What's The Difference Between Fine And Thin Hair?

Have you ever gone to a hair salon and heard the stylist throw around terms like fine and thin hair? What do these terms mean, and how does it affect you?

Although typically interchanged, the difference between thin and fine hair is pretty straightforward. Knowing whether you have thin or fine hair is essential in helping you choose the right hair care products for your needs. Like skincare is personalized to your skin type, haircare is better when you target your specific haircare needs. Whether you have thin or fine hair, or both, knowing which hair type is yours will determine essential factors such as how often you need to shower or shampoo your hair.


Private Label Extensions adds that although they are different terms, it's possible to have both thin and fine hair. That is because these descriptors describe two aspects of the hair: density and thickness. Knowing which one pertains to you is the first step to getting your ideal hair.

What it means to have fine hair

When someone refers to having fine hair, they are speaking of the diameter of a hair strand. According to Phillip Kinglsey, having fine hair means having hair strands with a small diameter. Fine hair will naturally lack volume as the strand's diameter is so small. Phillip Kinglsey recommends those with fine hair to shampoo and condition often, as this hair type will trap more dirt and oils.


To find out whether you have fine hair or not, you want to examine a single hair strand. Compare this strand to a piece of thread. You will most likely have fine hair if it is smaller than the thread or a similar size.

Hair expert Shab Reslan tells InStyle that those with fine hair can be easily fooled into believing they have coarse hair because of its density. If someone with fine hair has a fuller set of hair, it will appear to have much more volume than those who do not have as much hair. Reslan adds that your fine hair cannot change, as your genetics determines it.

What it means to have thin hair

Thin hair, however, speaks about one's hair density. Having thin hair translates into having low-density hair or not having a large amount of hair.

Hairstylist Paul Rus tells Martha Stewart that those with thin hair usually find their scalp more visible than others. This is why people with thin hair should also reach for products that add volume to the hair to hide exposed parts of the scalp better. Rus explains that another term, thinning, describes when your hair constantly falls out, regardless of density or texture. If you suddenly lose hair, you will want to reach out to a medical professional to examine the situation further.


To style and treat thin hair, you want to focus on adding volume to create more movement in the hair that isn't there naturally. Like fine hair, Pure Wow suggests that those with thin hair find shampoos or haircare products that can target thin hair directly. You want to ensure these products are not weighing down your hair, as this will also decrease the smoothness and volume you seek.