A version of this story originally appeared on the Strategist US.
Fine hair is made of up strands that are smaller in diameter and less porous than those of other hair types, which means it can get greasy fast and show oil at the roots more readily — unless it’s frequently washed. And all that washing makes “a good shampoo an essential” if you’ve got fine hair, according to Fred Connors, the owner and creative director of FRED Salon. Marco Santini, the co-owner of ION Studio agrees, noting that a proper shampoo is actually all you need to keep fine hair looking its finest. “You want a good shampoo, and that’s it,” explains Santini, who recommends looking for shampoos that are nourishing enough to keep fine strands from drying out but not too moisturising that they’ll weigh them down. Not all fine hair is created equal, however — sometimes its dyed, or damaged, or even curly — so we turned to Connors, Santini, and eight other experts to find the best shampoos for all types. Below, their picks, which include shampoos for texturising and volumising fine hair as well as ones formulated for chemically treated hair and to help remove product buildup.
Best overall shampoo for fine hair
“One of my very favorite products for fine hair is Davines Volu Shampoo,” says Brooke Jordan, owner and master stylist at the Bird House. She likes it because “it uses turnip extract to gently lift the hair off the scalp” and give it more volume at the roots. She also says that, regardless of how often you wash, “dry shampoo really is a good friend, even on clean hair — it can give you more volume and texture.” Santini also loves the Volu Shampoo because it is free of parabens and sulphates, gentle enough to use every day, and detangles the hair so you don’t need to use conditioner (though if your hair is super-long, he suggests using a very small amount of conditioner on just the ends to get rid of knots; otherwise, he says, skip it altogether).
Davines is a generally praised brand when it comes to hair care, with Strategist beauty writer Rio Viera-Newton and contributor Leah Finnigan both praising its natural ingredients and taming abilities. These endorsements, coupled with those of Jordan and Santini, helped the Volu Shampoo earn the top spot on this list.
Best affordable shampoo for fine hair
If you don’t want to spend a ton on shampoo you’ll be using for frequent washes, Brit Kenna, celebrity hairstylist and owner of Kennaland Salon, suggests NatureLab Tokyo’s inexpensive, plant-based volumising shampoo. It “uses rice protein to build volume and soy protein to add thickness, and also has moisturising elements which don’t weigh down the hair.” Rio is also a fan of the brand and calls its Repair Shampoo (a cousin of this volumising one) a “near-perfect dupe” for her “fancy Sachajuan shampoo.”
Best texturising shampoo for fine hair
Jordan loves using Sachajuan Ocean Mist Volume Shampoo to add serious texture to fine hair. “The shampoo gives your hair structure and maintains strength without stripping it of its essential proteins,” she says. If you really want to amp up texture, she recommends using the shampoo, letting your hair dry, and then styling it with the Ocean Mist sea-salt spray, which, unlike many other sea-salt sprays on the market, uses sugars as well as salt to keep hair from drying out (and to give it a little extra grit).
Best volumising shampoo for fine hair
“Dallas Thickening Shampoo by R+Co not only works magic on fine hair; it has a heavenly scent as well,” says Connors. It’s formulated with biotin to increase hair strength, vitamin B5 to add lustre, and saw palmetto for extra body, making it “perfect for anyone with fine hair who wants bombshell volume when they blow-dry.” To maintain that volume on day-two (or
-three) hair, Connors suggests an old-school trick. “Pull hair into a ponytail or bun on the very top of your head and secure with a scrunchie — do not use an elastic, as it can bend hair and make it look weird when you let it down in the morning.” Jordan enthusiastically agrees: “In terms of how to maximise volume, sleeping with clean hair tied up on your head can give you lots of volume in the morning.”
Her other big fine-hair-care tip is to “make sure you get frequent haircuts.” Since it’s smaller in diameter, fine hair tends to be fragile and thus more breakable. “Think of it like a branch — a thick branch is harder to snap. Frequent haircuts also means removing dead weight and maintaining shape, which all can make your hair lighter-weight and more voluminous.”
Best shampoo for thinning fine hair
“As we age, our hair texture and thickness tends to change,” explains Connors, who names Keratase’s Bain Densite Bodifying Shampoo as his favourite pick for thinning hair. “It contains hyaluronic acid to plump hair up and ceramide to strengthen,” he explains.
