What You Need To Know about High-Density Hair

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There are many ways to categorize hair, and you might already know how to describe your hair’s texture and porosity. Hair density is another useful classification that can help you choose the right products and styles for your hair.

If you’ve been blessed with a gorgeous voluminous mane of high density hair, understanding your hair density will make it easier to manage your volume. 

In this guide, I’ll explain what hair density is, the different types of hair density, and how you can figure out which type you have. You’ll also learn what affects your hair density and how to care for high density tresses.

What Is Hair Density?

Hair density refers to the number of individual hairs per square inch of your scalp and how close the strands are to each other. It describes your hair as a whole instead of individual hairs, and the more hair you have, the higher your hair density is.  

Some people talk about hair densities in terms of thin/fine or thick hair, but that can be confusing. For example, you could have thin strands that are closely packed together, which would give you high density hair.

Hair density is usually described as high, medium, or low. Basically, high density hair refers to a lot of strands packed closely together, low hair density has fewer widely-spaced strands, and medium density hair is somewhere in between.

hair density chart

What Is High-Density Hair?

The most accurate way to determine hair density is to count the strands per square inch of your scalp. Scientists can use a technique called trichoscopy to magnify the scalp and hairs up to 1000 times, which lets them accurately measure hair density and monitor the growth phase of each strand. 

Hair density is generally categorized as one of three types: high, medium, and low.

High Hair Density

High density hair can achieve plenty of volume and fullness, and the skin of your scalp won’t usually be visible except at the part. You’ll need strong ties to fasten high density locks in a ponytail.

Medium Hair Density

Medium density hair can still achieve a fuller look with the right styling products and techniques. The scalp might be visible through the hair in places, but the hair generally looks full.

Low Hair Density

Low density hair often has a wide part, visible skin on the scalp, and more obvious spacing between the follicles. It can be hard to achieve more volume and you may have to wrap a hair tie around your ponytail several times to secure it.

showing side by side comparison of scalp showing to measure hair density

How To Measure Hair Density

Of course, counting the number of hairs in a square inch of your scalp is a bit difficult, but there are some easy ways to determine your hair density type at home.

The easiest way is to check whether you can see your scalp’s skin through your hair. Gather the front section of your hair and pull it over to the side.

  • If you can clearly see your scalp through your hair, you probably have low density hair. 
  • If you can only really see the skin where you’ve parted your hair, your hair is probably high density. 
  • You likely have medium density hair if your locks fall between the two. 

If your dry hair is long enough to tie up, you can also check your hair density by measuring around the base of a ponytail. 

  • High density hair will give you a ponytail with a circumference of 4 inches or more. 
  • Low hair density will create a ponytail that measures 2 inches or less around the base. 
  • If your ponytail measures between 2 and 4 inches around the base, you probably have medium density hair. (this is my hair, it’s only about 1 inch 😢)

If you’re still unsure, you can ask your stylist for advice.

woman with long 1c hair high density

What Affects Hair Density?

Hair density is affected by genetic factors, aging, overall health, and the quality of your diet.


Hair density is affected by ethnicity, and a 2017 study showed that different ethnicities are more or less likely to have high hair density. Caucasian hair is likely to have a higher density than people with Asian, Hispanic/Latinx, or African ethnicities. 


The aging process also affects hair density. Most people find that their hair reaches its highest density in their twenties and then gets thinner from their mid-thirties onward. 

That’s because the strands stay in the resting phase of the hair growth cycle for longer, which leads to more shedding. 


Your hair density isn’t an indicator of your general health. However, some conditions, such as thyroid disease, autoimmune diseases, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), can reduce your hair density. 

Stress and sudden weight loss may affect your hair growth cycle, and scalp conditions like psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis can affect your hair follicles. Both of these can cause hair loss.

Women may also find that they experience hair thinning due to hormonal changes after pregnancy or during perimenopause.


You might experience hair loss if your diet is low in protein, iron, or vitamins such as riboflavin, biotin, folate, and vitamin B12.

Over-supplementation with selenium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E has also been linked to hair loss.

woman with 3b hair high density curly hair

How to Care for High Density Hair

Knowing your hair density will help you choose hairstyles and hair products that will suit your hair best. 

