The Reality of Thin Density 4C Natural Hair And What “To Do” about It

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Starpuppy_
(IG: Starpuppy_)

Thin hair is something that a great deal of us struggle with, but don’t talk about nearly enough. Yes, there are solutions, tips, and a whole lot of information out there to help us become knowledgeable about what thin hair actually is and how to deal with it⁠—it just isn’t being utilized. A lot of this has to do with the fact that most of the women we go to for advice in the natural hair community don’t always cater to this particular problem. It’s super unfortunate, but luckily it doesn’t stop you from learning how to successfully care for and style your own thin 4C hair.

Let’s start with coming to an understanding about what it actually means to have “thin hair”. When we say thin hair, we are talking about low density hair⁠—this is not to be confused with fine hair. Low density is basically when the strands of hair on your head are lower than the average, which is about 2200 per square inch. Now most of us simply don’t have the time to count each strand on our head, so here are some easy indicators of having low density hair:

  • While your hair is in it’s natural state, you can easily see your scalp without parting or moving your hair.
  • You have to put in a ton of effort to achieve decent volume for your hair.
  • When you put your hair in a ponytail or bun, it is thinner or flatter. You can actually measure the circumference of your ponytail and if it’s less than two or three inches, it’s likely that you have low density hair.

What are some causes of low density hair? 

  • Genetics. Some of us simply are born with low density hair.
  • Stress. Stress can cause both rapid and gradual hair loss and thinning.
  • Aging. Hormonal changes can result in low density hair, even if your hair had always been high density.
  • Health Conditions. Conditions such as Lupus or Alopecia, as well as some medications associated with these conditions, can cause hair loss through inflammation, deficiencies, and other reasons. Resulting in low density hair.

How you handle your low density hair comes down to why you have it. To be perfectly clear, if you have naturally thin hair, this isn’t something to fix or even be ashamed of⁠—it’s simply just how your hair is and there’s nothing wrong with that.

So, if I wanted to increase my hair density, what are some things I can do?

Massaging your scalp with Jamaican Black Castor Oil, thickening shampoos and conditioners, herbal remedies, and various protein-based hair masks are some things that are said to increase hair density.

The reality of this is that you can absolutely try all of these things, but you have to be prepared for them to not work in the way you want them to. For most women, low density hair is something they’ll have for life, so you’ll have to get clever and create the illusion of thicker, fuller hair.

If there isn’t a way to change my low density hair, then how should I care for and style it?

First and foremost, don’t stress yourself. Low density hair is actually quite easy to care for, and can even be easier to handle than thicker, high density hair. When it comes to styling and caring for low density hair, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Low density hair has less volume, so you should opt for lightweight creams and oils that won’t weight your hair down.
  • Shampoo/clarify your scalp at the first sign off build up because dirty hair/scalp works against the appearance of fullness and volume. For some women, build-up and residue may even be more noticeable because your scalp is visible.
  • Encourage a little frizz. It’ll help make your hair look fuller. If you want to maintain a particular style (like a twist or braid out), pick at your roots, but leave your ends defined.
  •  Deep condition, do protein treatments, get trims, and wear protective styles. Do what you can to keep your hair healthy and strong to avoid any breakage or thinning.
  • When wearing braids or twists: go for smaller sizes that fill up more space on your head.
  • When wearing curls: the tighter the curl, the fuller the look.
  • Short to medium length blunt cuts help to make your hair look fuller. Longer hair with layers or uneven ends make your hair look thinner.
  • Products that improve volume and thickness are still very important. 4c naturals with low density hair may actually be some of the only naturals to benefit from applying dry shampoo to their roots because it’ll create volume.

Does having Type 4 Hair make having low density hair more difficult?

Not exactly. Type 4 hair, however, does tend to be more fragile and require more care than other hair types. So whatever you do, make sure you are catering to the fact that your hair is type 4 and low density.

Actress, model, and natural hair youtuber, Danielle “StarPuppy” Glover, is one of the women who has recently expressed the difficult of having thin, or sparse density, natural hair. Here are a few photos of her rocking gorgeous, full hairstyles with her low density hair:

Watch this video as well:

Let me know if you have low density hair and how you take care of it.

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