Have you ever looked in the mirror while weighing yourself and asked yourself the question, “How much does my hair weigh?” Well, this article is for you.
First things first, the figure on the scales is not affected by how much your hair weighs, no matter how long or thick it is. This is because a full head of long hair only weighs a few ounces. That’s a negligible amount that an average bathroom scale won’t be able to detect.
Let’s take a deeper dive into what hair is made of and how heavy it can potentially be.
What Is Hair Made Of?
Hair is made of a tough protein found in your body called keratin and each hair on your head is formed of three parts:
The follicle: this attaches the hair to your skin.
The bulb: the base of the hair follicle. Living cells in the bulb divide and grow to build the hair shaft.
The shaft: this is the length of the hair itself.
Once the cells have reached the shaft, they are technically dead, but they still receive nourishing nutrients from the bulb.
So, hairs are essentially long strands of dead cells, which are extremely lightweight.
How Many Hairs Are On The Human Head?
The average person has between 80,000 and 120,000 hairs on their head. Interestingly, the number of hairs on a human head can be influenced by hair color, with blonde people tending to have the most and red-haired people the least.
Average Number Of Hairs By Hair Color
What Makes Hair So Strong?
You might wonder what makes hair so strong, considering a strand of hair is so tiny and lightweight.
An individual strand of hair can withstand about 3.5 ounces of force and the average person has about 100,000 hairs on their head. This means that collectively if you take all the strands together, the hairs on your head could theoretically withstand about 10 to 15 tons of force.
How Does Hair Grow?
One important factor to bear in mind when considering how much your hair weighs is that not all of your hairs are the same length. For one thing, many hairstyles incorporate layers or a fringe and not all your hairs are cut to the same length.
But the other thing to take into consideration is your hair’s growth cycle.
Your hair has three main growth phases:
Anagen (Growth Phase): This is the stage that most of your hair is in; about 85% to 90% of it in fact. Your hair will be in this phase for around two to six years. The long period of time explains why some people are able to grow their hair longer than others. Your hair grows at an average of about 0.5 inches a month while it is in this phase.
Catagen (Transitional Phase): This is a transitional phase where your hair will begin to grow at a slower pace. About 3% of your hair is in this phase.
Telogen (Resting Phase): About 8% of your hair is in this phase. This is where hair growth stops, and it lasts approximately three months. After the three phases have passed, the inactive hair is shed, and the process begins again with a new hair shaft growing out of the follicle. The scalp typically sheds about 100 hairs per day due to this process, though it can be more depending on washing and hair care practices.
How Much Does Hair Weigh?
Your exact hair weight will differ, depending on the length, thickness and hydration levels of your hair. But your hair will typically only weigh a few ounces, even if you have very long and thick hair. A negligible amount, that is difficult for your average bathroom scale to detect accurately.
What Is The Weight Of One Strand Of Hair?
Based on the results of a 2018 study, a single 6-inch-long piece of hair would weigh between 0.000076 to 0.00013 ounces. That is very light indeed!
How Much Does All Your Hair Weigh?
Considering the average person has between 80,000 to 120,000 hairs on their scalp, this would give an estimated total weight of somewhere in the between of 6.1 and 13 ounces for somebody with 6-inch-long hair.
But in reality, the actual weight of your hair will be lower than this.
This is because for most hairstyles, your hair is cut to varying lengths. Also, as stated above, 85% to 90% of your hair is in a growth phase, meaning not all the hair on your head is fully grown.
Does Wet Hair Weigh More?
Wet hair should in theory weigh slightly more, though the change will still be negligible, and won’t add up to any significant difference on the scale.
Normal daily fluctuations like hydration levels and bloating are more likely to account for any minor weight differences on the scale each day.
Hair swells by about 15% when it absorbs water.
Most of the weight, however, will come from the water trapped between your hairs. The wetter your hair is, and the longer and denser it is, the heavier it will be.
But even so, it will still only weigh a few ounces more.
How To Reduce The Weight Of Your Hair
If you want to reduce the weight or volume of your hair, for example if it is very thick or prone to frizzing out, the easiest way is to get a haircut that’s appropriate for your hair type.
It may be a case of getting some long layers put in or having your hair thinned with thinning shears.
Using heavier shampoos and conditioners and appropriate styling products such as serums can also help to tame overly voluminous hair.
If you have locs or braids and want to reduce their weight, getting them trimmed shorter or having thinner locs or braids put in can help reduce their weight.
Also, avoid using heavy products that can cause buildup as this will make your locs feel heavier over time.
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Nicola is a freelance writer and researcher whose specialisms lie in health and wellness, beauty, and psychology. She has fine, wavy hair and is a big fan of co-washing every alternate day between shampoos (as dry shampoo makes her sneeze!)