Best shampoos for dry fine hair
Just because fine hair tends to get oily at the roots doesn’t mean it can’t also be dry at the tips. If you feel like you need to pump up the moisture, then take the advice of Connors, who likes the “luxurious” formula of Sisley Paris Revitalizing Volumizing Shampoo because it is “packed with vitamins and minerals” to nourish and protect your hair and scalp, including magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B5 and B6. It also contains camellia oil, which he says “makes your hair feel like silk without weighing it down.” And although his shampoo is the most expensive on our list, Connors assures us that a little goes a long way.
Chelsey Pickthorn, master stylist and founder of Pickthorn salon, suggests staying away from any volumising shampoos you may use in your daily routine, as they tend to contain ingredients that exacerbate the problem. To pump hydration back into your strands without weighing them down, she tells her clients to go for the Davines Nourishing Shampoo. Alyssa Sholl, master stylist at Hairroin Salon and Parlour H, agrees, and she recommends pairing it with the Davines Nourishing Conditioner, which she calls a “salon favourite.”
Best shampoo for growing out fine hair
If you’re looking to grow your fine hair to a Rapunzel-level length, Gregorio Ruggeri of Salon Ruggeri says that Act+Acre Cold Processed Hair Cleanse “helps nurture the growing process” — particularly when it comes to fine hair. The formula is rich in vitamins and antioxidants like rosemary, which stimulates circulation in the scalp and promotes healthy hair follicles, helping hair grow longer and stronger from the root. It also contains vetiver, lavender, and amaranth oil, all of which strengthen and moisturise the hair shaft, helping to keep it from breaking as it grows.
Best shampoo for removing product buildup from fine hair
Hairstylist Kate Beko of Ammon Carver Studio calls L’anza Healing Haircare’s Thickening Shampoo her go-to for “removing any excess oil or product buildup that may be weighing down” fine hair. The formula includes gugo-bark extract to gently cleanse hair, keratin to boost fullness, and won’t “leaving the hair feeling dry,” she says.
Best shampoo for washing fine hair every day
One of the trickiest parts of caring for fine hair is figuring out how often to wash it. “It’s easy to say that you shouldn’t wash your hair very often, but a lot of my clients with fine hair tell me it drives them crazy to wait too long,” says Jordan. If your hair is super-oily to the point where you must shampoo every day, then Ruggeri suggests New Wash, saying that, in his experience, “my clients who have fine hair and wash their hair every day have found the right type of body-boosting components from using New Wash.” New Wash is technically a shampoo-and-conditioner replacement, which means it’s more like an essential-oil-based hair cleanser that washes hair without any suds. It’s formulated without detergents or synthetic compounds, doesn’t dry hair out, and leaves it conditioned and tangle-free. And because it’s a two-in-one product, it’s no-fuss and ideal for someone looking for a streamlined, low-maintenance routine. For those who need more convincing, Strategist writer Molly Young also gave the shampoo a ringing endorsement, writing “the results are wild. My long hair air-dries perfectly, with no ‘squeaky’ texture. It is shiny and falls in loose waves, like it did when I was a kid. I don’t need to blow-dry it. My chronic flaky scalp (sorry!) is gone forever.”
Best shampoo for chemically treated fine hair
When clients with chemically treated fine hair ask Ruggeri for a shampoo that will help build and protect their hair without making it flat, he told us he always gives the same answer. “Hands down, I always respond with Virtue Recovery Shampoo and Conditioner,” he says, explaining that the shampoo works by filling in cracks in the cuticle caused by damage from heat, chemicals, and colour treatments. Plus the formula is lightweight enough to give fine strands lift and body without weighing them down, he adds.
Best dry shampoo for fine hair
Beauty director Anita Bhagwandas said she has tried countless dry shampoos for fine hair over the years but always comes back to this one. “It’s excellent for my dark hair because it’s easy to brush through and doesn’t turn it zombie grey. But it also works well for fine or thinning hair, as it doesn’t sit on the scalp and clog the hair follicles as much as some heavier dry shampoos can,” she explained. “I also like that one container lasts a really long time, too, so it feels much more cost efficient. Also, it’s almost 99 percent naturally derived, is mostly made from bioplastics that are plant-based, and it’s recyclable.” Bhagwandas said it’s very rare to find a dry shampoo that works with fine hair rather than against it, which is why she always comes back to this one.
Additional reporting by Dominique Pariso
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