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Perusing through the hair care isles of mega retailers like Target and Walmart can feel like an overwhelming process since there are a seemingly infinite number of fine hair shampoos to choose from. That’s why learning how to discern product labels is helpful when selecting a volumizing shampoo for fine hair.
According to hairstylist Timothy Aylward, “shopping for thickening products by ingredient can be a bit tricky” due to constantly evolving guidance from the scientific community. And to the average consumer, “these ingredients might as well be written in another language.” Instead, Aylward advised Shopping readers to look out for fine hair shampoos with labels that say clarifying, detoxifying and deep cleansing. “The most important thing about your shampoo is that it’s going to remove all of the natural oils and dead skin cells and give each strand a fighting chance,” he said.
According to Aylward, who works with everyone from Shanina Shaik to Anja Rubik, the biggest misconception about fine hair is that it is also thin hair, but “they’re two completely different things.” “The term ‘thin’ refers to the number of hairs per square inch, while ‘fine’ refers to the diameter of each individual hair. Think of it as the number of trees per acre versus the size of each tree,” he said.
Best volumizing shampoos for fine hair
Drugstore brands like L’Oreal, Dove and Tresemmé all make volumizing shampoos targeted toward those with fine hair. Higher end hair care brands like Virtue, Davines, Raincry, Oribe and Sachajuan also make fine hair shampoos that can help amplify the hair’s volume. There are also Black-owned hair care brands like Design Essentials and Briogeo that make volumizing shampoos with naturalistas in mind. You can find volumizing shampoo for fine hair at Nordstrom, Amazon, Dermstore and Sally Beauty, too.
To help simplify your search for volumizing shampoo for fine hair, we rounded up selections from the hair professionals, and included top rated options from Shopping reader favorite online stores.
Best overall fine hair shampoo: R+Co.
Hairstylist Bobby Eliot is a fan of the Dallas thickening shampoo and conditioner from R+Co because they are both made with biotin, a popular hair care ingredient known for helping to “improve the keratin infrastructure of hair” and “increase hair strength and vitality.” It also features a blend of hydrating vitamin B5 and coconut oil, the latter of which is helpful for strengthening and adding shine to the hair. Palmetto berry extract also adds body to the strands, creating a thicker effect. The brand notes this shampoo smells like a mix of warm cardamom, fresh pineapple and tangerine with earthy scents like lavender and bamboo.
Best luxury fine shampoo: R+Co.
Aylward prefers R+Co’s Bleu shampoo and called it and the Bleu conditioner his “new favorite combo for limp locks.” This shampoo is made with kelp extract to help boost volume and thickness, vegetable proteins to strengthen the strands and a proprietary blend of oils to help improve shine. He also appreciates the product’s “chic” packaging and noted that “you may be tempted to use [the bottle] as a flower vase once you’ve exhausted your supply of this worth-its-weight-in-gold product line.”
Aylward also highlighted the R+Co thickening spray as his “number one go-to for fine hair” because it adds a “confident, sexy touchability” to the strands. “My biggest problem when I use it is [that] models can’t stop touching their hair because it feels so good,” he said.
Best affordable fine hair shampoo: OGX
OGX’s shampoo is nearly 40 percent off if you order through Amazon, and it’s also popular among the site’s shoppers — it boasts a 4.5-star average rating from nearly 8,500 reviews. The sulfate-free fine hair shampoo is infused with a blend of nourishing biotin, collagen and bamboo extract. Plus, it smells like a mix of coconut, jasmine and lemon, according to the brand.
Best fine hair shampoo on Amazon: John Frieda
John Frieda’s volumizing shampoo received a 4.5-star average rating from more than 3,850 reviews on Amazon. It employs the brand’s Air-Silk technology to help intensify the volume and fullness of hair. The color-safe shampoo is formulated with moisturizing ingredients, including dimethicone and glycerin.
Best fine hair shampoo at Walmart: Love Beauty and Planet
As Walmart’s No. 1 bestselling volumizing shampoo for fine hair, Love Beauty and Planet claims this sulfate-free shampoo has a vegan formula and that its bottle is made from 100 percent recycled materials. This organic coconut water- and mimosa flower-infused shampoo earned a 4.3-star average from nearly 300 reviews at Walmart. Love Beauty and Planet says this fine hair shampoo is safe for those with color-treated hair to employ once a day.
Best fine hair shampoo at Sephora: OUAI
As Sephora’s No. 1 bestselling volumizing shampoo, this color-safe gel shampoo is targeted toward those with fine hair and is available in two sizes: 10 ounces and 32 ounces. OUAI was founded by celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin, and her fine shampoo boasts a combination of nourishing biotin, hydrolyzed keratin to minimize frizz and enhance shine and chia seed oil to help thicken the hair. It received a 4.1-star average rating from 245 reviews at Ulta.
Best fine hair shampoo at Ulta: Matrix
Matrix makes Ulta’s No. 1 bestselling volumizing shampoo, which features a paraben-free formula that adds shine to the strands, according to the brand. It received a 4.4-star average rating from nearly 1,700 reviews on Ulta. Volumebloom shampoo is made with hydrating ingredients like glycerin, soy protein and dimethicone and it is gentle enough to use on color-treated and natural hair, according to the brand.
How to maintain fine hair
Aylward said that those with fine hair should wash their strands about once a week. Otherwise, “you’ll find it leaves you looking like a ‘drowned harassed rat,’' he said. You’ll also need to condition your fine hair to help rebalance and hydrate your strands. Aylward recommended conditioners with a fluid-like consistency and smooth texture, such as the R+Co Bleu Ingenious Thickening Conditioner. Other lightweight conditioners specifically created for fine hair include the Living Proof Full Conditioner and Philip B Weightless Conditioning Water.
Aylward pointed out that the “biggest issue” those with fine hair deal with is that the strands feel “flat, scraggly and very reactive to natural scalp oils and humidity.” Before you employ a hair care routine, he noted that “the most important thing for someone with fine hair to have is the correct cut.” He cautioned against hair styles requiring razors and texturizing techniques, along with “temperamental hair stylists at all costs.” Instead, he said to “look for a hairdresser that’s skilled with shears” and to “make it clear you want crisp lines and a strong geometric shape.” He also recommended asking for a hairstylist who is trained in Vidal Sassoon techniques, which were created by the legendary hairstylist known for his “wash and wear” haircuts made popular in the 1960s. “It may sound silly but they’ll know what you’re talking about, and if they don’t, you’ve dodged a bullet,” Aylward said.