Underlights: For fine hair that wants volume but not regrowth.

When there is no permanent hair colour or highlights or tints in my hair it is so… thin. So fine. And if, like me, you already have fine hair, your levels of fineness and thinness and flatness reach levels that were previously reserved for uncooked angel hair pasta.

This is because, as we all know, hair colour adds plumpness to the hair strand. Some volume. A bit of sass and excitement. And I always forget this when I set out to get my natural colour back. What a pity.

Now that the first six inches of my hair is completely natural, with no colour whatsoever, it is arrogantly healthy but I find:

1. My hair needs more washing because my cute scalp oils have more effect, faster

2. My hair is flatter and even the usual root-boost/volume-crank-up products aren’t really doing much (or they do much initially, but by day two the effect has buzzed off to get a latte on Degraves St)

3. I use double the products (esp magic dusts and mousses) which leads to build-up and even – GASP – a dry scalp

4. Styles won’t hold, because the hair is too limp and pathetic and deserved of being bullied quite frankly

5. I eat more Lindor balls than I should.



Just one of the many wonderful magic (“volume”) dusts on the market.


I find it most amusing that every few years I bang on about wanting my “natural hair” back and then as soon as I have it, I immediately resent it for its overwhelming thinness and dullness… Of course the one VERY big plus to having hair that is not permanently coloured is that you can donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which puts you in the Fabulous Saint category.

Incidentally, during some wonderful trips to Sydney and Brisbane for Pantene Beautiful Lengths and Look Good Feel Better last week, I got to chatting about this with my fellow Beautiful Length ambassador and hair dresser and the chap who did my wedding hair, Barney ‘Bananas’ Martin.



My fancy wedding updo, care of Barney.

I pretended not to be offended when he commented after blow-drying my hair that it was very fine wasn’t it, and perhaps I needed some colour back in there..?

“NO, Barney,” I said, unnecessarily loud. “I like having my natural colour back. Is healthy and shiny and the curls are behaving. Also I am lazy and care not for regrowth.’

“Just get some highlights underneath the top layer, silly!” he said in that fun British accent. “That would give you some volume and some texture, and you needn’t worry about regrowth because the top layes is still your natural colour.”

He had a point. It was large and red and wailing like some form of emergency vehicle.

“Almost like… underlights.” I said, trademarking it in my brain as I did so.

“Yes!” he said.

“And I suppose I could just have a colour similar to my own, couldn’t I. I don’t want obvious highlights at present.”

Ocourse you can, you duffer. Anything you like. So long as it’s permanent.”

“Just some lovely, natural smudging on the under layes of my hair, right up at the roots, but concealed by my top layers,” I said, in a way that would be helpful and very explanatory should I ever be enthused to write the conversation out as a blog post. “Yes, that could work.”

Barney is as tired of super-obvious ombre balayage as I am, but we both agreed the balayage (“painting”) technique. also called smudging, is still terrific, in terms of how natural the finish is, and how non-traditional-foils-or-streaks-cap it is.

So, I’m going to do it and report back. What fun!

Is your hair flat and uninspiring at present?

Does it shit you?  Yeah me too. When there is no permanent hair colour or highlights or tints in my hair it is so… thin. (Post continues on in a never-ending loop.)



Responses to this drivel: 15 Comments
Responses to this drivel ( 15 )
  • Celeste

    YES! I have natural colour and have been enjoying saving a few bucks on salon colours when my hair is already a pretty decent brown. BUT it is fine and I have not been loving the lack of volume at the roots… I am now going to book in to have this done! Once I hear back from you about your ‘underlights’ experience, of course.

  • kirsty

    yes, yes, yes I get you zoe sooo well, wavey/curley fine hair..but so blah at the roots ..despite all your tips.. dust, mousse etc….carnt wait for the ‘look’ of underlights..but can you give me a tip on shampoo’s etc for hair like this…ta

  • Laura

    Hi Zoe love your hair posts, but one day can you post about thick boofy frizzy hair? (I don’t understand the thin hair thing as never had it!)

    There’s lots of us unlucky dames out there with this affliction and its quite tricky! would love some tips! (

  • Lucy

    I can’t help but wonder if I have partially inspired this blogpost ZFB! One day i will take my hair out and show you how hideously fine my hair is and you will feel like Selena Gomez in comparison. 🙂 x

  • Sarah H

    That sounds exactly like what I have. Recently i chopped my long hair back to collarbone length. My colourist did some really natural looking balayage and some highlights under the top layer of hair. It looks super strange when I’m drying my hair in sections (every now and then I find a super light strand) but overall it breaks up my colour and I dont have any regrowth.

    Loving it!

  • Em

    genius!!!! Consider this done…

  • Leah

    Zoe, I quite love you for this post… I have been growing out my hair for 18 long months and I wasn’t toooooo fussed about the fineness or the boringness or the flatness, until I WAS GETTING MARRIED. And suddenly I am very bothered by all of these things but I quite like my natural dirty blonde colour. But hurrah, she does it again – a solution! Now to find a colourist who listens to me. Apparently they are scarce.

  • lulu

    Thank you so much for sharing these genius tips for the super fine, flat hair challenged ladies. Please keep them coming (along with your pigmentation tips, two problematic peas in a pod here I think). I will certainly be sharing this with the lovely lads next visit 😉 xx

  • raj


    Its a very good and interesting blog, Thanks for sharing valuable information.
    Buy Shampoo Online
    This informative will increase more and more people to know about all this products.

  • fruitybeauty | Who makes up your Personal Beauty Army?

    […] a hairdresser down here. Still pop up to Barney Martin for my hairs. (Finally getting my ‘underlights‘ put in this Saturday. Thinking very hard about installing a fringe as I do every now and […]

  • zala hair

    Your work is totally appreciative and informative.

  • fruitybeauty | Underlights: for added volume, contrast and interest.

    […] I mentioned recently, arrogantly and in a way that assumed you cared, my natural, colour-free hair is fine. Way too fine. Floppy, flat, dirty-in-two days, fine. I enjoy its colour very much, but its […]

  • free fl studio download

    I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I’m now not sure
    whether or not this submit is written by way of him as no one else recognise such unique approximately my trouble.
    You’re wonderful! Thank you!

  • luxury apartments near vanderbilt

    Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful article.
    Thanks for providing these details.

    Also visit my webpage – luxury apartments near vanderbilt

  • Spanky Smith

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful blog!!

    There are other best hair growth shampoos as well like “PURA D’OR Anti-Hair Loss Premium Organic Argan Oil Shampoo” that I really found effective on my hairs.

    Keep on sharing more!!

Okay. Your turn.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *