Making Waves: The Fine, Straight Hair Expert

This stylist is giving life and volume to hair that has a tendency to lay flat and straight.
Photography by Jes Nijjer

FOUNDER OF Indie Mane, Belinda Benham is no stranger to maximizing the potential of fine, straight hair that tends to fall flat—not least of all because she has that kind of hair herself. She started her stylist journey right out of high school, gaining experience at various salons around Indy. She decided to take the reins and forge her own path by opening Indie Mane Downtown (531 Virginia Ave.) in 2019, then subsequently expanding to a second location on the north side (2727 E. 86th St.) in 2023. With her wide breadth of styling knowledge, Benham spends her spare time as a hair educator.

Benham’s experience working with her own limp hair led her to become an advocate and expert in supplementing thickness through extensions. But beyond the power of adding extra strands, she recommends utilizing color. “Dimension in finer hair will always make it look thicker.” (Interestingly, she’s noticed that her downtown clientele embraces wild, rainbow hair colors to accomplish this, while northsiders tend to opt for shades of blonde.)

The cut counts, too. In terms of achieving the most voluminous chop, Benham advises taking a careful look at how your hair falls when it’s clean and unstyled. “Everyone has a natural stopping point. It’s at whatever length your hair is thickest.” If in doubt, Benham recommends one of the popular bob styles as a chic way to add bounce to flat hair. But if going short is too big of a transformation, plenty of carefully placed face-framing layers can do the trick.

If your hair is oily as well as fine, it can be doubly hard to keep it from going limp. For that particular concern, Indie Mane offers clarifying treatments. First, Benham uses a scalp camera to investigate blockages. “Even if you use the best products, Indiana water is so hard, you can get buildup just from that.” After clarifying the hair, Benham retakes the pictures. Clients are usually amazed by the difference in their roots. “It’s the cleanest, softest hair you’ve ever felt.”