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Hairstyling/fine, limp hair


Hi Dana,

I have very fine, limp hair that is naturally curly in summer humidity, but goes limp in winter. I'm currently spending a small fortune on product trying to get some volume, body and/or texture into my hair. It also is quite dry. I have it colored with Redken color gels, and it feels great for about a week after color; then I'm back to lifeless. Oddly enough, it still will frizz, even with low humidity.

My current cut is a short shag with layers. I am using Redken's Curvaceous Full Swirl and Scruples heat protectant for a blow dry, medium blow on cool setting. I follow this with lots of hairspray trying to at least keep some shape.

I use a cheap curling brush in an effort to get some volume without too much curl.  The Full Swirl does give a little volume, but, of course, also makes it tend to curl a little, which I don't want with this haircut. I haven't been able to find anything else that gives volume. I stick with the Walmart curling brush because I think it probably does not get as hot as professional models. As dry as my hair is right now, I believe heat is an enemy.

I've tried texturizing pastes (Scruples, Jonathan) but they tend to make my hair clump and look stringy/dirty. They seem to make it feel sticky and like cotton candy; then when I try to work a piecy look into the hair, it just strings, or worse, frizzes  instead.

Morrocan Oil treatement does wonders for the dryness and frizz, but combats the volume I'm looking for.

As for mousse, I've tried Bedhead and Catwalk, Redken, and Scruples.  I've gone through the serums trying to work with the dryness--Bedhead, Aveda, Deva, Loreal. Too much weight.

I've even tried different curling wands and brushes. I have not used a hot air brush. I've spent so much money already, I was reluctant to try anything else without some guidance.

I wonder if it would be worth it to try a root lifter or a different volumizing mousse. Would a powder texturizier yeild the same unsatisfying results as paste? I am considering Big Sexy Hair Root Pump or  Morrocan Oil volumizing mouuse (maybe it wouldn't be as heavy as sraight oil?)

My stylest continues to recommend Moroccan Oil and Scruples texture paste, but they really aren't working for me. I'm hoping you have some new advice!  Thanks for anything you can offer.

Hiya Annie,

I've read and reread your post because I want to be sure  I give you some useful advice. Keep in mind that it is possible to use too much product. And many products work better on the scalp, and many work better in the ends.  That being said, It seems to me that the problem is not the products. When I've tried everything on my clients, and still not getting the volume or movement or it's not holding the style, whatever, it's usually the cut. Curly hair needs to be handled differently than straight hair.

I want to be careful here because I don't want to suggest that your stylist doesn't know how to cut curly hair. However, all the products in the world won't give you style support if the cut isn't right.  For example, if I pull hair straight up to create layers,the hair is going to fall straight down and hug the face. It cuts the volume out of the hair cut.  Hair cutting is all geometry, as is styling with a wand, curling iron or whatever.  

Your hair is drizzling because it's curly. The fine texture combined with dry air weakens the curl but doesn't change the basic texture.  Your hair needs moisture all year round, but especially in the winter.  If your hair isn't thirsty and isn't trying to absorb moisture from the air, you'll be able to control the frizz.

So, here's the long and short of it; you're going to have more volume if you wear your hair curly. If you want to wear it straight, it needs to be cut in a way to build volume. Your hairdresser may or may not have tried this already.  The problem is, you can't just walk in and and request a swelling technique. We smo t like it much when clients try to tell us what to do BUT you can ask plenty of questions about whether or not your stylist can/has used a swelling technique on you, and be sure to mention that the products she's recommending aren't working and is there a way to modify the cut so you can wear it the same way but get style retention and fullness.

It wouldn't hurt to find someone who specializes in curly hair.  Sometimes, we get so caught up in the problem solving / try a different product approach that we forget that the ultimate style support comes from the cut itself.  


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Dana Sear


I can answer questions on all types of hairstyling, cutting, designing, coloring, corrective color, perming techniques,product knowledge, and in general, anything that has anything to do with hair. PLEASE NOTE: I am a professional designer and trainer. I do hair and teach advanced classes to licensed designers. I do not, under any circumstances, recommend doing chemical services including but not limited to relaxers, perms, color, highlights, or any other chemical service at home. I will not tell you how to use professional products nor will I tell you how to do your color at home. What I CAN do is arm you with current and accurate information and help you to be able to better communicate with your stylist/designer. I can also help you with what you need to do at home to maintain, protect, and treat your hair.


I have been a designer and educator for 31 years. I have been a salon consultant for Redken, affiliate trainer for ABBA Pure and Natural, Director of Education for my own salon and am currently a member of the design team and advanced trainer for my company. I specialize in corrective color, perming and style support, and image updates (make overs)

I have been actively licensed for 31 years. I actively participate in and teach cutting, perming, coloring, and business building classes. I am a REDKEN Certified Haircolorist, and REDKEN Specialist. I also have extensive training in Structure in Motion Cutting Techniques and Tigi Cutting.

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