If you’re curious like you’d probably thought to yourself, “how much does hair weigh on average?”
The simple answer? Not enough to make a difference on your scale!
I know the struggles of losing weight and watching out for even the smallest fluctuations in the numbers flashed across your scale.
But if you’ve got a head full of hair and are wondering if chopping it off will make a difference to your weight, you’re probably wrong.
Related: How To Train Your Hair To Go Back
Yes, it might take an ounce (or gram) or two away, but not enough to help you fool yourself into thinking you’ve achieved your goal weight.
Also, if you’re trying to measure hair weight to check if your tresses are thick and strong enough, let me tell you that’s not how it works.
Hair anatomy is a whole different scene and the health quotient of your locks depends on several things.
In this article, I’m going to tell you exactly how much hair weighs on average. And how hair anatomy, thickness, and growth cycles actually work.
How Much Does Hair Weigh On Average
How Much Does A Single Strand Of Hair Weigh
A study was conducted in 2018 to research the production of the hormone cortisol in hair. This study obtained hair samples from 21 African American volunteers.
About 30-50 hair strands were pulled from the posterior vertex region of the scalp. The lengths of these hair samples were an inch on average.
Through this study, we can see that the average hair strand here weighed about 0.00064 ounces.
Another study put the weight of a single strand of hair at about 0.2 to 0.5 milligrams. Of course, this weight differs from person to person and depends on several factors such as:
- Hair textures (whether they are type 1, 2, 3, or 4)
- Hair health (damage incurred from hair coloring and bleaching can cause keratin loss)
- Hair length
- External factors like dietary patterns, genetics, etc.
If you look at the amount of hair (density) on your hair, it’s been noted by reputable research that a human being contains 80,000 to 120,000 hair strands on their scalp.
So after doing the math, we can establish that hair weighs around 16,000 milligrams to 60,000 milligrams on average.
Anatomy Of A Hair Strand
Hair is just dead cells. You might have heard this expression before. But it’s not quite the truth.
Your hair strands are made up of a protein called keratin. But the strand itself is divided into three major layers – the cortex, medulla, and cuticle.
However, this still isn’t the complete picture. The hair strand is connected to the scalp through something called a hair follicle which is a small opening about the size of the pores on your skin.
Below the hair follicle is a part of the hair called the bulb. Now, this bulb is very much alive. In this sense, it contains living, dividing cells and is surrounded by nerves and blood capillaries.
The blood capillaries bring nutrients to the hair bulb and help in cellular generation. This process is what makes hair grow.
Now coming to the three layers of your hair.
Cortex – The cortex is the middle layer of hair and it contains melanin or the pigment that is responsible for your hair color.
Most of the “weight” of a hair strand is concentrated in this layer. It also contains elongated cells that give hair strands much of their elasticity.
Medulla – The medulla is the innermost layer of strands that also contains hair color pigment.
Cuticle – Lastly, we have a cuticle that is scale-like in structure and determines hair texture and outward appearance.
How Much Does Hair Weigh When It’s Wet
Hair like all cells absorbs water. So your hair might weigh a bit more when you get out of the shower.
In fact, a lot of experts suggest that you don’t weigh yourself when you’ve just taken a swim or a bath as the water retention can cause your weight to appear slightly (very, slightly mind you) higher.
Some research claims that hair weight can increase by 12-15 percent when it’s wet.
So if an average, healthy strand of hair weighs 0.2-0.5 milligrams, it can become as heavy as 0.25 – 0.56 milligrams when it wet.
That is an increase of 0.02-0.06 milligrams.
Does Hair Growth Effect Hair Weight
Now about those hair follicles, we mentioned earlier. Did you know that there are about 100,000 on average on your scalp?
Some people have more of these hair follicles than others. And not all these hair follicles get activated or grow hair.
The hair growth cycle happens in three stages – the growth phase or anagen phase, the transition phase or catagen phase, and the resting phase or telogen phase.
Anagen Phase: About 85 percent of your hair follicles are in the anagen stage or the growth stage of the cycle.
This cycle can last anywhere from 2-6 years, which is why some people have long hair and others are not able to grow it long quickly. In the anagen phase, your hair can grow at a rate of 1-2 inches per month.
