What is Strand Density? Why is it Important?

Strand Density is a very important component that makes up your unique hair profile. Understanding the thickness of your stands is the key to choosing the right hair care methods, products, and styles that align with your mane. We give you a guide on how to determine your strands density!


What is Strand Density?


Ever plucked a strand of your hair off your head and rubbed it in between your fingers? That's because our hairs are fibrous and have a cylindrical shape including a specific width. Strand Density refers to this width and defines how thick each individual strand of your hair is.


Strand thickness also refers to how how much protein is present in the biological makeup of your hair strands. Typically the finer the strand, the few proteins present and the thicker the strand, the more proteins present.


What Determines your Strand Thickness?


The width, or the thickness, of your hair strands will determine its density. There are three different ranges of how strand thickness is classified which range from fine (A) to medium (B) to coarse (C).

Got fine strands? Then listen up! Fine strands means you have less protein in your strand makeup which translates to thinner, weaker strands that are more susceptible to breakage. What about course strands? Coarse strands often have more protein in the makeup of the hair which translates to thicker, stronger strands that can withstand manipulation through style. Medium strands lie in the middle and hold characteristics of both of these types.


Okay okay here's what you want. To get a better idea of where you fall on the strand density spectrum, take a strand of your hair (either pluck it straight from the source, grab it from a brush, or lift it while attached to your head) and rub it between your finger. If you don't feel anything, you have fine strands. If the hair is very noticeable, you have coarse strands. If you can't really tell, you most likely have medium strands.


Another way to test is by taking that same strand and holding it up next to a piece of thread. If your stand is as thick as or thicker than the thread, your strands lean more to the coarser side. If your hair is thinner that the thread, your strands fall on the finer side.


Why is it Important?


So...why does it even matter?? Great question! Strand Density is important because it determines how much manipulation your hair can handle. No no no, we're not talking about covert tactics to socially influence your stands. Manipulation refers to the methods you use to care for you hair. For our delicate, fine strand friends out there, reach for the comb over the brush and avoid styles that pull tightly on your strands or include lots of added or synthetic hair. Coarse strands can handle more manipulation however it's best to do this when the hair is wet as it is easier for thicker stands to tangle and become matted.


As mentioned earlier, the thickness of your strands also helps you choose products that will ACTUALLY work for your hair. Thinner strands can get weighed down very easily by layering products and by products that use heavy ingredients like butters and thick oils. Look for lightweight, multiuse products that are water based and light on proteins. Thicker strands require thicker products and LOTS of it to cover the strands and help them lay down. Choose products that are formulated with rich ingredients like shea butter and castor oil and make sure you have enough on deck so you can be generous in application. Remember, to achieve healthy hair you must care for it properly. Knowing your strand density will help you understand what care methods are for you and which ones are for their birds.