Hair Density and Width & it’s Effect on Hair Care

To the topic of “Hair Basics”, I am adding these two aspects. Just like Hair Porosity and Curl Pattern, Hair Width and Density are important too.

Knowing more about your hair helps in maintaining, managing and styling our hair properly. It also helps us in making sound decisions while buying products for our hair care or styling.

Let’s start with Hair Density:

What is Hair Density?

Hair Density is basically the number of hair strands that grace our head.

Hair density is determined by the number of hair strands per square inches area of our scalp.

How to determine Hair Density?

Since counting strands manually is not physically possible for us, there is an alternate and easier method to determine Hair Density.

After shower, let it dry naturally. Once hair is completely dry, stand in front of mirror and look at your scalp from various angles. Only try and see if your scalp (i.e. The skin) is visible while your hair hangs loosely in its natural state. If needed, press your hair down and look closely at your hair roots. Repeat this at various areas of your head.

Low Density:
If you can see your scalp very easily at various areas, you have low density hair.

If you have low density hair, then you should avoid layering up many products onto your hair as it would weigh down hair and make the density look less and more scalp would be visible which does not make a pretty site. You should select light leave-in conditioners and replace your heavy gels with mousse. If mousse is not a feasible option for your hair pattern, then you should avoid applying styling products to the roots. Rather direct the styling products from mid-shaft till the roots so that the roots do not fall flat.

High Density:
If is is very difficult or impossible to see your scalp, then you have high density hair.

If you have high density hair, you would want to weigh down your hair. This can be achieved by layering products onto hair. Usually the layering contains these – A creamy leave-in conditioner, a hair butter or oil, a strong hold gel. Co-washing can also help in taming the hair at the crown and at roots. Apply the leave-in conditioners and products from the roots till the ends so that the hair is weighed down.

Medium Density:
If your scalp is sparingly visible at certain areas, i.e. neither is it too easy to see nor too difficult to see the scalp, then you have medium or normal density hair.

For Medium Density hair, layering of products is not a problem. However, too many leave-on products can weigh them down. Hence products should be used that enhance the density without making it look haywire. This can be easily achieved by using a watery leave-in conditioner followed by a gel.

Simple, right? Now comes the Hair Width.

In day-to-day usage, especially in saloons, Hair Width and Hair Density are confused. By confused, I mean that the terms are kubd of not used correctly. When someone says that you have ‘thick hair’ or ‘fine hair’, they usually mean the density of your hair. However, thick/coarse or fine defines the width of each hair strand rather than the overall density. And Width can contribute in a very different and important way than we ever give this property credit for.

What is Hair Width?

Hair width is defined as the diameter of each hair strand.

Curlacious_Hair Width India explained
Hair Width

How is Hair width measured?

It is fairly easy to measure the hair width since it does not involve physical measurement of the strand.

Catch hold of a strand of your hair (shed or intact, doesn’t matter) and hold it against light. the visibilty of hair strand against the light gives the idea of what width our hair has.

Fine/Thin Hair:

If  your hair is almost invisible against the light, your hair is fine or thin in width

Fine hair tends to be less strong and more probe to damage. It can get difficult to attain and maintain length due to this reason. If your hair is fine, you need to take extra care in your day-to-day life that  you do not mishandle your hair. You should detangle it gently and should not put it under much strain. Try having simpler hairstyles that do not put tension on your hair for longer period of time.

As fine hair can easily be weighed down, try and use lighter products. Watery leave-in conditioners and mousse or gels that do not weigh down your hair. Also, in case you you them post wash, try and incorporate light oils like jojoba oil, almond oil etc.

Try and avoid layering many products as it might again weigh down hair.

You should follow protein treatments more often to provide more strength to your hair.  Read more about Protein Treatments here.

Coarse Hair:

If you hair is very much visible against the light, you have coarse hair in width.

Coarse hair is the strongest which makes it easy to attain and maintain length. You can easily try various elaborate hairstyles without the fear of damage or breakage. If you have coarse hair, you should feel lucky as it does not need elaborate efforts to maintain the strength.

You might need to layer products on to give a control to the tresses and to weigh them down. Creamy leave-in conditioner are a better option. Heavy gels and butters with strong hold might come handy in maintaining coarse hair.

You do not need frequent protein treatments as your hair is high on protein and strength should not even be a concern.

Normal Hair:

If your hair is not invisible, however you cannot see it “out there” signifies that your hair has normal width.

Hair with normal width is the easiest to manage. Your hair has enough strength to manage hair length as it does not break that easily. Making various hairstyles is fairly easy and does not cost heavy on the hair’s health.

Layering up products is not an issue at all. Light leave-in conditioners followed by a gel or mouse should do just fine in holding curls or waves in place without weighing hair down.

Protein treatments can be used once in a month or two to make up for any protein loss.


Anndddd…We are done…. 🙂 I have summed up Density and Width here. Lemme know if this helped you in determining your hair density and width and whether this post was helpful.


I would also like to mention few points here:

  • Each head of curly hair is different. The hair care basics do define the properties of hair. However, various combinations of these properties gives unique characteristics to each person’s hair. Knowing your hair properties can give you a basic layout on how and what to look out for in your hair care and stlying products and how exactly those are to be used. However, for your own set of curly or wavy  hair, you would have to form a routine using a trial and error method. What my low density, normal hair loves might not fit your hair that has similar properties. hence play around and work out a regimen that suits your needs 🙂


  • The hair basics can create a guidance on what is going wrong with your hair. Sometimes, going backward helps in pin pointing the product or method that is not working fine for our hair property. For e.g., a friend has low density, fine hair and was struggling to find why her curls were falling flat. One day while discussing, it dawned on her that it was because her products she was using were too heavy for her fine hair and were enhancing her low density. Switching to a mousse instead of gel helped her style her curls better.


Hope this post helps!!

Stay Curly… and Stay Happy!!!


Learn about your hair porosity: here

Learn about your hair’s curl or wave pattern: here


Comment down below if you wanna share any thoughts or if you have a density or width related query. If you have any general curly or wavy hair related query, feel free to ask them here at the forum: Curlacious Chit-chat

6 thoughts on “Hair Density and Width & it’s Effect on Hair Care

  1. Hi Divya,
    can you pls tell me can i use Keratherapy Keratin Infused Moisture shampoo and conditioner for dry,frizzy,curly hair?

    1. Hi Sneha… the shampoo has olefin sulfonate which is a very strong this can be really drying.. and the conditioner has amodimethicone which is a non-water soluble silicone. So if you are trying to follow sulfate and silicone free hair regimen, these two would not suit the need

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