As mentioned in the texture post, the terminology used for density and texture are often confused. Fine and coarse are terms to describe single strands, while thin and thick reference the number of strands in any give area of your head. So your hair can just as easily be thick and fine or thin and coarse.
Density is the number of strands you have. Just because nothing is ever black and white with curls, you can have different density on different parts of your head. Lots of people find that they have plenty of hair on the top and back of their heads, but don’t have nearly as much on the sides above their ears.
Why does density matter? Because it’s helpful to know what you’re working with when you’re trying to figure out what products are going to help achieve your desired look and what cut will suite you best.
How Do You Determine Density?
The most scientific way would be to count the hairs on a section of your head, but I can’t even fathom that level of patience- it’d be in the thousands for one inch of your head. Your next best bet is just to check how much of your scalp is visible. As you flip your hair around, if you see scalp with no effort, you’re low density. If you can see your scalp, but you have to be looking for it, you’re medium. If you can’t see your scalp without getting super close to the mirror, you’re high density. Onto the tips!
If you have low density hair, you may find that you’d rather sacrifice definition to get the volume you’re trying to achieve. Lightweight stylers will be your best bet and you may opt to forgo gels entirely since they’d create too much definition. You may want to consider trying mousses and foams since they tend to be airier and allow for more lift. I wish I had more recommendations for mousses and foams that I like for you, but my hair just doesn’t take to them that well. Root clipping for volume and doing things like shaking or picking out your roots may also help achieve some of the root coverage you’re looking for without sacrificing all of your definition.
You’ll also want to consider the nature of your hair when getting a cut since you’ll want something that falls flat well.
As per usual- I don’t have much to say for medium. Depending on the look you prefer, or want for that wash day, will depend on the products and cut you gravitate towards. You’ve got the best of both worlds and the most versatility.
Mostly me. I have some medium density spots after having a kid, but I still have plenty of hair.
If you have high density hair, you may find yourself gravitating towards products that are best for definition since you already have some natural volume built in. Outside of using gel for definition, you may want to try some products that are on the heavier side since the extra moisture will help keep your clumps together and defined. Your ideal haircut will depend on how much volume you want and a good stylist will help you figure out the best cut to keep your volume a bit more tamed or to have it be sky high. Applying your stylers in sections, whether it be actually clipping up portions of your hair to apply in sections or just lifting up a portion while your head is flipped, will be the best way to assure you’re getting even coverage since traditional scrunching would likely leave large sections of your hair untouched.
If you don’t have low density hair all over, but just have some lower density spots, you’ll want to find a good stylist who will be able to put those areas into consideration when giving you your shape since those spots will lose volume faster. You can also play around with just applying products for lift where you really need it- like applying some foam at your roots in those specific areas. No one ever said you had to apply product everywhere if you don’t need it there. Scalp massages can also help if you’ve lost density for any number of reasons, I just don’t know how much they’d help if you’ve never had it.
Don’t forget to check out the other posts on my Curl Knowledge 101 page!