Hey there. This is another post in the Hair Basics series, a bunch of posts about the fundamentals of hair. What it really is and how it functions. You could continue the Understanding Hair 101 class here 🙂
Hair texture and density are two properties that get mixed up a lot, but they really are different things.
Do you believe that all big afros or natural heads are “full” or “thick”? Just because someone has got a lot of hair does not mean that the person’s strands are thick.
Hair texture refers to the width/size of your hair strands, and Hair density is simply how much hair you have.
– The size of your strands.
– Determined by the cortex.
– Types: Your hair texture may be fine, medium, coarse.
The thicker your strands are, the stronger they are. Fine hair is the most fragile, and coarse hair the least. Thick strands I read, are easier to detangle.
How can I determine my texture?
I don’t want to go there but in trying to determine mine, I read something that simplified the matter. Sorry ladies. The hair that grows in your nether region is coarse. Compare how similar or how different the hair on your head is to that and the texture of your hair will be revealed to you.
Can one person have different textures?
My strands for the most part are fine. Not thick at all. Then I have some in the centre of my head that are more coarse than the others.
Here’s a short slideshow showing a coarse strand and a fine strand (both mine)- can you see the difference?
Basically, it’s the population of Hair City. A measure of how many strands are living on your head.
Types- Your Hair density may be High, Medium, Low.
Technically, you can only measure your hair density if you partition your hair into 1” x 1” sections and count the number of strands per section- like the average number of strands/follicles per square inch area. You don’t have to do that.
What’s my Hair Density?
It’s best to check for your hair density when it’s dry. All you have to do is this- Let your dry hair hang loose. Can your scalp be seen? If it’s difficult to see your scalp or no scalp can be seen at all, your hair is high density. If it’s very easy to see scalp, your hair is low density, and if you can see only some of your scalp, medium density.
Again, I must stress this:
High density hair is usually called thick by other people- because of how it looks or feels as a whole. However, it does not mean that your individual strands are thick. You can be high density with fine strands (like me) and low density with thick/medium strands.
What to do with this information?
Again beware of sweeping generalisations. Some people say fine hair is easy to moisturise and doesn’t need a lot of moisturising but so far my own fine hair hasn’t been easy to moisturise. A moisture plan has got a lot more to do with hair porosity I believe, than the way it feels. *side-eye* at those people.
- The simple advantage of knowing your texture is that you have a better idea about how to handle your hair. If you attack your high density hair with all your might and a comb or brush just because it looks thick, you will be doing mad damage if you have fine texture strands.
- Choosing products- a High Density head does not need volumising products. Heavier products may be desired instead, to weigh the hair down a little. The very opposite is the case for Low density hair.
- Styling- low density heads may prefer smaller twists or braids, styles that don’t show a lot of scalp. High density heads may prefer bigger braids or twists and layered styles.
CAN I CHANGE MY TEXTURE/DENSITY?
No. You have not grown any hair follicles since you were born. Even weeks before you were born. Follicles are responsible for your density and your hair cortex is responsible for your hair texture.
So anything that claims to volumise or decrease the look of your hair- thin it or thicken it (that is, reduce or increase its density) or thicken your individual strands- is really just promising to make it appear so. APPEAR is the key word. That’s all it’s doing. It’s not changing the structure of your hair. It is what it is. Accept your texture and density and learn to work with them- consider them in building your regimen, in styling- and if you want thicker or thinner hair for any purpose, just google. There are so many temporary thinning or thickening products or practices you could try. 🙂
So tell me, how densely populated is your Hair City? And the individuals that live up there, how thick are they?