What is density?

If you have been told "Your hair is so thick!", your complimenter may actually have been alluding to hair density, because "thick" hair technically refers to the width of a single strand of hair, whereas hair density refers to the number of strands on your head.

So if you want to know, quantifiably, the density of your hair, we've outlined three ways of determining that.

1. Count them

One way is by actually counting the number of hairs on your head. The best way to do this is to count the number of hairs in one square inch of your scalp, and then extrapolate from there.

On average, each person has approximately 2,200 strands of hair per square inch on their scalp, so counting can be a tedious task. But it is one option.

2. Can you see your scalp?

Alternatively, you can judge your hair density by taking a look at it in its natural state. Do not part your hair—let it hang loose, and take a look in the mirror. Can you see your scalp without moving any hair? If you can, you most likely have low hair density. If you can see your scalp with little or no effort then you most likely have medium density. If it’s difficult to see your scalp, you have high hair density. To learn more about high, medium and low densities read here.

3. Measure your ponytail

Another way to measure approximate density is to put your hair in a ponytail and measure the circumference of the ponytail. Low density hair will be less than two inches, Medium density will measure between two to three inches, and high density will be at least four inches.

Why does density matter?

Knowing your hair density will help you make smarter choices, not only in the styles you wear, but also with the products you use when puttting together a healthy hair regimen. Using light products in low density hair is helpful so as not to weigh hair down and make it look greasy or lifeless. Thicker gels and creams are usually ideal for high density curly hair. Medium density hair does well with light leave-ins and spray-in leave-in conditioners.

Knowing your hair density also helps to identify what type of hairstyles are best suited for you. If your stylist does a hair density test, or, if you already know your hair density, it’s easier to pick out styles that will suit you well. For example, thicker hair tends to style easier with longer layers and thinner hair with blunt cuts.

Just remember every hair type is different, so factor in density next time you make a purchase at your beauty supply store.

How did you figure out your density? Share with us in the comments below!
This article was originally posted in 2016 and has been updated for clarity.