Is your hair weighing you down?
When you’re trying to shed some weight, every ounce seems to matter.
We take off our shoes and strip down to make sure nothing adds to the total.
Standing on the scale in front of the mirror, there’s still one thing that stands out as a potential source of unwanted weight – your hair.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes you feel lighter after chopping off your hair?
If the hair has any weight, we don’t want it getting in the way of progress on the scale.
So, how much does hair weigh?
While it may not tip the scale, the hair on your head can weigh up to a few ounces. When it’s wet, it weighs a little more, but not enough to keep you from reaching your ideal weight.
In fact, most scales won’t even detect the difference if you shave your head.
Basically, hair is the least of your weight loss concerns.
If you’re still skeptical, it may help to know more about where hair comes from and how to determine the actual weight of your hair.
How Much Does the Average Head of Hair Weigh?
The weight of human hair isn’t a pressing concern for researchers or the medical community.
Luckily, the internet is full of people asking similar questions and sharing their own results on hair-related forums and websites.
One of the most detailed articles on the topic looked at the average weight of hair sold on an online hair community. The hair length measured between 14 inches and 32 inches and weighed between 1.1 ounces and 3 ounces.
The average was about 1 ounce per 10 inches of hair.
So, if your hair falls to your shoulders, it may weigh about one ounce. If you have hair down to your waist, it could add a whole two ounces to your weight.
The weight of your hair may also depend on the color. If you’re a natural blonde, you likely have more strands of hair compared to people with black, brown, or red hair.
Blondes average 146,000 hairs. However, blonde hair is also typically thinner.
Those with red hair often have the fewest number of strands, with an average of 86,000 hairs on their head.
What does this mean for you? Not much.
If your hair is incredibly thick and dense, it may weigh closer to 2 ounces per 10 inches instead of 1 ounce, but it’s still not enough to affect your weight on the scale.
How Much Does Hair Weigh When Wet?
When you first get out of the shower, your mass of wet hair may feel heavy, but does it really add to your weight?
Hair may weigh one to two extra ounces when wet, due to the added water weight.
Instead of having two ounces of dry hair, you could get on the scale with four ounces of wet hair. The difference remains trivial.
So, you don’t need to cut your hair off or even dry it to get an accurate measurement on a typical bathroom scale.
Where Does Hair Come From?
Hair grows from your head and just about everywhere else on your body, but where does it really come from?
It comes from small pockets in our skin called follicles. Like little weeds popping up, the hairs grow from roots in the bottom of each follicle.
The roots receive nourishment from blood vessels in the scalp, creating more cells and promoting more growth. As the hair grows, it pushes up through the skin and an oil gland.
The growth adds oil to the hair, keeping it soft, shiny, and occasionally greasy.
When the hair reaches the surface, it’s already dead. That’s why you don’t feel anything when you get your hair cut, except for the feeling of hair pulling on your scalp.
While the hairs are dead on arrival, they can continue to grow at a rate of about half an inch per month.
You may grow close to six inches of hair per year. That’s about 0.6 ounces of added weight annually if you stop going to the stylist.
When you’re born, you have all the follicles that you’ll ever have. As you age, some of the follicles start to close and stop allowing hair to grow.
Luckily, you’re born with about 86,000 to 146,000 follicles on your head, depending on your hair color.
What Does Contribute to the Weight on the Scale?
Hair is not the only thing on the body that people worry about when it comes to the weekly weigh-in. You may also try avoiding the scale on days when you feel bloated or debate whether to weigh yourself completely in the buff.
Does bloating add to your weight? No. If the bloating comes from excess gas due to menopause or digestive distress, it holds no mass. It’s simply creating pressure in your stomach.
However, bloating can also signal excess water weight. If you have a lot of sodium or salt, you may retain more water, leading to bloating and one or two extra pounds of weight.
How Much Does Underwear Weigh?
Most undergarments only weigh about one ounce. If you have on bras and panties, they shouldn’t weigh any more than your hair.
So, What Does Influence Your Weight?
Water and waste can lead to fluctuations in your weight throughout the day.
Everyone poops, but the weight of the bowel movements varies. According to the author behind The Truth About Poop, waste weighs about 1 ounce per 12 pounds of body weight.
Based on this estimate, the average person adds and then drops about one pound per day.
Water weight also increases the weight on the scale. Depending on how much water you retain, you may see a difference of one to five pounds throughout the day.
To avoid inconsistencies due to water weight, weigh yourself at around the same time of the day during each weigh-in.
How Do You Weigh Yourself Accurately?
Now that you know what does and doesn’t contribute to your weight, you should be ready to hit the scale, but hold off for a second.
If you want to get accurate results, you should follow a few simple steps:
- Stick to daily or weekly weigh-ins
- Strip down to your underwear or wear nothing
- Weigh yourself after your first bowel movement
Weight loss experts often recommend that you weigh yourself once per week. Weekly weigh-ins give you an accurate look at your progress over a longer period.
However, some people benefit from daily weigh-ins. Getting on the scale each day increases accountability and helps you detect slow changes in weight.
Choose daily or weekly weigh-ins and stick to your schedule. No matter which option you go with, consistency makes it easier to see your overall progress.
You should also take off all (or most) of your clothes before you get on the scale. Clothes add 2 to 2.5 pounds to your weight, according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity.
You don’t need to completely strip. Bras, panties, briefs, and boxers may only add one to two ounces each.
As mentioned, waste adds weight. For accurate results, weigh yourself after the first bowel movement of the day.
These tips should help remove unwanted weight, but you may still experience fluctuations. The scale is never going to provide complete accuracy.
Instead of focusing on the exact pounds and ounces, focus on a weight range. If you get on the scale and it reads “141.5,” assume that you weigh between 140 and 143 pounds.
How Do You Weigh Your Hair?
If you’re still not convinced that your hair weighs almost nothing, you could try to weigh it for yourself. Unfortunately, the only way to get an accurate reading is to cut it off and place it on a scale.
To weigh your hair without cutting it off, you’ll need to carefully arrange it on a postal scale or food scale.
Place the scale on a countertop or table and then sit with your back to it. Tilt your head back to rest the hair on the scale, like you were tilting your head back for shampooing at the salon.
Obviously, this only works with hair that’s long enough. You may also need someone to read the scale. Most likely, you’ll find that it weighs just a few ounces.
Don’t Worry About the Weight of Your Hair, It’s Minimal
If you get on the scale throughout the day, you’ll notice your weight tends to fluctuate. It seems everything affects the results, including hair.
How much does hair weigh? If it’s down past your waist, it may weigh two or three ounces, but it doesn’t impact your body fat percentage.
So, your hair is the least of your concerns.
When you weigh yourself, you’re weighing more than just fat and muscle. You’re also looking at the total weight of your internal organs, bones, and various bodily fluids.
Even the waste in your bowels contributes to your total.
In the end, chopping off your long, flowing hair will not help you reach your ideal weight any faster, but going to the bathroom first may shave off up to a pound.