WHAT IS HAIR DENSITY?
Hair density is the amount of hair strands on the head. Generally, it is measured by counting the number of hair strands found in one square inch (2.5cm) of scalp. Most people refer to “density” by describing how “thick” or “close” the hair is on the scalp.
The classifications of natural hair density are generally categorized as thin, medium, and thick. The average head has approximately 2,200 strands of hair per square inch, and a total of approximately 100,000 hairs.
DETERMINING HAIR DENSITY
The most accurate way to determine hair density is to count the number of strands growing in a 1×1″ area of the scalp. Counting each individual strand of hair per 1”x1” area of scalp can prove to be quite time consuming. Luckily, there are easier ways to make a quick assessment to determine your hair density.
Starting with dry hair, allow your hair to hang loosely in an un-parted, natural state. From a variety of angles, look closely to determine how easily the scalp can be viewed.
- Low Density – Much of your scalp can be viewed easily.
- Medium Density – Very little of your scalp can be viewed.
- High Density – The scalp is difficult or impossible to see.
Carve out a small section of your hair. Divide the section in half with your middle finger.
- Low Density – Hair is extremely easy to part. You will be able to view a lot of scalp in the area.
- Medium Density – Parting the section was not too easy or difficult. You will be able to see some of the scalp.
- High Density – It took a bit of effort to part the section with your middle finger and the scalp if barely viewable.
Knowing your hair density will help you choose the right products, styles and cuts to maintain the volume of your hair.
THE BEST PRODUCTS AND STYLES FOR EACH HAIR DENSITY TYPE
Use light products that won’t reduce its volume and weigh it down.
Consider using volumizing and dry shampoos. Volumizing conditioners with thickening agents will assist the hair in looking fuller.
The use of mousse with a voluminous agent will give the appearance of thicker hair. Also leave-in conditioners containing thickening ingredients are quite helpful.
Rounded hairstyles will give low density hair extra volume and bounce.
Texture can be enhanced by a variety of styles, haircuts and products. Heavier creams and butters will give your hair more weight and allow it to hang. Dry shampoo and mousse can also be used if you desire to increase the volume.
Popular styles include altering your curl pattern with the use of twists and braids. Also, simple Wash ‘n ‘go’s will allow your natural texture to shine through.
You can be amazingly creative with medium density hairstyles!
Thicker density will require heavy products (such as butters, gels and cremes) to reduce volume and hold your curls together. There is an assortment of styling products available that are great for this type of density.
Normally, layered hairstyles are best supported high density hair.
HAIR DENSITY IN WIGS
Categorizing hair density is slightly different regarding wigs and hairpieces. Reference charts are handy to determine the wig hair density if it is not able to be determined by visual inspection alone. Wig hair density is often communicated with a percentage range.
The density chart shows the different thickness levels that you can choose for your lace wig.
DENSITY LEVELS FOR LACE WIGS
- Light Density (60%) is thin and does not have much volume. A full wig at 60% is great for elderly clients.
- Light to Medium Density (100%) is described as having a light density at the hairline and a medium density throughout the remaining area of the wig. Light to Medium density is the most natural looking and is highly requested for custom lace fronts as well as full lace wigs.
- Medium Density (100% – 120%) is the average density level.
- Medium to Heavy Density (130 – 150%+) is extremely thick and doesn’t appear to be very natural. Performers usually desire to have wigs created with this density.
It is generally better to request more hair ventilated into the wig than less because you can always thin it out. Having more hair will also provide room to accommodate for normal shedding from daily grooming. Lighter density units with a density less than 80% often require frequent repairs and maintenance.
When consulting with a client, it is great to have the hair density ranges available to quickly view. Most wig making professionals carry a handy hair density ring or chart to help clients choose the preferred density for the custom wig unit.
HOW WIG DENSITY AFFECTS STYLING
The hair density chosen for your wig unit is based on personal choice and what looks best on you. However, the most natural density combination happens to be light-to-medium.
What is light-to-medium hair density? This density is created by hair being ventilated very light and thin along the hairline (or the full perimeter of the wig). This is great if the client desires a wig with baby hair.
The crown area of the wig will be constructed moderately thicker (medium) for a fuller look.
