These hair type terms are often used interchangeably.
Woman brushing her hair in front of a mirror
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Everyone's hair care routine looks different, and ultimately depends on hair type. Those with delicate strands, for example, know that common practices, like styling and washing, need to be handled with extra care; a rough approach can lead lead to limp roots and broken ends. Ultimately, there are two main hair types that fall under the sensitive category: fine and thin. Most people, however, use the terms interchangeably. Ahead, hair experts explain how to identify and care for both.

Fine vs. Thin Hair

The biggest difference between fine and thin hair involves texture and density. "You can have a lot of fine hair and it would still look like it's lacking volume because the texture is fine and feeble," Paul Rus, a stylist partner at Irresistible Me Hair Extensions, says. "Density is always a differentiating factor—fine hair means the strand of hair is smaller in diameter, while thin hair means there's simply fewer strands of hair growing, no matter how thick." Simply put, fine hair comes down to the thickness (or lack thereof) of each hair strand, while thin hair is related to the density

If you suspect that you have the latter, consult your dermatologist for treatment, especially if you notice shedding or other unusual changes: "Some people go through what's called telogen effluvium, which happens when you lose hair due to stress, child birth, surgery, or serious illness. It can make thick, medium, or fine hair fall out. The body often needs three months to repair the damage from stress," shares Alan David, a New York City-based hair stylist.

How to Keep Both Fine and Thin Hair Healthy

Those with fine or thin hair should handle their strands with care and heed a volume-boosting regimen. "To help 'mask' both fine and thin hair, daily shampooing is of great help—it will make your hair bouncier and shinier and it will keep your scalp moisturized," Rus shares. "With thin hair, more of your scalp is visible, so stepping up the volume while styling will help a lot."

Rus recommends products specifically formulated for fine hair, like a styling mousse (this will boost volume). Fine hair, on the other hand, is more likely to break and split, which is why he suggests using conditioners and hair oils on your ends; doing so will thicken strands and help them feel and look stronger. "I've also noticed that people who have loads of fine hair get oily and greasy fast, due to their sebaceous glands," David adds, "which is why I recommend volume shampoos that really focus on cleaning the scalp."


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