You may already know your hair type pretty well, in which case you can feel free to skip this section. But if you’re still sussing out your pattern, we actually have this handy hair type quiz that only takes a few minutes. It asks a variety of questions about your hair’s look and behavior, which are all influenced by your specific type.
But ultimately identifying your hair type comes down to visual traits—what you see is what you get. So you need to make sure you’re getting the most accurate look at your hair possible. Give yourself the air dry test: Simply air dry with no added product and see what your hair wants to do naturally.
Additionally, you’ll often find that most people have a few patterns to deal with or a patch or two that doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest. So you might have to do different techniques for different areas to make it all uniform. (Or embrace the unique textures!) And there are other factors at play: hair porosity, density, and strand thickness. Essentially you’ve just got to get to know yourself.
Ultimately: “I cannot stress studying your hair enough. A stylist can only give you recommendations, but essentially you go home with your hair,” says Danielle Malary, owner of Lumiere Vive Salon. “Feel your hair out, document how it reacts. Essentially, keep a journal for your hair and learn to love it.”