Is your hair so fine, it could be compared to rabbit fur? Can see your scalp if your pony is too tight? Are you constantly searching for shampoos, conditioners, detanglers, and more that won’t weigh down your fine, delicate locks?
Welcome to the club, friend. I am the queen of thin, fine hair. People used to literally pet my hair in middle school, and when I take my hair out of a bun, it doesn’t move because it just doesn’t have enough weight to fall down on its own. I promise, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to fine hair. Over the years, I have tried every product for fine hair under the sun, and now I’m going to pass on 11 of my all-time favorite products (including styling tools!) that are all under $30.
Some people will tell you it’s worth it to spend big money for hair care products as long as they really work, but I say, why not find products that work for less? Having fine hair does mean you need to do a little more maintenance to keep it nice, but it doesn’t mean you have to spend a small fortune. Trust me, my hair is still basically fur, but I like how it looks and feels now more than I ever have before. Slowly but surely, I have found budget hair care products that really work for fine hair.
If you’re ready to take care of your hair and get the results you want without breaking the bank, just check out my top recommendations below!
*** Disclaimer: This is not an affiliate or sponsored post. I do not make any money by recommending these products, I just genuinely believe in them and think the world should know. ***
Malibu C Swimmers Wellness Shampoo, $16
This is an amazing shampoo if you’re looking to cut out sulfates but you have greasy hair and still need something that will give you a good clean. It’s sulfate-free and vegan, and it does an amazing job at removing oil buildup. I have very oily hair, and this is the only sulfate-free shampoo I really like. Also, you may have noticed it’s called “Swimmers Wellness” shampoo. It does a great job keeping your hair from turning green if you’re blonde and a frequent swimmer (like me).
Whole Blends Ginger Recovery Shampoo, $14/shampoo & conditioner
This is the shampoo I’m currently using, and I think it is actually working to repair my heavily damaged hair. Fine hair is already prone to split ends, dryness, and damage, but I definitely don’t help with my constant hair dye experiments. It contains honey, which has actually been scientifically proven to have healing properties (although I’m not sure if its healing properties apply to hair), and ginger, which supposedly strengthens the hair. I’ve definitely noticed a difference since I started using it. My hair is softer, it brushes through easier, and I think it’s actually growing faster too. But it does contain sulfates, which can damage fine hair. I personally don’t notice much of a difference, but if you’ve noticed that sulfates are bad for your hair, this isn’t the shampoo for you.
Herbal Essences Color Me Happy Shampoo, $14/2-pack
This is my go-to shampoo. I used it for years, and I only stopped because I tried cutting out sulfates, and this shampoo definitely has sulfates in it. That means it has an awesome lather, but it can potentially damage fine hair. It’s cheap, you can find it anywhere, and it smells amazing. It doesn’t leave my hair feeling quite as clean as the Malibu C or quite as soft as the Whole Blends, but you can’t beat Herbal Essences for scent and convenience.
Pantene Pro-V Sheer Volume Foam Conditioner, $7
This is the first conditioner I ever found that really worked with my fine hair. Conditioner is tricky when you have fine hair, because it can easily weigh down your ends and flatten the rest of your hair to your skull so that you have absolutely zero volume. Pantene Pro-V Sheer Volume Foam Conditioner is exactly the opposite of that. It is lightweight and non-oily, so much so that I could actually apply it all over my hair, including my roots, without my hair falling flat. Plus, check out that price tag!
Mane n’ Tail Conditioner, $10
This probably sounds like an insane recommendation, but honestly, I love Mane n’ Tail Conditioner. It was originally developed for conditioning horse manes and tails, which are the exact opposite of fine hair, but for some reason, this conditioner is incredibly effective for my fine hair. It doesn’t weigh it down as long as I apply it to my ends only, and it makes brushing through my hair so much less painful. Plus, it’s sulfate-free! It doesn’t have much of a scent, but that’s actually kind of nice, it means I can still smell the ginger from my Whole Blends shampoo even on days when I condition.
It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin, $15
Detangler is absolute essential for fine hair. Fine hair tangles easily and you will damage your hair and cause split ends if you brush it without using a detangler first. But you have to be careful- the wrong detangler can weigh down your hair and destroy any possible volume. It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin detangler has been an absolute life-saver for me. Brushing my hair used to take 20 minutes (no joke) and bring me to tears about half the time. Now, it takes 2 minutes tops, and there’s no crying involved. The keratin helps strengthen my delicate, fine hair, plus, my hair is still light and fluffy afterwards.
Aussie Hair Insurance Leave-In Conditioner, $10/3-pack
This is the detangler I used before I found It’s a 10. Usually I find that Aussie’s products are a little too heavy for my fine hair, and since this spray contains jojoba oil, I was definitely nervous (oil tends to weigh down fine hair). But to my surprise, it worked incredibly well. I love leave-in conditioners because they make my hair easier to brush, but they also make it shinier and less frizzy, which is a huge win for my frizz-tastic fine hair. Honestly, the only reason I switched from Aussie to It’s a 10 is because I wanted to see if the keratin would help my damaged hair. But to be honest, I think both of these detanglers are amazing.
Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly Mousse, $20/2-pack
This is the mousse I use right now, and even though it’s not perfect, I’m including it in this list because I think I may have just picked the wrong hold strength for my hair type. My hair has very loose waves, but in order to keep them throughout the day, it needs some help from my mousse. I bought the Tousle Me Gently mousse, which is a level 2 hold, but I think I need the level 3 Totally Twisted mousse, or maybe even the level 4 Body Envy Volumizing mousse. I am going to try one of these next, because I really love the scent of this mousse, and I like the texture it leaves in my hair. Some mousse leaves your hair feeling crunchy (especially with fine hair) but once this mousse dries, my hair is perfectly touchable, which is such a relief to me. There’s nothing worse than crunchy hair.
Remington Ultimate Smooth Dryer, $25
This is my current hairdryer, and I love it. One of the benefits of fine hair is that it dries relatively fast, but with the Remington Ultimate Smooth Dryer, my hair can seriously be completely dry in under 10 minutes. And that’s while using the medium heat setting (helpful hint: never use the highest heat setting on any styling tool for fine hair if you want to avoid damage). It’s fast, lightweight, plus it comes with a concentrator (extra straight) and diffuser (extra curl) to help you get your desired hair texture.
MBHair 3/8″ Small Barrel Curling Iron Wand, $22
This tiny, adorable curling iron completely saved my life when I got a pixie cut last November. Its small barrel (3/8″) meant I could get some nice curls for fancy occasions even with practically no hair, or I could even use it real quick on a normal day just to give my hair a little more volume. It heats up fast, has a ceramic barrel for great shine, and it even has a specific temperature range it recommends for fine hair and another one for “fragile” hair. I use it on the “Fine” setting and it works great.
Remington Wet2Waves Styler, $29
I used the Remington Wet2Waves Styler at least once a week when I was in college, and I’ve only stopped using it recently because my hair is still a bit too short. It’s honestly the best styling tool I have ever owned and I 100% swear by it as the best styling tool for fine hair. Although it says it is “Wet2Waves,” I usually dry my hair before waving it because I feel like it prevents unnecessary damage. Once it’s waved, it looks a little crazy, but if you just run your fingers through it, all the sudden you’ll have absolutely unbelievable volume that lasts all day, and sometimes even longer. Using this waver made me feel like I had actual volume in my hair for the first time ever.
So that’s it, those are my recommendations! Do you use any of these products or styling tools? Have you found them to work on fine hair? Got any other budget-friendly suggestions? Share in the comments below, I would love to hear from my fine-haired kin.