Hair Texture vs. Hair Density
Hair density and hair texture often get confused but the truth is that hair texture and hair density are two entirely different things that play a huge role in your day to day hair decisions. For instance it's possible to have thin density and coarse hair texture or thick density and fine hair which makes things even more confusing (if you've ever been told you have fine hair but a lot of it, you know what we mean). Finding the right products and routine for your hair can be exhausting, expensive and frustrating, with many people experiencing a cabinet full of things they’ve tried that have failed. The problem is made even worse when you don’t know the language of how to figure out your hair texture vs density. Luckily we're here to help, let's break it down.
What Is Hair Density?
Hair density is the number of strands that grow per square inch from your scalp. Density refers to your hair as a whole, not individual strands. It can vary significantly over the years, and it changes as you age. Hair density is commonly described as thin, medium or thick, but some textures use different terms for the same thing (for example, fine/thin) so it can get confusing. To put it simply - low-density hair has few strands that are spaced far apart on your scalp; high-density hair has many strands that are closely packed together across your scalp. Anywhere in between is considered medium-density hair.
How To Measure Hair Density
There are three hair density levels: low, medium and high. To find out where you fall on the spectrum, gather the front area of your hair and pull it over to the side, revealing your scalp. If your scalp is clearly visible through the strands, you probably have low-density hair; if your scalp isn’t really visible beyond the part where you sectioned your hair, you have high-density hair; if neither condition applies to you but you regularly find yourself tugging at your roots to make them less obvious, you likely have medium density hair.
You can also measure density with a ponytail test. Just tie your hair into a ponytail, loop it with ribbon and measure the length against a ruler. If it’s less than two inches long, your hair is likely low-density. If it measures at four inches or more, your hair is on the denser side.
What Is Hair Texture?
The texture of your hair refers to the diameter of each individual strand. Hair texture ranges between three levels: coarse, medium and fine. Each texture has its own set of traits that set it apart from other textures, influencing both the care and treatment your hair needs. When discussing texture, we're talking about the actual "feel" and size of each individual strand. To figure out your hair's texture, pluck a single strand from the crown of your head and get up close. If it feels like a thread, you've got coarse hair. If it feels barely there, you've got fine hair. In between? Medium!
You can also have multi-textured hair. For example, some people have fine hair around the face and coarser hair near the neck, or vice versa. The most common words used to describe texture are fine, medium and coarse. Texture is also used when referring to curl patterns but curl patterns and waves have their own definition system (it’s a scale from 1 to 4 and A to C, a little more on that below) that works in tandem with density and traditional texture descriptions.
How To Measure Hair Texture
You can measure your hair texture by doing a simple strand test. Take a piece of hair and lay it on a flat piece of white paper, if the strand isn't easy to see or doesn't hold styles well, you probably have fine hair. If the strand is visible, not hard to feel, and holds styles fairly well, you likely have medium hair. If the individual strand is highly visible, easily felt between fingertips and holds styles well, your hair texture is considered coarse.
Hair Density VS Hair Texture
Here are a few key things to know about determining your texture and density. Knowing the difference between your texture and density can come in handy when booking a salon appointment, buying hair products or trying out a new hairstyle that you saw online.
Fine vs Thin
People tend to use the words 'fine' and 'thin' interchangeably when describing hair, though there is a difference between the two. Fine hair has a lower diameter than medium or coarse hair, which means it's thinner and less voluminous. It's also more fragile and more susceptible to damage from heat styling or chemical treatments. Those with fine hair often struggle with how physically soft their strands are. It can be hard to keep a ponytail or updo secure, as well as get your mane to hold a curl.
If you have fine hair, reach for products that will add body and hold to your lengths, which will make your style last longer. TO112 Dry Texture Spray is a great option for adding hold and a bit of texture to your hair after styling, its an invisible texture spray that is weightless, long-lasting and free of chalky build-up. This versatile styler creates an effortlessly tousled texture for blowout styles and next-day hair. And it's a better, healthier alternative to dry shampoo.
People with thin hair may not have fine, smooth strands, but they can often be identified by the fact that their ponytail is quite small when gathered together. If you’re able to see your scalp when you pull your hair back into a ponytail, then that’s a pretty good indicator of thinness. Thin hair can also be identified by the fact that it is often flat and has no volume.
