For a lot of people, hair care seems simple – you just wash it with shampoo every once in a while and hope for the best. If you’ve been trying to take care of your mane more carefully, however, you know that’s not the case. There are lots of factors that can be used to your advantage if you want to take good care of your hair and hair density is one of them. Here we’ve summed up what is hair density what you need to know about hair density.
What does hair density mean?
Hair density refers to the number of hair strands you have per square inch. This is different from hair width which measures the width of each individual hair strand.
The standard human hair density is around 2,000 to 2,200 hair strands per square inch. Low density hair is anything below 2,000 and down to, well, complete baldness.
High density hair, on the other hand, is anything over 2,200 hairs per square inch and typically goes up to 180% of that volume. ~4,000 hairs per square inch are usually the maximum you can have or see.
How can you determine your hair density?
Most people go to their hairstylist for that but it’s something you can do on your own or with a friend too. Figuring out whether you have high, low, or normal human density can be done in any of the following ways:
- Have someone count the number of hair strands in a square inch of your hair. Yes, it can take a while but it’s not as tiresome as you might think – remember that you don’t need an exact count and an approximation can work too. So, just separate your hair with hair clippers or any other tool so that there’s a 1×1 inch square left somewhere around the middle of your scalp. Then, put on some chill music, get a friend to count your hairs, and don’t distract them. And that’s it, it will only take several minutes. Pro tip: Start counting from the lower part of the 1×1 square so that you can just let the hairs you’ve counted fall down and get out of the way more easily.
- The Ponytail test is another simple way to determine whether you have a high, low, or medium density hair. Just smooth out your hair after a shower and a towel-drying, and gather it in a standard ponytail. The wider the circumference of the ponytail is, the higher your hair density and vice versa. Again, you don’t need exact measurements, you just need to know whether your hair is high, low, or medium density.
- Just take a look at your hair. The eye test is the least accurate but also the simplest and still practical way to go about it. Just let your hair down and try to look at your scalp through it. It’s best to use a second mirror so you can look at your hair from the side or the back. If you can see your scalp clearly through your hair, your hair has low density. If you can barely see it – that’s medium or normal density hair. And if you can’t see it at all – you have high density hair.
- Go to a Phototrichogram. This is a simple, quick, and non-invasive procedure that takes a photograph of your hair and counts your hair strands for you. It also gives a quality assessment of your hair’s condition which is nice.
Why does hair density matter?
Hair density matters for the same reason your hair’s width, porosity, and texture matter – it tells you what haircare products and techniques you should use for the best results.
The basic principle here is that you should use lighter products for lower density hair so you don’t “weigh it down” and you don’t give it too much of a greasy or dull look.
For more medium-density hair, leave-in products are usually the best or generally products that can address your hair’s other characteristics.
With high-density hair, it’s best to use heavier products such as gels, butters, and creams that can hold your curls together and help reduce their volume.