This combination is very popular for daily wig-wearers because lighter densities will be much easier to style and appear more natural.
Thicker densities will take more effort to style. Not to mention that more products will be used to “style” the hair.
HAIR DENSITY USING HAIR BUNDLES TO CREATE WIGS
One hair bundle1 is approximately 3.5 – 4 oz. (100 – 114 grams) depending on the selected vendor.
It is a rule of thumb that the “longer” the length of the bundle, the more hair you will need.
It is because the longer the hair, the shorter the weft. Remember that the bundles are measured by weight. Shorter length bundles are conveniently thicker than longer bundles. Normally, 3 bundles will be more than enough for most hairstyles.
Also, be informed that virgin hair naturally thins out toward the roots, so more bundles may be required for added volume.
HOW MANY BUNDLES WILL YOU NEED TO ACHIEVE YOUR DESIRED LOOK?
You may ask yourself the following questions before purchasing hair bundles:
- Do I plan to wear a Silk Base Closure of Lace Frontal?
- Am I leaving my edges out or will it be a full sew-in?
- What type of hair will give me a full, natural look?
- How much hair is in one bundle?
- Is the weight of hair per bundle or pack2?
- How many bundles will I need for MY desired style?
Different factors will go into play when determining how many hair bundles will be needed to create the desired look. Remember that the “desired look” is your unique preference, so it may differ among individuals.
The size of your head and the length of hair will play a great role in the appearance in your completed hairstyle. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I plan to wear any of my natural hair out?
- According to my supplier, how many ounces are in my bundle?
- How many bundles are required to achieve my desired look?
- Am I planning on wearing a Lace Frontal, 360 Wig or Silk Base Closure?
- How many bundles will I need to obtain a natural looking wig or full sew-in as referenced in the hair density chart?
To make your decision easier, we’ve provided quick reference charts to help you make an informed decision regarding your selection:
BUNDLE MEASUREMENT CHART (LENGTH ONLY)
The chart below will assist you with deciding how many bundles you will need based on length only. Remember that shorter length bundles are thicker than longer bundles. Three bundles of hair are usually sufficient to complete a hairstyle.
The average size of a woman’s head in the U.S. is 22.5” inches. (view head measurement chart) You will need to adjust the amount of bundles purchased to accommodate your head size. Simply measure the circumference of your head (how to take customer head measurements) and view the head measurement chart to determine your head size.
You may require more hair if your head is above average. Less hair will be required if your head is smaller.
Lace closures and lace frontals are optional, but they will offer a more natural-looking hairstyle without requiring any of your natural hair to be exposed. (Leave-out)
Lace closures are available in sizes 3.5” x 4” and 4”x4”. Standard lace closures offered are 13” x 4”. You save by purchasing less bundles when wearing a closure or frontal.
HAIR DENSITY AND BUNDLE CHART
1Bundle – A hair bundle is a term used when describing high-quality, virgin, unprocessed hair. The hair is essentially collected from the donor (in its purest form), bundled together with cuticles intact and sewn onto a single weft. All strands of hair will be flowing in the same direction, thus making the hair tangle-free. Bundles are typically ordered from a reputable hair supplier. Common lengths of bundled hair range from 10 – 40 inches. Various hair types are available, but not limited to, Cambodian, Malaysian, Brazilian, Vietnamese, and Indian.
Qualities associated with hair bundles are the lack of shedding and the ability to be colored, tangle-free and lasts longer than conventional hair extensions and wefts purchased a local retail beauty supply stores.
Most bundles are commonly offered in color 1B – also known as dark brown/black. Currently the highest, most expensive grade of bundled hair is 10A.
2Pack of Hair (Packaged Hair) – A pack of hair is normally offered at a local Beauty Supply store. Packaged hair is typically inexpensive and very low in quality. This hair is collected the combs of primarily poor countries all over the world. The hair is then heavily processed and chemically treated by stripping the cuticles and treating the hair with silicone (non-Remy). Shedding and matting are often typical results of packaged hair. Packaged hair is not able to be colored because of being heavily processed and chemically treated. (Packs of hair are available in synthetic, human hair mixed with nylon threads and other animal hair such as Yak / Yaki.)
View our the Amid Beauty Resource Page to learn more wig-related information.
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