How To Style Thinning Natural Hair with Sew-Ins

Thin Natural Hair: Best Sew-In Weave For Styling in 2019

We reached out to our natural hair community, those with fine or thin natural hair, to see what they had to say and learn more about their trials and errors working with this hair type. And boyyyyy, did they have some advice for us! We decided to compile the best styling advice they had for us and shared it below. 

There’s a misconception amongst naturals that a full head of hair is a thick head of hair. But that’s simply not the case. Some naturals can have a 4c curl pattern with very fine hair. If you’ve had any experience with fine hair, you know that it snaps easily under pressure and doesn’t hold heavy weave hairstyles well.


Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize – this was the buzzword that was swirling the most when talking to our thin-haired naturals. Keeping your hair moisturized before styling definitely helps strengthen your hair to hold up to protective and natural styling. We recommend using an oil-based moisturizer. A styling cream, natural oil, such as coconut oil, or leave-in will work well. If you’re a fan of the LOC method (Lotion, Oil & Cream) then we suggest you apply it here. Moisturizing your hair before styling, and we mean really moisturizing it, is the key to keeping thin hair strong. Don’t go light with this initial application of products before styling. You’ll want your hair to hold in all those great oils while you rock your style throughout the day and night.

Cornrows / Large Parts

If you plan to wear afro kinky curly clip-in extensions or weave, you will always want to start by braiding your hair down before sewing-in, applying a wig cap, or adding extensions. By braiding your hair down, you keep the hair free from breakage and you’re saving your scalp from being pulled from extensions or box braids. We suggest those with thin or thinning hair stay away from box braids, micro-braids, or lemonade braids. Braiding extensions straight to the scalp can actually cause more damage than good. Thin hair is prone to breaking by design so when extra weight is added from extensions it can be hasta la vista to those edges.

Now, this isn’t a warning to stop wearing hair extensions all together. We suggest either braiding your hair down in cornrows and crocheting or sewing in the hair. If you want to wear braids, we suggest parting your hair into larger sections. The base of your braid should have a section of your natural hair that is hefty enough to take on the size braid you want to create with the extension. This will help keep your style longer, prevent tension on the scalp and keep your hair from breaking.


Most of the naturals we spoke to with thin or thinning hair said wigs and clip-ins are the go-to. This was the favorite style among our MNHE naturals with thin natural hair. The great thing about wigs is they literally add zero tension or pull to your scalp. One thing we do caution naturals to be mindful of when applying a wig is to keep those edges under the cap if you can. Applying wig glue or stronghold gels may thin your hairline with overuse and improperly removing your wig. It’s best to loosen the gel or wig glue around your edges with warm water before removing the wig.


Clip-ins are another easy to wear style. We encourage any natural who wants to step their style game up, without needing tons of products, to give these a try. Clip-ins are perfect for thin or thinning hair. Not only does it add additional volume and length to your hair but they are easy to apply and don’t add a lot of tension to your scalp or hair. We suggest adding small horizontal cornrows throughout your hair to provide a base for the clip-ins to hold. This will also help keep your hair from snapping vs just adding the clip-in close to the scalp of your natural hair unbraided.

Coily clip in extensions

3b 3c curly hair clip in extensions

Best 3C kinky curly clip-in extensions

Final Thoughts

So for those with naturally thin hair – moisturizing is the key to success. If you focus on keeping your hair well conditioned and moisturized before styling you’re already on your way to keeping those tresses healthy and breakage-free. Next, you’ll want to try either braiding down your hair to wear protective styles. Braids, twists, locs and extensions can be sewn-in or crocheted into braided hair. You can also resort to wigs or clip-ins if you want zero tension on your hair and scalp. With all these options how will you style your natural hair?  

Have any other tips for MNHE, leave them in the comments.

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