What Is Medium Density Hair + How to Care For It

This post may contain affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please read the disclosure policy for more details.

Did you know there could be as many as 150,000 hairs on your head? The actual number varies from person to person, and hair density is the term we use to describe how many hairs you have on your head. 

Hair density isn’t a measure of quality – you can’t have good or bad hair density. However, understanding this characteristic is one of the key steps in good hair care. 

In this guide, we’ll look at what hair density means, how to check your hair density, and what factors cause high, medium or low density hair. We’ll also explain the characteristics of medium density hair and help you discover how to choose the right products and styling options for your hair density. 

What is Hair Density?

Hair density refers to the number of individual strands of hair in each square inch of your head and how closely those hairs are placed. 

The term refers to the whole of your head, not individual hair strands, and higher density means more hairs per square inch. Scientists can measure hair density very accurately by using a machine called a trichoscope to magnify the skin and hair on your head1. This also allows them to monitor the hair’s growth phase.

For the rest of us, hair density affects how thick or thin your hair looks. Just like the different hair types and hair porosities, hair density is one of the characteristics that contributes to your hair’s overall condition. 

So, understanding your hair density will help you reach your goal of gorgeous, healthy hair.

hair density chart

Hair Density vs. Hair Thickness: What’s the Difference?

People often confuse hair density and thickness, but the two terms describe different aspects of your tresses.

Hair thickness or hair texture describes the width of each individual hair strand, which can be described as fine hair, medium hair, or coarse hair. 

Thick hair is not the same as very dense hair. You could have fine hair but still have high hair density with a high number of closely packed strands. So your hair would look thick but feel delicate and be difficult to pin up.

On the other hand, you might have thick hair strands that are widely spaced. This is low density hair but still doesn’t look thin because of the hair thickness.

Why is Hair Density Important?

Understanding your hair density is an essential step in creating your ideal hair care routine. 

Different hair densities need different styling products. For example, heavy creams will weigh down low density strands but they’re ideal if you want to reduce volume on high density hair.

Depending on how dense your hair is, you’ll probably need to apply different amounts of product or apply it more frequently. Your hair density can also affect how often your hair needs washing and what hairstyles work well for you.

Knowing which of the three types of hair density you have will help you to keep your hair looking its best.

medium density hair close up of scalp

What Is Medium Density Hair?

Hair density is divided into three categories: high, medium, and low. Here’s a quick rundown on the three types of hair density:

High Density Hair

High density hair has the highest number of hairs per square inch of scalp. If you have high density hair, your scalp won’t be visible through your hair strands, even at the part, and you might need to use two hair ties to fasten it in a ponytail. 

This type of hair density tends to be full of volume, making it harder to manage. You’ll need to use heavy products like heavy oils and thick creams to style and add moisture to high density curls. You’ll also need to apply more product to cover the individual strands.

Medium Hair Density

Medium density hair is in the middle ground of hair density and is often called normal density hair. You might be able to see your scalp through the strands in places, especially near your part, but it generally looks full and healthy. 

This hair density type offers excellent styling versatility and, with the right techniques and products, you can easily add volume.

Low Hair Density

Low density hair has more obvious spacing between the hair follicles. This means the hair looks thin, the scalp is easily visible, and you may have a wide part. You may have to wrap a hair tie around your ponytail several times to secure it, and you may struggle to create great volume, even with styling products.

This density type is easily overwhelmed by heavy products. Choosing lightweight products is essential, and it’s important to avoid applying too much so you don’t leave your hair looking limp and flat.

how often can you bleach your hair image of woman with bleached wavy hair

How Can I Tell if I Have Medium Density Hair?

You don’t need a scientific machine to check your hair density – it’s easy to determine at home with a few simple steps. Always start with clean, dry hair, as hair care products and your scalp’s natural oils could change how your hair looks.

An easy way to determine density is to part your hair and examine your scalp closely in the mirror. 

If you can see your scalp easily through your strands, your hair is probably low density, but if you can’t see your scalp at all, you’ve likely got high density hair. Medium density hair falls in between, so you will be able to see your scalp a little, especially at the part.

If your hair is long enough to tie up, you can measure your ponytail to check your hair density. Tie your dry hair in a ponytail, and then use string or a ribbon to measure around the base. 

