What is Low-Density Hair and How to Take Care of It
Besides texture, thickness and length, another important metric that helps us decide what hair products to use is hair density. There are three categories of hair density: low density, medium density and high density and each one has to be treated in a special way. In this article, we are going to dive deeper into what low-density hair is, why it matters and how to upkeep it so that it stays healthy and beautiful.
What is low-density hair?
Well, many people fail to tell the difference between hair density from hair thickness. However similar they might look at first sight, they are two separate metrics. Hair density shows us how many hair strands are found on a square inch on the scalp. Typically, a person with healthy hair has around 2,200 fibers per square inch. It should not be confused with hair thickness which is the length of the circumference of one hair strand. Simply put, it tells us how thick or thin a hair strand is, while hair density describes the collective thickness of a group of hair fibers.
Another important thing we would like to mention is that the two metrics do not always go shoulder to shoulder. That said, high-density hair doesn't necessarily mean high-thickness hair. You can have low-density hair but the strand to be thick, and the other way around, the hair to be highly dense but the strand thin.
How to measure hair density?
Of course, you can outline a square inch on your scalp and count the strands of hair that fit within it one by one. However, you will waste a lot of time doing this tedious task, especially if you have dense hair. A faster way would be to tie your hair in a ponytail and measure its circumference. If it's less than two inches, your hair is low density, two to three inches stands for medium density, while four and more inches will hint at a high-density hair.
Many men, though, have hair that is too short to be tied in a ponytail. In this case, you have to try to take a look at your scalp. If you see the skin without moving the hair aside, your hair density is low. If nothing is visible except from the hair, you have high-density hair.
Why does it matter?
Knowing your hair density helps you choose your maintenance products and decide on the most suitable haircut. For a low hair density, it is recommended to give up on heavy products, such as: styling gels and butters that weigh down the hair, increasing the risk of breakage. It is important to understand that high-density hair creates a higher collective resistance to heavy styling products. The weight of the gel, butter or cream is distributed evenly on all hair strands, minimizing pressure and reducing the "weigh down" effect.
This doesn't happen with the hair that has a low density though. Each fiber of hair, sparsely spread on the scalp, takes on a heavy pressure which wears them down fast, making them weaker and weaker up until they give up and break. This is why, you should use lighter styling products, including mousses and leave-in sprays to protect your precious hair strands from falling off and leaving you bald.
Also, you are recommended to replace the traditional shampoo with a dry shampoo which is as effective but not so heavy. It works as a spray, eliminating a light starch on the hair that fights grease and dirt, without weighing down the hair as gel shampoos do. Alternatively, you can try the powder version of dry shampoo that is also light but requires a little bit more effort in application.
As a whole, you know you have low-density hair when your back hair ponytail measures two or fewer inches, or when you look at your scalp and see it clearly through your hair. This must encourage you to give up on heavy styling and care products, like creams, butters and gel shampoos that weigh the hair down leading to breakage. Products that are recommended to use with hair with low density include leave-in sprays, dry shampoos, and mousses.
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