Thick Vs Thin Hair (Thickness and Hair Density)

With the increase of natural hair popularity, there are hundreds of terminologies used to describe different things about the hair.

You will hear of thick, thin, fine, straight, curly, coily and wavy among others. A few years ago, I would ask why do I have to know them anyway?

Today I know the essence, without you knowing your hair type how will you maintain it?

My hair care routine has gotten much easier because of knowing what products to use and when. Also, I understand how to style my thin hair which over a long time I had neglected.


What Is Thick Hair?

This refers to the size of the width of a single strand. And, in this case, it usually has a larger width than average.

Thick HairBy the way, people confuse the density of the hair for thickness. Just because your hair is a fuller ponytail than most doesn’t mean you have thick hair. It could be dense. So, you would ask density and thickness aren’t the same? and we say no they aren’t.

So, the thickness refers to the width of the strand (More details). On the other hand, density is the number of hairs that grow on your head.

When you have a small circumference on your hair though, we say that you have fine hair.

How to Tell If You Have Thick Hair

There are so many signs that will show you that you have thick hair.

The hair normally sheds massively: this is regardless of the products you use to keep the hair in place. The hair grows a lot but you also shed too much.

The hair ties: you won’t use just any form of hair tie for your hair. Sometimes not even the rubber bands work.

It takes a lot of time to dry the hair: it takes a short time to dry the hair after you have washed it when you have thin or normal thickness. For thick hair, you have to give the hair more minutes to properly dry. This is uncomfortable for people who don’t enjoy the heat on the head.

You must use the conditioner to smoothen it: often times, the thickness of the hair goes hand in hand with the coarseness. For this reason, you need to condition the hair every so often to make it manageable. You will use a lot of conditioner than those with regular hairdo.

The hair is hard to manage during hot temperatures: You might even have your scalp sweating profusely.

Takes time to make the hair: some stylists shy away from working on your hair as it consumes a lot more time.

You can’t just decide to wash your hair in the morning and off you go to work. You will be walking around in wet hair.

How to Measure the Hair Thickness

You won’t know the thickness of your hair unless you measure it. The diameter of the hair will let you know the thickness of the hair.

Strand test

  • Pluck a single strand of your hair then hold it between your fingers.
  • If you can’t feel the hair, know that you have fine hair.
  • If you can feel it a little bit, you have medium hair
  • But if you can feel that you have a strong and thick strand, then you have thick strand hair.

More reading: The thickness of Human Hair 

Compare the strand with the thread

Another method you could use is taking a strand of your hair and place it next to a slim thread. If it is the same diameter as the thread, you have medium hair. If you have slimmer or thicker diameter than the thread, it’s just either thick or thin.

Use the laser diffraction method

The ideal method to measure your hair though is in using the laser diffraction. This is the accurate way to measure the thickness of your hair strands.

Although it’s accurate it may work for the scientists or those in a salon and who are concerned about the accuracy of their work.

The Average Thickness of The Hair

The only way to be sure of the thickness of your hair is in knowing the exact diameter of the hair. Notice that you may have a big difference in the diameter of the hair from other people who are members of your family.

This difference is sometimes influenced by the color of the hair. Statistics indicate that the red hair is thinner than black hair. So, this means that the weather affects not only the color of your hair but also the diameter.

When the weather changes, the body of the hair also rises. But aside from all these, the most important determinant of your hair thickness is the genetic composition.

So according to the European statistics, if you have 0.04-0.06mm your hair is thin.

If you have 0.06-0.08mm your hair is average and

If you have 0.08-1mm then your hair is thick.

If you are unable to understand this method, use the inches statistic. The average thickness of a human hair is normally 0.003-0.005 inches. Anything higher or lower is thick and fine respectively.

Remember, the hair from different parts of your body differ in thickness. You also might have different thicknesses at different parts of your head. However. such a scenario is not popular.

How to Get A Thicker Hair When Yours Is Thin

You know, it’s in the nature of us human beings to want that which we lack. So, while you may not have thick hair, sometimes you will want to have thick hair. We have had so many people try to teach us how to make the hair thick again.

Marketers come up with products that aren’t as effective. Their aim is to make that single sale again. So, since we aren’t marketers and are rooting for you, we hope to give you the solution to developing thick hair.

Remember, changing your hair is a process. So, you need patience.

  • Washing the hair

When you wish to thicken your hair, the products you use to wash the hair should nurture it not strip it of its natural oils. Thus, stay away from sulfate shampoo.

