Have you ever noticed that some people have really thick hair, while others have thinner hair? This difference is due to something called hair density.
And believe it or not, it have a big impact on how your hair looks and feels.
What is Hair Density?
Hair density is the number of individual strands of hair that are present per square inch of your scalp. The more strands of hair you have, the greater your hair density will be.
In other words, it’s a measure of how closely those strands are growing together on your head.
People with sparsely placed fibers and wide spaces between them are classified as having low-density hair, while those with snugly grouped strands have high-density hair. Medium-density hair falls anywhere in between.
Hair Density vs. Hair Diameter
Hair density is different from hair diameter (thick or thin hair strands), which is the measurement of the width of an individual hair strand.
Diameter (texture) is categorized as fine, medium, or coarse.
Density and diameter of your strands work together to create the fullness of your hair.
For example, someone could have a head full of abundant, very fine strands that is very dense, meaning they have a lot of fine hairs per square inch.
On the flip side, they could have thick strands of low-density hair loosely scattered across your scalp, meaning they have coarse strands but not so many of them per square inch.
If you have thick strands but low density, your hair will appear thin. On the other hand, if you have fine strands but high density, your hair will appear full.
How Many Hairs are There on a Human Head?
Depending on several factors, the average person has between 90,000 and 150,000 hairs on their head.
For example, hair color plays a role in the number of hairs someone has. Generally speaking, people with blonde hair have more hair than those with darker hair colors. (1)
- Blonde 150,000
- brown haired 110,000
- black haired 100,000
- red haired 90,000
Additionally, the size of the scalp can also affect the number of hairs on the head. An average scalp measures approximately 120 square inches or 770 cm². And on average, each square inch has approximately 2,200 strands of hair. (2)
That works out to be about 100,000 follicles. And each follicle can grow about 20 individual hairs in a person’s lifetime. So even though we lose an average of 100 strands of hair a day, we’re constantly growing new ones to take their place.
But what about the other hairs on our bodies? We all have 25,000 body hairs, 420 eyelashes, and 600 eyebrows.
Who knew we were such hairy creatures?
How to Measure Hair Density?
When it comes to hair density, there are generally two ways to find out what yours is.
- Work with a professional
- Do it yourself at home
The first is by going to a professional – usually a dermatologist – who will physically count the number of hairs on your head.
This method is considered to be the most accurate to diagnose hair diseases, but it can also be quite expensive and time-consuming.
The second way to determine your hair density is by observing and collecting data on your own hair counts. This method is not as precise as the professional method, but it can give you a general idea of your hair density.
The most common method is to use a tool called a trichoscope. This is a special microscope that allows dermatologists to get a close-up view of your scalp and hair. By looking at a small area of your scalp under the trichoscope, they can quickly estimate the number of hairs per square centimeter.
If you’re concerned about hair loss or thinning hair, your dermatologist may recommend a pathologic examination. This involves taking a small sample of skin from your scalp and examined it under a microscope. This can give your doctor a more accurate picture of the health of your hair follicles and help them diagnose any underlying problems. (3)
One method is to simply count the number of hairs on your head if you really want to kill some time. But, this can be a bit tricky, as it’s hard to get an accurate count without shaving your head!
1. Measure your ponytail
To measure approximate density, tie your dry hair back in a ponytail and loop it with a piece of ribbon. Then measure the circumference of your tail.
Generally, anything below 2 inches is considered low density, between 2-4 inches is medium density, and anything over 4 inches is high-density hair.
The width of your individual strands also factor into the size of your ponytail.
2. The scalp test
If you have short hair that can’t be pulled back into a ponytail, another way to measure density is to examine your scalp.
Make sure that your hair is clean and dry. Let it hang loose in its natural state, then tilt your head slightly and take a look in the mirror.
If you can easily see your scalp without moving your hair around, you have low-density hair.
If it is somewhat visible, you have medium-density hair. If your hair covers your scalp and it is impossible to see it, you have high-density hair.
You can also ask your stylist to help you determine your hair density. They’ll be able to give you a more accurate assessment based on their experience.
Why Hair Density Matters
Knowing your hair density is the key to enjoying your best hair and keeping it healthy.
This can help you make smarter choices about
- what products to use,
- how to style your hair,
- and even how to cut it.
It can also prevent disappointment when you try a new style or product and it doesn’t work as well as you’d hoped.
For Low-Density Hair
Many people believe that the only way to achieve voluminous hair is to have naturally thick hair. However, this is not always the case. In fact, even people with low-density hair can achieve full, bouncy locks with the right haircare routine and styling products.
One of the most important things to remember is to avoid heavy oils and waxes, as they can build up on the scalp and weigh down the hair. Instead, opt for lightweight volumizing products that will give your hair lift and bounce.
Cut off your hair and avoid layering it, as this can actually make thin hair appear even thinner.
If you’re looking for a dramatic change, a pixie cut is always a great option for any texture; from curly to straight.
But if you still want a bit of length, try blunt cuts like bobs and lobs.
For Medium-Density Hair
If you have medium-density hair, you’re in luck. This is the ideal hair type and the easiest to work with. You can pretty much style your hair any way you want, whether it’s straight, curly, or somewhere in between.
The only thing to be careful of is not to overdo it with products, as this can weigh down your hair and make it appear greasy. A little bit of product goes a long way, so start with a small amount and build up from there if you need to.
For High-Density Hair
High-density hair tends to frizz easily and can poof up at the slightest hint of humidity.
That’s why it’s important to take extra care of your strands and use products that will help to restore moisture and fight frizz.
Look for haircare products that contain natural oils like coconut oil, olive oil, and argan oil.
These oils can help to add moisture and shine to your hair without weighing it down.
If you want to tame down the volume, opt for thicker, richer products like creams and butters. These products will help to hold your strands together and minimize any puffiness.
Second, keep your curls intact with strong-hold gels or serums. These products will help to keep your curls defined and prevent them from getting frizzy.
When it comes to cutting your hair, avoid blunt ends and any cut that’s above your shoulders because this will only accentuate the width of your hair. Instead, go for longer layers and thinned ends. This will help to remove some of the excess weight and give your hair a textured look.
Hair density is determined by a number of factors, including genetic predisposition and age. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to change your hair density. However, if you’re unhappy with the amount of hair on your head, there are a number of styling options that can give the appearance you desire.
So even if you were born with fine or thick hair, there’s no need to despair. With the right style and products, you can achieve the look you want.