempt balayage again with Sun-In though, and just use less of it at the top of my head.

You can also just spray it all over your hair to get an overall blonde effect (and to bring out your natural highlights) or pull separate pieces out and spray them if you want a more natural highlighted look. Sun-In is heat activated, so you can use your hair dryer to seal in the color. It’s as simple as that!

4. Spend a little more on better products.

There’s no “magic” product that’ll solve the problem without you doing your part to cool it on the heat products and hair dye. BUT using better products will help. Look for products that are free of sulfates and other harsh chemicals that will strip away the natural oils in your hair that help your hair grow.

As you can tell from the picture at the very top, I still have split ends because I did recently dye my hair more brunette before lightening it, but using Suzanne Somers hair products, as well as Marc Anthony Grow Long products (which you can find for cheaper at Ulta, than on Amazon), have really been helping me mend my split ends, strengthen my hair so it’s less prone to breakage and hair loss, and make my hair softer, smoother, and shinier. And I really have seen my hair grow like never before since I started using these products!

I highly recommend them, but make sure you find a product that works best for YOU, even if it costs a bit more than you’re used to paying! This is one thing it’s worth spending a bit more on.

5. Get regular blunt trims.

A “blunt” haircut is when your hair is cut straight across with scissors, instead of having layers put in. Blunt haircuts are better than layered haircuts for people with fine hair because they give the appearance of thicker hair. And because, obviously, they don’t thin out already thin hair with layers.
One of my favorite YouTubers has an excellent tutorial on how you can give yourself a blunt haircut. This is great to know so that you can give yourself one every few weeks without having to pay for a hair appointment. The more regular (every 8 weeks or so), the better for your hair.

6. Try out hairstyles that will make your hair look thicker.

One of the main things I failed to do for the longest time was try out new hairstyles. In fact, I never really ventured outside of my comfort zone of stick straight down hair or a slicked down ponytail or bun. It wasn’t until recently that I decided to venture out of my comfort zone… and THANK GOODNESS I DID. I’m loving the look of my hair more than I ever have. The styles I’ve been trying make my hair look more full, healthy, and overall more stylish.

The YouTuber I showed above also does tutorials on hairstyles for fine/thin haired people that have changed my life! She has quite a few of these videos, but I’ll link one of my favorites below.

Moral of the Story

If you have fine/thin hair that won’t grow and looks limp and lifeless, there are ways to thicken and grow your hair out. Even if you think all hope is lost. All hope is not lost, my friend! Just take it from me, the girl who was sad about her thin hair for the longest time and finally realized just HOW much control I have over the length and thickness of my hair. All you’ve got to do is be willing to make some sacrifices, stick to some healthy routines, and be patient.

Let me know in the comments below if you have thick or fine hair! And let me know what your go-to tips and tricks are for growing it out/thickening it up. Has anything worked wonderfully well for you like these tips + tricks have for me?

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10 Comments

  • Summer

    I need to try this shampoo and conditioner – I feel it takes my hair forever to grow even with getting regular trims!

    May 8, 2018 at 5:08 PM Reply
    • thedetermineddreamer

      Same here! You’ll love these, though!

      May 10, 2018 at 2:18 AM Reply
  • Keating

    Girl, you had me at the first sentence hahaha my hair too grows to a certain length and then just STOPS. Every. Single. Time. It drives me nuts. I think I’ve only grown past that point twice (once being now!). But I definitely need to check out this shampoo and conditioner. I don’t remember what brand my current ones are but they’ve been so awesome at thickening and strengthening my hair. I’m loving the system a lot!

    May 8, 2018 at 8:43 PM Reply
    • thedetermineddreamer

      Yes, my hair did the exact same thing. So frustrating! That’s awesome that you got it to grow out this time. These products will definitely help it grow past that impossible-to-grow-past length. What products do you use? I wanna know!

      May 10, 2018 at 2:17 AM Reply
  • Taylor Mobley

    I have the same type of hair, girl! These products are fabulous.

    May 9, 2018 at 3:40 AM Reply
    • thedetermineddreamer

      Whatever you do to keep it looking thick, keep doing… cause I can’t even tell you have thin hair. Haha! And thanks, I’m glad you like these products too!

      May 10, 2018 at 2:15 AM Reply
  • Layan

    thank you so much for sharing this, I always had really thick, wavy hair but as ive gotten older, its become much more thin and lifeless. I’ve been looking for products to put a little more life back into it!

    May 9, 2018 at 10:13 AM Reply
    • thedetermineddreamer

      I’ve heard that can happen! I’m sorry! I absolutely LOVE these products and think they’ll help!

      May 10, 2018 at 2:14 AM Reply
  • Kellie

    I’ve bleached my hair a couple times in the past two years and although I love the look of it my hair has been hating it lately but I also was being so stingy with my money and not wanting to buy the more pricey products that would help my hair and that made everything worse. I started using the TRESemmé moisture shampoo and conditioner and the Garnier style full & plush mega full thickening lotion and it seems to be working! I also spray so much heat protecting spray on my hair when I do use heat. I really need to give the products you talked about a go because they seem amazing. Plus your hair is looking so cute!

    May 10, 2018 at 5:49 PM Reply
  • Denise H

    These are such great tips, your hair looks fabulous ❤️

    May 12, 2018 at 2:50 PM Reply
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