How to Protect Fine Hair From Heat Damage While Adding Volume

Just like every hair type, fine hair comes with its own share of challenges. One of the biggest struggles: blow-drying or ironing it without causing damage. You yearn for that voluminous style with bounce and movement, but not at the cost of fried ends and ragged strands.

Don’t worry, you no longer have to sacrifice your hair’s health for its beauty. We’ve got the top 10 tips to heat style fine hair like a pro, thanks to expert advice from Sadah Saltzman, a hair stylist at Salon AKS in New York City.

Table of Contents

    1. Choose the right cleansing products for your hair type.

    “Stick with volumizing shampoo and conditioner, ones for color care if you need them and a clarifying shampoo to be used every other week,” says Saltzman. The clarifying shampoo can help remove buildup, which can cause fine hair to appear limp and flat. And be careful where you use conditioner. Saltzman recommends sticking to the ends, so you don’t weigh down your hair.

    2. Shampoo every other day, not daily.

    While your cleansing schedule can depend on how oily your hair gets, Saltzman recommends skipping a day in between washes to avoid drying out strands. And if you can go a little longer, that’s even better!

    3. Always apply a heat-protectant product before drying.

    “Look for a lightweight heat-protectant, like a leave-in conditioner, and spritz lightly onto wet hair before blow-drying,” says Saltzman. Use sparingly as to not over-saturate strands. Saltzman suggests adding other styling products into your routine, including a volumizing mousse or gel on the roots for lift and a texture spray to create fullness after styling.

    4. When blow-drying, rough dry hair with fingers first, before finishing with a brush.

    Now that you’ve primed your hair with the right styling products, it’s time to bust out the blow dryer. First, “rough dry” your hair until it is about 80 percent dry, by just moving your fingers through hair and following with the blow dryer. You can either flip your head over to do this or keep your head upright, just make sure to concentrate on using air to lift and dry the roots away from the scalp. This will help to maximize volume. Next, divide hair into four large sections: two on top and one on each side. Take a large round brush and, starting with the front top section, loosely wrap hair around the brush and follow with the dryer, smoothing out strands while drying. Once you finish a section, flip it to the opposite direction while it cools—this will create more volume and set the hair, so when it’s back to the original side it’s nice and full. Repeat with the rest of the sections.

    5. Don’t hold your brush with a death grip.

     “Make sure when you hold the brush there is very little tension on the hair. The harder you pull your hair, the flatter it will be and the more damage you could cause,” explains Saltzman.

    6. Watch your settings on your hot tools.

    It may seem counterintuitive, but you don’t want to let your hot tools get too hot. “Stick with a medium heat and low speed setting on your blow dryer, if it’s adjustable. This setting allows more control when you are drying— it keeps the hair from blowing all over and lets you carefully aim the air specifically where it’s intended,” says Saltzman. For hair irons, she suggests keeping the heat at 300 degrees for fine hair (again, when it’s adjustable) and quickly run the tool over each section. It’s easy to damage fine hair with high heat and a lower setting can work just as well in this case.

    7. Use Velcro rollers to add lift without adding damage.

    Velcro rollers are an easy way to add volume without blasting your roots with heat. When your hair is almost dry, put sections of hair in rollers and quickly run the blow-dryer over them on a low speed and low heat setting. Make sure to let hair cool before taking out of rollers. Another trick Saltzman uses is to add a few rollers to dry hair before showering and secure in a shower cap. The steam from the shower will set the rollers; just let them cool once you get out. When you take out the rollers, you will have instant bounce.

    8. Make dry shampoo your new best friend.

    Dry shampoo is a great way to make hair look fuller in between washes. Spray onto roots about four inches away and let it absorb into hair before massaging it in. If your hair tends to be fine and oily, use a comb to help it absorb instead of your fingertips.

    9. Always spray hairspray onto your hands, not your head.

    If you are using hairspray to secure your style, spritz it onto your hands first and lightly smooth over your hair wherever it is needed. This will allow more control and won’t weigh down your hair if you accidentally spray too much.

    10. Extend your style while you sleep.

    Keep your hair from going limp by putting hair in a very loose bun at the top of your head and securing it with a cloth scrunchie. 

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