Remember that you’ll also need to consider other factors like your hair type and hair porosity as well. Check out our Curly Hair Type Quiz and Guide to Hair Porosity to help you work out which type and porosity you have.

Recommended High-Density Hair Products

If you have high density hair, lightweight products like a mousse or light water-based gel won’t have much effect on your mane. You’ll need heavy products to keep it under control.

You’ll also need to use more of each product than someone with low density hair so that every strand gets good coverage.

Rich butters and thick gels will help elongate your strands, which makes your hair look less dense.

Serums and hair oils will help keep frizz under control, which will also help reduce your hair’s volume. If you have coarse strands, you could try using heavy oils like Jamaican Black Castor Oil but avoid heavy products if your strands are fine. A lighter oil like grapeseed oil or argan oil will be more suitable for fine strands.

Styling Tips for High-Density Hair

Layering is a great way to remove the excess bulk of high density hair. It boosts volume and movement while giving you a gorgeous, natural look.

If you want to remove even more bulk, you could try razoring the ends, but this isn’t recommended for curly hair because it causes frizz. 

Chemical straightening will reduce the density of curly hair by up to 50%, but bear in mind that it can also damage your locks. 

Some stylists recommend avoiding a blunt style if you have high density hair. However, a chic bob can look fabulous, helping high density tresses achieve a sleek, polished look.

woman smiling with thick high density curly hair


If you’re still curious about high density hair, check out the answers to these frequently asked questions.

Is It Possible To Increase Hair Density?

Unless you have a follicular transplant, you can’t actually increase the number of hair follicles you have. 

However, you can support the health of your follicles so that they produce healthy hair. Aim to eat a healthy diet rich in protein, minerals like iron and zinc, and vitamins A, B, C, D, and E.

Ensuring that your hair is well hydrated will plump up the strands and add volume, giving the illusion of high density hair.

I’ve tried taking a number of supplements to increase my density over the years. You can learn more about that in this video series on my YouTube channel.

What’s the Difference Between Hair Density and Hair Thickness?

Thickness can refer to the width of individual strands (coarse texture) or the number of hairs and how close together they grow (density). For example, you could have thick hair strands that are spaced far apart, which would give you low density hair. 

Does High-Density Hair Require More Frequent Washing?

High density hair generally needs less frequent washing than low density hair, as closely spaced strands don’t tend to get dirty as quickly.

However, you also need to consider your hair type and porosity, as these also affect how often you shampoo your locks

Does Shaving Your Head Increase Hair Density?

This is a popular myth, but shaving your head will not affect your hair density or type.

What Hair Color Has the Highest Density?

Blondes typically have the highest density hair, followed by brunettes. Red hair tends to have the lowest density.

The Bottom Line

Hair density describes how many strands of hair you have per square inch of scalp. You can easily determine your hair’s density at home by visually examining your scalp or carrying out the ponytail test. 

When you’re planning your curly hair care routine, your hair density is one of the most important characteristics to consider, along with your hair texture and porosity. 

You can’t increase your hair density without a hair transplant, but understanding whether you have high, low, or medium porosity hair makes it easier to select the right styling techniques and products to achieve your hair goals.

high density hair pinterest image


  1. Melike Kibar. Trichoscopy and Trichogram. InTech eBooks. Published online May 3, 2017. doi:https://doi.org/10.5772/66836
  2. Birnbaum MR, McLellan BN, Shapiro J, Ye K, Reid SD. Evaluation of Hair Density in Different Ethnicities in a Healthy American Population Using Quantitative Trichoscopic Analysis. Skin appendage disorders. 2017;4(4):304-307. doi:https://doi.org/10.1159/000485522‌
  3. Almohanna HM, Ahmed AA, Tsatalis JP, Tosti A. The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review. Dermatology and therapy. 2018;9(1):51-70. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s13555-018-0278-6
  4. Guo EL, Katta R. Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use. Dermatology practical & conceptual. Published online January 31, 2017:1-10. doi:https://doi.org/10.5826/dpc.0701a01

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