Catagen Phase: Once the hair follicles have done their job and your hair shaft starts growing, the follicle reaches the transitional phase.
Here, the follicle’s hair growth slowly declines and it is set to become dormant. On any given day, about 3 percent of hair follicles are in this stage.
Telogen Phase: According to studies, about 8 percent of the hair follicles on your head are in the telogen phase. In this stage, the hair follicles do not grow any further and are dormant.
But this isn’t for life. Sometimes, the hair follicles can be reactivated to enter the growth stage again.
You might lose 50-100 hair strands on a daily as the shaft detaches from the follicle and breaks free.
But certain conditions like hormonal imbalances, postpartum, pregnancy, stress, environmental damage, chemical treatments, etc. can make more and more hair follicles enter the telogen state.
FAQs about hair weight and thickness
How much weight your hair can hold?
Theoretically speaking, your hair can hold a weight of upto 2 tons. In other words, if you were to tie your hair together and use it as rope, you should be able to pull the weight of two grown elephants.
Sounds impossible? Well, there have been a lot of world records being set for weight pulled their hair. So it’s not impossible to do this, just unlikely.
You’ll have to have perfectly strong and thick hair. And I might add the nerve to pull something like this off.
The single hair strand if healthy and undamaged can support about 100 grams of weight.
Is it possible to grow Rapunzel-like long hair?
Did you know that Rapunzel’s long hair weighs around 60 to 80 pounds, and is over 70 feet long?
No, I’m not messing with you, this is what the hair experts and animators at Disney think so. The animators took extensive courses in hair anatomy before pulling off Tangled. And I agree with them.
When it comes to real life, having 70 feet long hair is very unrealistic. Actually impossible.
For a healthy, average human hair grows at a rate of 1cm every month. Now 70 feet of hair will be approximately equal to 2134 cm.
So if you want that long hair, you’ll need to wait 2134 months. Just about 177 years!
Not to mention, that the longer the hair is the more prone it is to breakage and hair fall.
So to answer your question, it’s impossible to grow Rapunzel-like long hair in real life!
Is your hair heavier when wet?
The cells in our body absorb water very well. And this is true for hair cells as well.
It’s been reported that the weight of hair strands increases by approximately 12 percent to 18 percent when it is wet.
So yes, your hair is heavier when it’s wet.
How much does 6 inches of hair weigh?
Let’s consider the study mentioned earlier in the article that found that a single hair strand of length 1-inch weighed approximately 0.00064 ounces, we can conclude that 6-inches of hair would weigh 0.00384 ounces.
How much does 2 feet of hair weigh?
Similar to the question above, if an average hair strand of 1-inch weighs 0.00064 ounces or 0.2 milligrams, then 2 feet of hair will weigh:
12 * 0.00064 ounces = 0.00768 ounces or,
12 * 0.2 milligrams = 2.4 milligrams
Does Heavy Hair Cause Headaches?
There is some evidence that heavy hair might cause headaches, but the jury is still out. A study published in The Journal of Clinical Headache found a statistically significant correlation between scalp weight and number of days experiencing headache symptoms. However, it was also noted that this relationship could not be attributed to any specific factor such as sex, age, race/ethnicity, educational level or income.
It’s possible that having too much hair obstructs blood flow in the brain and causes inflammation and pain. And since stress can also increase headache incidence by triggering hormones like cortisol which promote accumulation of fluid around the brain cells, heavier hairs may actually contribute to more head pressure headaches! Nonetheless, further studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis.
Does Cutting Your Hair Improve Weight Loss?
No not at all. The total weight of your hair on average is not a lot and will hardly take a few grams of the scale if you cut it off. So no, chopping your hair off is not a weight loss solution. However, there are might be some correlation between cutting your hair (as a way to improve yourself) and having the psychological motivation to lose weight. There aren’t many studies backing this theory so I would take it with a pinch of salt.
If you want to know how much does hair weigh on average, I hope this article was a helpful guide for you!
Hair thickness and volume depend on several factors. From the shampoo, you’re using to your diet and the simple fact of whether you’ve washed your hair that day or not.
So taking hair weight as a measure of hair health isn’t wise.
And if you think hair weighs enough to make a difference to your overall body weight you are wrong.
If you want to healthily lose weight, you should probably consult a dietician and fitness trainer to guide you through the process.