While they give you a thorough clean, they will cause dryness and this leads to your hair follicle damage.

There are many sulfate free shampoos and below are my 3 best shampoos

1. SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo

I can bet that I love SheaMoisture products and maybe because it really suits my hair. In packing moisture in your hair follicles, you develop strong and healthy hair. The shampoo here has all the right ingredients to nourish your hair.

What’s even better is that it’s a sulfate free shampoo. It will take time but you will soon realize your dream of developing healthy hair.

2. OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Shampoo

This shampoo is moisturizing and hydrating. This is what you need to develop some form of thickness. It’s also sulfate-free and your hair will remain glowing and healthy.

The hair will become hydrated and balanced. It’s also not a heavy shampoo rather purely light kind of shampoo.

3. Pureology Strength Cure Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Another type of shampoo that may work for anyone with thin or average hair looking to develop thick hair is the pureology shampoo. It contains no sulfate and it’s a restorative antioxidant product. It contains no sulfates and its great to work with.

  • You can use different thickeners

I’m not such an advocate for the thickening agents because they don’t always work yet they raise our hopes. However, I have found that using the right oils like coconut oil, avocado oil, and argan oil gives body to the hair.

The products over time will make your hair appear healthy and full.

  • Change your styles

If you have fine hair, quit making straight hair as that just shows how the hair is thin. Instead, make styles like waves and curls, you will have an immediate increase in the body.

This is effective when you aim to nourish your hair more. It adds moisture to the hair and nourishing vitamins too.

  • Use hair extensions

Hair extensions are a quick fix. Depending on the hair you want you can simply wear the extension. There are thousands of hair extensions in the market so you can get yourself one that suits your fine hair.

Difference Between Thick and Fine Hair

The different thicknesses of your hair determine the kind of products you may use for the same. Also, the style you wear will differ.

Below are the major differences

There’s a difference in appearance

To see the difference, simply do the following:

  • Wash the hair and don’t dry it or style it.
  • Pull a strand of your hair to the front of the face.
  • Take a keen look.

The hair is thick if:

  • The hair strand is clear and visible.
  • You can feel the coarseness rolling it between your fingers.

The hair is fine if:

  • It’s barely visible.
  • You can’t even feel the hair on your fingers.

Measure the ponytail size

Well, this is not as effective but it shows you the evidence of thickness or thinness.

The hair is thick if you find that when you measure the circumference it is at over four inches.

The hair is thin if it’s at two inches in circumference.

Hair density

Hair density is not the thickness of the hair. It has a major impact on the thickness of the hair though.

While this may not necessarily be true at all times, it’s mostly is true that if you have high density you most likely have thick hair and vice versa.

For the density, it’s said that on average you will have 2200 strand on a square inch

What of the hair follicle?

Not most people understand that hair follicle affects the thickness of the hair. The largeness or smallness of the follicles is directly related to the size of the shaft.

If you have large hair follicles then you definitely have thicker hair.

If yours are smaller follicles then you have thin hair follicles.


You will notice a difference between your fine and thick hair depending on the cuts you make on the hair. For thick hair, you need to use styles that will make the thickness feel normal. So, you are required to make the layered styles.

Thin hair, on the other side, requires you to make blunt cuts at the end and this then makes the hair appear thick. The aim of your cuts should be to create illusions. In addition, make curling styles if you have thin hair but straighter styles for those who have thick hair.

Color and ethnicity

This is not a clear-cut rule but it happens that your color and ethnicity may influence the thickness of the hair.

As we had mentioned earlier, if you have red hair, for example, your hair will be thinner than that of those with black hair.

Asians are often said to have thicker hair than Europeans. However, since there’s no way to describe the reason why some black hair is fine and red hair thick, this is not an accurate way to know the difference.

Difference Between Thin Hair and Fine Hair

Another thing that people can’t get a hold of is whether the hair is thin or fine hair. often people use the term thin and fine hair interchangeably which is not accurate.

What is thin hair?

Thin hair refers to the density of the hair follicle. its described as you having fewer hair follicles packed together. It’s, therefore, easier to further describe the hair as low density or sparse hair than it is for you to use the term thin hair.

So, this is why you will have the scalp being visible. Nevertheless, you can have thin and fine hair or thin and coarse hair like mine.

What is fine hair?

This is in reference to the diameter of the hair. It refers to the diameter of the single strand of hair. So, if you have fine hair, you have below the average thickness of the hair diameter. It’s usually at 70 microns.

With fine hair, you will have just 2 inches circumference of a ponytail. For the most part, those with fine hair complain that it’s harder to style this kind of hair.

