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Hair Density vs Hair Thickness | How to Tell the Difference and Measure Your Hair

January 6, 2020

4 Min read

Hair density and thickness are not one in the same, but they do work together as a team to make up your hair profile. Learn how to differentiate between the two to truly understand what’s going on with your mane.

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Hair Thickness vs. Hair Density

Thickness refers to the width of a single strand of hair while density looks at how thin or thick strands are collectively, in a group. This means that someone can have fine hair that’s also very dense. Alternatively, a person can also have thick hair that is not dense. The combinations are (somewhat) endless. Fun fact: The average person has approximately 2,200 strands of hair per square inch on their head.

How to Test Your Strands

To check the density of your hair measure the circumference of your ponytail. If you have low density hair, the circumference will be less than two inches. Medium density hair is two to three inches, and high density hair is four or more inches in circumference. For shorter hair that does not go into a ponytail, just look in the mirror with your hair down. If you can see your scalp without touching your hair, you likely have low density hair. If it’s difficult to see your scalp, then you have higher density hair.

To measure for hair thickness, pluck a strand of hair from your head, ideally from a spot that is well endowed, so avoid any face framing pieces, and compare the strand to a sewing thread. If your hair is as wide, or just slightly under width, as a sewing thread, then you have thick hair. If your hair is much slimmer than the thread, your hair is on the thin side. Another way to test hair thickness, without pulling out any of your strands, is to take a single hair in between your fingers and if you can feel the hair, you have thicker hair and if you feel nothing, you have thin hair.

How to Choose a Hairstyle

In the market for a new hairstyle? Having a detailed consultation with your stylist about your hair density and thickness could prove just as beneficial as identifying your face shape.

High Density vs. Low Density Style

Give dense hair an illusion of lightness with graduating layers (think: longer layers in the front and shorter layers in the back). This kind of cut will keep your hair from looking too boxy. If you like the bob look, try a “lob”, which is a slightly longer bob and ask your stylist to incorporate layers throughout. Part your hair down the side to keep it chic.

If you have low density hair, you can create the illusion of fullness with a blunt cut. Skip the feathery layers that can make your hair appear flat or limp. Ends cut straight add instant volume and weight to your style. If you really want some layers, ask your stylist for a few light, wispy layers around the crown for lift and movement.

Thin Hair vs. Thick Hair Style

Bring body to thin hair by going for a blunt chop, this kind of cut can give the appearance of thicker hair. Fine hair can also benefit from a boost via an angled bob or lob, but be sure to request blunt ends, that is where the fullness will come from. Adding in light layers to your cut can add movement, but you also don’t want to remove too many strands, so finding balance between the two is key.

If you’re concerned about your thick hair feeling a bit heavy, you can opt to remove that excess weight. Different from those with fine hair, people with thick hair should avoid blunt ends as it can lead to the dreaded pyramid shape. If you’re going for a flattering lob cut, request that your stylist thins out your ends or if you are trying out bangs ask to make them piecey to encourage lightness.


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The Prose Staff is here to share the best hair tips and tricks to help you achieve all your hair goals with custom hair care, breakthrough innovation and more

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