How to Determine Your Natural Hair Density & Why It Matters

The density of your natural hair is the number of hair follicles on your head and how closely packed together they are. You can have high density, low density, or medium density strands. The density of your hair plays a factor in how much volume you can achieve with styling, most notably. Aside from appearance, the density of your hair can also help you decide which products and methods may provide more benefit for you. Here is how to determine the density of your natural hair and why it matters:

natural hair density
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The simplest way to determine the density of your natural hair is to take a look in the mirror with your hair in a dry state. Without parting your hair, check to see if it is easy to see your scalp from various points of view – look at it both up close and further away as it hangs loosely. If you can easily see your scalp, your hair follicles aren’t as densely packed together and would be considered low density hair. If you can see some parts of your scalp but not as clearly, this would fall under medium density hair. If it is hard to see your scalp without parting your hair someway, you have high density hair.


Determining the density of your natural hair can help you to better care for your strands with products that will provide more benefit. In addition, knowing your hair density will allow you to follow various methods that can help you to maximize your results with styling.

Knowing the density of your natural hair can help with:


Your hair’s density can affect the way your natural hairstyles turn out. Those with high density strands are usually able to naturally achieve more volume with their styles. For those with low density hair, since there are not as many densely packed together hair follicles throughout the scalp, the hair may have to be manipulated more to achieve volume.


When detangling, our natural hair is easily prone to breaking off due to the various bends and spirals throughout the structure of the hair strand. This is why it is important that you are not rushing through the detangling process and are gentle. The density of your hair can additionally play a role. If you have thicker, high density hair, you may have to take more time when detangling to avoid further breakage. Those with low density hair however, may be able to get away with detangling in larger sections.

Type of products

Heavy products tend to weigh down low density strands. Those with this hair attribute may find more benefit with lighter weight products like leave-in sprays and conditioners with lots of slip. High density hair may require more product to reach the entirety of one’s strands. Thicker creams and butters may provide more benefit to high density strands to help ensure moisture is adequately spread.

natural hair density
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  • Detangle your hair in smaller sections to prevent unnecessary breakage.
  • Try layered cuts for even more dimension and volume.
  • Styling creams sometimes offer a softer hold and more volume in comparison with gels.
  • Put your hair in a puff/pineapple while drying and then take down and fluff when dry for more volume.
  • Stretched styles like twist-outs and braid-outs can help to increase the appearance of more length and volume.
  • Use a diffuser when drying your hair to help increase volume.
  • Avoid layering too many products or using too heavy of products to maintain volume.
  • Use a hair pick comb at the roots after your styles have dried to help increase volume.
  • High top layers can help to create the appearance of more volume.
  • Avoid using heavy-weight products that may weigh the hair down.
  • Try volumizing hair products if desired.
  • Gently stretch your hair at the roots and apply a blow dryer to create volume.

Along with hair density, the porosity of your natural hair plays a part in how to care for your natural hair. Click here to read more about hair porosity and why it’s important:

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