Understanding Density

Density is a common term you’ll hear related to hair systems. It refers to the amount of hair ventilated in a hair system base. Essentially, density refers to the overall thickness or thinness of the hair system (not individual hairs). At HairDirect, density is conveyed through six categories, from extra light to heavy — “extra light” being similar to the hair density of a man in his sixties or seventies, and “heavy” being similar to that of a young woman in her twenties with unusually thick hair.

Why density is so important

When you lose your hair and begin wearing a hair system, it’s common to want a lot of hair. You miss your hair, and want to restore it to its prime. However, we’ve found the tendency is for customers to overcompensate and request much more hair than is natural or realistic for a person of their age. The heavier the density, the less realistic — and therefore the more detectable — the hair system looks.

In other words, too much hair is the easiest way to tell someone is wearing a system.

Even though it’s tempting to want a very thick head of hair, bulky hair systems can be uncomfortable, hard to manage, difficult to attach, and challenging to keep attached for long periods, so it’s best to avoid the unnecessary annoyance.

For these reasons — and the fact that we have to pass on the production facilities’ increased cost for heavy density — unless you are blending with unusually thick growing hair, we rarely recommend a heavy density.

  Typical densities by age and gender

Everyone is different, but generally speaking, the chart below gives you an idea which densities are most appropriate for each age and gender. But again, your hair consultant will discuss this with you to ensure your system is ordered with the best density for you. It can be changed or corrected if it’s not quite right.

Keep in mind that men and women with normal hair growth and recession don’t typically lose the same amount of hair in the same areas. Nor is it expected for a woman to show a lot of scalp, even in advancing years. For that reason, the age-appropriate density recommendations are not the same for each gender.

Density scales vary widely from vendor to vendor, so don’t assume ours is the same as another vendor. There are many, many factors that affect the density recommendations for your hair system, including hair color, wave and curl, length, and base type.

Age Male Female
Up to 35 Medium to Medium light Medium
36-45 Light to Medium light Medium to Medium light
46-55 Medium light to Light Medium to Medium light
Over 55 Light to Extra light Medium to Light

Base material thresholds

Each base material we offer has its own threshold for the amount of hair it can hold. This is because some materials are so fine that if too much hair is ventilated into the base, the hair will shed quickly and the base will break down. So, based on your requirements for a certain base material (such as breathability and durability), the amount of hair our production facilities can put into that base material varies.

Following are the density thresholds for each base material:

  • Thin skin: Medium Light
  • Lace: Medium
  • Monofilament: Heavy

Factors that affect density

There are several factors that can influence density.

  • Manufacturing inconsistencies – The density of your hair system will always vary a tiny bit between orders since the systems are made by hand.
  • Different vendors/production facilities – Each vendor (online or retail center) uses its own density scale to communicate with the production facilities that make hair systems.
  • Tweaking density between orders – Understanding the inherent variation that is to be expected with a handmade product, we highly recommend you do not constantly tweak density from one system to the next.

  • Base type – Due to the thickness of the base material (lace, skin, monofilament), the density may look and feel a little different.

  • Age – Men and women both experience hair thinning and recession as they age and this should be reflected in the density of the hair system.
  • Hairstyle – A certain amount of hair is needed to achieve certain hairstyles, and your ventilation style (brush forward, brush back, left part) may dictate your needs for density.

  • Blending into growing hair – If you’re blending your hair system into your growing hair, we may recommend different densities for certain areas of your hair system.

  • Wave and curl – The tighter the wave or curl, the greater effect it has on the appearance of density, making the hair appear much thicker than it is, because the curl creates a natural volume lacking in straighter hair.

  • Hair color – High contrast between skin and hair color can make densities appear thinner (such as dark color hair against light skin tones and light hair against dark skin tones). The reverse is also true: light hair blends in with light skin tones and dark hair blends with dark skin tones, making hair density appear thicker.