  • High density hair creates a ponytail with a circumference of 4 inches or more. 
  • Low density hair will give you a ponytail that measures 2 inches or less around the base. 
  • You probably have medium density hair if your ponytail measures between 2 and 4 inches around the base. 

If you’re still unsure, you could ask your stylist for their professional opinion at your next salon visit.

wolf cut curly hair with bangs

What Affects Hair Density?

Hair density is affected by several factors, including your ethnicity, age, health, and diet. 


A 2017 study found that density varies between different ethnicities. Caucasian hair tends to have higher density than Asian, Hispanic/Latinx, or African hair. 

Hair color also affects hair density, with blondes generally having more hairs than people with black, brown, or red hair.


Many people find that their hair is more dense in their twenties and then starts to lose density from their mid-thirties onwards. This is because strands stay for longer in the resting phase of the hair growth cycle, which leads to additional shedding.


Hair density isn’t a reliable indicator of general health, but some conditions can reduce it. These include thyroid disease, autoimmune diseases, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Changing hormone levels after pregnancy or during perimenopause can also cause hair loss.

Hair thinning can also be caused by sudden weight loss or stress, which can affect your hair growth cycle, or scalp conditions like psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis, which can have an effect on your hair follicles. 


A diet low in protein, iron, or vitamins such as riboflavin, biotin, folate, and vitamin B123 can contribute to hair loss. A link has also been reported between hair loss and over-supplementation with selenium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E.

Best Tips on Caring for Medium Density Hair

Hair density can give you an insight into your hair’s health and help you choose the right products and techniques.

However, it’s also essential to consider other factors like your curl pattern and hair porosity. Our quick Curly Hair Type Quiz and Guide to Hair Porosity will help you learn more about your hair’s needs.

Here are some recommendations for caring for your medium density curls:

Products for Medium Density Hair

Medium density hair doesn’t have the low density hair problem of being weighed down by hair products, and it isn’t hard to control like high density hair. Also, layering hair products isn’t an issue for medium density hair because it can carry the extra weight better than low density hair.

This means you can choose from a much wider range of hair care products.

Look out for hair care products that will help maintain your hair’s natural balance and suit your curl type and hair porosity. You might need to experiment with products to find your perfect match.

Hairstyles for Medium Density Hair

Most hairstyles will work well with medium density hair, so you have a wide range of styling options for short, medium, or long hair.

Medium hair holds braids and twists well, so these styles can be a great way to enhance your hair.

Medium density hair will look great straight, as it can easily create a sleek, shiny style without looking too thin or flat. 

You can also add volume and movement to your medium density locks with heated rollers or curling irons. Remember to use a heat protectant before you reach for your blow dryer, curling irons, or straighteners.

protein treatment for hair


Looking for more info on medium density hair? These frequently asked questions are a great starting point:

How Often Should I Wash Medium-Density Hair?

Compared to high density hair, which needs frequent washing, you can wash medium density hair less frequently. However, it’s essential to consider your curl type and porosity when you’re deciding how often you need to shampoo your hair.

Is Medium Density Hair Easy to Style?

This type of hair density has the greatest versatility for styling because it has a balanced number of strands per square inch. You’ll easily be able to create a sleek style, add volume, or wear braids, twists, and updos. 

Can Hair Density Be Increased, and if So, How?

You can’t increase your hair density without a hair transplant or pharmaceuticals, but you can make your hair look denser by changing your hairstyle or color or using styling techniques and products to add volume.

Is There a Difference Between the Thickness and Density of Hair?

Hair thickness or hair texture measures the width or circumference of each individual hair strand, and is categorized as fine, medium or coarse hair. 

That’s different from hair density, which measures how closely your individual hair strands are spaced. Both are important for creating a hair care routine that keeps your tresses looking fabulous.

The Bottom Line

Hair density refers to how many individual strands you have on each square inch of your head. It’s easy to determine your hair density at home by examining your scalp in the mirror or doing a simple test to measure the base of your ponytail.

Understanding this essential characteristic is one of the steps towards creating the best hair care routine for your curls, along with knowing your hair porosity and hair type.

Once you know if you have high, medium, or low density hair, the tips in this guide will help you choose the best hair care products and styling techniques to achieve healthy, beautiful hair!

medium density hair guide text overlay on woman

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *