The first time a stylist told me I had "fine" hair, I thought, "Yippee!" It sounded like a compliment '- who wouldn't want fine hair?
But by the time I emerged from preteen innocence, I'd been through enough bad perms and painful hot-roller experiences to know that what I really had was the hair equivalent of a sloppy soufflé: limp, lifeless strands that needed brutal maneuvering just to whip into a delicate shape, only to collapse at the slightest change in atmosphere.
What was missing from my hair '- as I was repeatedly told over decades of hairstyling '- was an elusive quality called "texture" that is an essential part of an even more elusive quality known as "volume." Without either, it seemed, I was destined for a life of flat hairstyles or wearing hats.
But (lucky for me) there are now plenty of products designed specifically for this type of hair intervention. Plus, the latest developments in weaves and extensions can make your locks long and lustrous (just take a gander at Daryl Hannah, a famously fine-haired girl who's sporting a naturally full look right now).
Volumizing tonic: A few spritzes of this wheat-based amino-acid-building tonic and your hair will be raring to go. Spritz some in on the roots and then blow dry, using your fingers to push hair around and lifting from the roots. $12.95 from Aveda.
Phomollient styling foam: Made to go with the volumizing tonic, this foam will tame the ends of fine hair, especially on dry wintry days when flyaway strands are the norm. Apply this to the body of the hair, and the tonic to the roots. $13 from Aveda.
Body Full Plump Treat: This new leave-in thickening treatment adds substance, density, body and shine without weighing hair down. $13.95 from Redken.
Nettle Oil Balance shampoo: An all-natural product that will strip out impurities from hair without removing the essential oils that keep strands supple. Products for oily hair can often leave the follicles and scalp dry and tight (which leads to more oil production in the long run), but this shampoo strikes a good balance. $12.50 from The Body Shop.