Therefore, the major difference here is that the fine hair is the diameter of the hair strand while the thin hair is the density of the hair.

Hair Density Vs Hair Thickness

For you to understand this subtopic well you need to know that though they are related there’s a clear difference between the hair density and thickness.

The hair density refers to the count of the hair per head or section of the head while the thickness refers to the width of a single strand of hair.

To test

For the density, you can either count the hair which is next to impossible or do the scalp test.

For the thickness, you should do the strand test as we had earlier mentioned.

Now, remember there’s a difference in how you cater to the different hair density and thickness. The products you use may vary a little bit but not too much since they are related.

Let’s Talk About Volume

This is another terminology that confuses most people. We believe that the volume should be the same as the thickness.

Hair volume refers to the fullness of the hair not really the flatness of the hair. It refers to the body of the hair while the thickness refers to the diameter of a strand of the hair.

While there are those of us who are born with voluminous hair, some people make it voluminous using the hair products.

Often times you will find that if you have thick hair you are more likely to have voluminous hair than when you have fine hair. The high-density hair is also more voluminous hair.

Reasons Why Your Hair Doesn’t Appear Voluminous

  • Making the hair greasy

When you don’t wash your hair regularly to get rid of grease that is caused by humidity, dirt and natural oils, you will develop flat hair. Use the right shampoo and conditioner for this kind of hair and over time you develop the volume.

Use the dry shampoos and sometimes clarifying shampoos.

  • Fine and thin hair

Since your genetic composition gives you the fine and thin hair, it’s going to be quite hard to develop volume with the hair. Although you can use products and styles that make you look like you have volume for the hair.

  • Styling and products

Sometimes, people use the wrong style and products for their hair type and in such moments, your hair will develop the low volume.

Understand your hair type and then take care of it using the appropriate products that work for it. Nowadays, I refuse to listen to marketers and some stylist before doing my research on the products to use. They can really mislead you if you aren’t careful.

How to Determine the Density of Your Hair

When it comes to testing the hair density, you have two choices.

  • Do the scalp test
  • Count the hair which is so much work and you may not have the time let alone the fact that you will lose count in the process.

The popular method is to scalp test

Wash your hair clean and don’t use a dryer to dry it rather let it dry on its own. Do not use any products before the test.

  • Go in front of the camera for the test.
  • Look at the hair and scalp, if you can see through your hair to the scalp without even parting it, you have low density.
  • If only a few parts of your scalp are visible then you have the medium-density and if you can’t see the scalp, you have high-density hair.

What Is Low-Density Hair?

Typically, the low density says that the number of individual strands on your head is lower than normal. Typically, your scalp is visible and this normally makes it hard to style the hair.

  • The secret to maintaining this hair is to use all the right products.
  • Embrace the hair anyway and learn to listen to the products it’s calling for.
  • Don’t make the mistake of using heavy weight products for this kind of hair.

What Is High-Density Hair?

Here, we are just talking of the opposite of the low-density one.  It means that you have more individual strand than the average. While most low-densities envy people with high-density, they too have their own problems.

They experience tangles which means that you need to detangle the hair using certain products.

Making Your Hair Look Thinner

It’s normal for humans to want to cross to the other side of the river. We think that it’s better than where you currently are. Those with thick hair want fine hair and vice versa. Sometimes you may want to experience a little bit of fine hair.

The major problem that those with thick hair experience is that they have poufy hair. Below are the methods to use to improve this.

  • You can cut the hair a bit

There are styles that suit you if you have thick hair. Any style with layers is the cut you need to make the hair appear thinner. Use thinning shears for this though.

  • Use selective shampoos

Just like any kind of hair, you need to use selected shampoos. Preferably use the smoothing shampoos. Your aim here is to tame the frizz completely. Always use a conditioner that includes a leave-in conditioner.

  • Only use lukewarm or cool water

If you use the hot water your hair will frizz and appear even bulkier and that’s not what you want. Using the cool water keep the frizz tamed while retaining the natural oils thus making it look manageable.

  • Flat iron it to style it every once in a while

Your hair will look sleek smooth when you use a flat iron. It, in fact, appears less thick. While too much use of flat iron on your hair can be damaging it does work to keep your hair thinner and stylish at the same time.

  • Use different hairstyles

There are different styles meant for those with thick hair. The common one is layers. It makes your hair appear less thick. You should make such styles. Also, make sure you only use shampoos and conditioners that are marked as hydrating and smoothing.

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