If you have thin hair, do reach for thickening products. Hair products that boast a thickening action will temporarily plump up the actual diameter of your individual hair strands, making styling easier. TO112 Curl Mousse is great for injecting volume and thickness into your hair and is is an alcohol-free, never flaky, creamy smooth, no crunch mousse ideal for frizz-free bouncy curls and high-volume root styling. Specially formulated to encourage elasticity and bounce to weightlessly hold a natural curl or wave.
Coarse vs Thick
Thick and coarse are often used interchangeably, but they're not exactly the same thing. Thick hair doesn't always feel coarse like coarse hair isn't always thick. You can have thick, coarse hair, or you can have fine thick hair, or you can have medium-density coarse hair. The three are not mutually exclusive.
If you have thick hair, you probably have a lot of hair— it's hard to see your scalp. You may notice that your ponytail feels heavy on your head halfway through the day, it's probably because you have thick heavier hair. Don’t be afraid to ask your stylist for some extra texturizing or point cutting at your next appointment. When it comes to day-to-day styling, TO112 Superior Blowout Mist is your secret weapon. This heat-activated blowout mist is the weapon of choice to fight humidity for beautiful shiny hair. Producing long-lasting, glossy, frizz-free, salon-quality blowouts that last through up to three washes and not to mention it cuts blow drying time in half so it will save your arms (and your time) when styling.
The best way to determine whether you have coarse hair is to feel its texture. If it has a noticeably rough feel when you roll it between your fingers, it's likely coarse. Wiry, white or gray hair is a good example of coarse hair at the extreme end of the spectrum. Coarse hair typically feels and looks wider than a piece of sewing thread. If you have coarse hair, it can be harder to get it smooth and shiny. Some people find that their hair feels wiry or rough.
While coarse strands typically don’t lack volume, they do tend to frizz and poof more easily so you'll want to invest in a humidity shield like our TO112 Anti-Humectant Spray to protect beautifully styled hair and lock out humidity. Coarse-textured strands also tend to be more dehydrated than their counterparts, leading to more intense moisture needs. That’s where rich, deep-moisture products like TO112 Mega Moisture Mask come into play! This protein-free, intensive hydrating mask restores moisture in all dehydrated hair types — from straight coarse 1C hair, to the dehydration-prone, fragile, kinky curls of 4C hair. Formulated with botanical ingredients like Tamanu and Jojoba Oils blended with mega hydrator Cupuaçu Butter which carries 4x its weight in water.
Medium Texture vs Medium Density
Although texture and density can both be referred to as medium they are still two very different things. When discussing your own hair, it is important to specify whether you are referring to a medium texture or a medium density.
Medium density hair is hair that is neither too thick nor too thin. It falls in between the two extremes, and is usually defined as having around 90-150 strands of hair per square inch of scalp. This type of hair is often described as having a full, healthy look. It is not as prone to damage as fine hair, but not as voluminous as thick hair. It is also easier to style than either of the two extremes, as it is not too heavy or too light.
If you have medium-density hair, do be mindful of how much product you are using. You likely don’t need a gallon of conditioner or that much mousse. Too much product can quickly turn medium-density hair into sticky, flat hair. Go for lighter options like TO112 Hair Serum, its a hair polishing serum formulated with a moisturizing trio of tamanu, argan and jojoba oils in a lightweight serum that tames flyaways, mends and maintains shine without weighing your hair down.
Often called "medium" hair, this texture is actually in between fine and coarse textures. It's also known as average because it's the average between thin and thick. If you have medium-textured hair with a medium density, you probably don't struggle with many style challenges outside of frizzy days or wanting more volume.
Those blessed with medium-textured hair typically require less maintenance – so the focus is on nourishing your tresses to maintain hydration and suppleness with the nutrients your hair needs. Choosing a conditioner specifically formulated for medium hair, like our TO112 Conditioner for Normal Hair. This award-winning and perfectly balanced conditioner that is carefully crafted with aloe vera, tamanu and jojoba oils to hydrate hair for weightless shine. Infused with hydrolyzed wheat proteins and amino acids for strong healthy hair.
Texture vs Density Made Simple
We know there's a lot of crossover and density and texture can be tricky to understand. But basically, density refers to how thick your overall hair is. Texture on the other hand refers to the thickness of individual strands of hair. It's important to know how to tell the difference between these two things so you can get products that are right for your hair type and have hair you love to live in!