Abstract The number densities of He first excited states 2 3S 1, 2 1S 0, 2 3P 0,1,2, and 2 1P 0 were measured by absorption and self-absorption methods. The emission lines in the range 290–730 nm were used to determine the number densities of He metastable and resonant states of inductively coupled high-frequency electrodeless lamps filled with helium at pressure 0.1 Torr. The obtained number densities of helium metastable levels 2 3S 1 and 2 1S 0 are 2×10 12 and 3×10 11 cm −3, respectively. For the 2 3P 0,1,2 and 2 1P 0 levels the determined number densities are ten times smaller than that of the metastable levels. Values of number densities from measurements using both methods are in good agreement.