To perform a hair assessment, you don’t need any special skills or tools…all you need is clean, product free hair; some shed hair from your comb or brush; an open and rational mind; and the most important thing you must have is the ability to accept the things that you might find out about your hair.
When I originally did my self assessment, I washed my hair with a sulfate shampoo to get it clean and free from ANY type of build up. I know a lot of people are scared of shampoo, so if you are 100% following the curly girl method, then you should be fine using a sulfate free shampoo. If you use products with silicones, you will need to use shampoo, and no, and AVC rinse will not remove the silicone buildup…contrary to what a lot of people believe. Once you have cleansed your hair and scalp, allow your hair to dry as unmanipulated as possible. Don’t put it in a ponytail, bun, puff, pull it back…nothing. Just let it be.
<----about 25-30% wet
1. Compare a strand of your hair to a strand of regular sewing thread: If your hair strand is thicker than the thread then you have thick hair strands, if it's the same size you have medium hair strands, if it’s thinner then you have thin hair strands.
2. You also want to check the elasticity of your hair strands. Take a few pieces of shed hair and wet them. Hold one end of one strand in each hand and pull the hair taut to stretch it. If the strand stretches and then returns to normal after you release it, you have good elasticity. If the hair snaps or does not return to its former length, you have low elasticity. You want to test a few strands individually and take the “average” of the tests. *Note….this should be done with a moderate amount of strength….all hair will snap if pulled hard enough.
3. To determine your hair's porosity, grasp a strand of shed hair firmly between your fingers. Slide the thumb and index finger of your other hand from end to scalp (opposite direction as for texture test). If your fingers "catch" going up the strand, or feel like they are ruffling up the hair strand, your hair is overly porous. If it is smooth, you have normal porosity. If your fingers move very fast up the hair strand and it feels exceptionally slick, you have low porosity.
Once your hair is dry and the first set of tests has been repeated, the final test is to determine the DENSITY of your hair. Density refers to the number of hair follicles that are on your head (and the actual number of hair strands that you have). Thin hair would have a smaller number of hair follicles, and the hair might look “spacey” or another way of looking at it is that you can easily see the scalp even if the hair is not parted (most people with thin hair (or less dense hair) complain of their twists being “scalpy”. Those with THICK hair have a larger number of follicles and medium density is obviously in the middle.
*I found this test below online a while back and couldn’t find the original source to quote or link to, however, I found that a lot of ladies on LHCF, and another long hair care site (I don’t remember the name but it was catering to Caucasian ladies) used the method described below. I believe that it is also a part of the Fia hair typing system (which is different from Andre’s but that’s another post).*
To determine the density of your hair, pull all of your hair up into a ponytail in the center of your head (or as much as possible) and secure with an elastic band. Once the hair is secured, take a piece of thread/string and wrap it around the base of the ponytail, and measure the string where the ends touch. Depending on your measurement would determine how dense your hair is:
1. thin- less than 2 in.
2. medium- 2-4 in
3. thick- more than 4 in
Once you have finished your hair assessment you are now armed with the tools you need to hopefully help you determine some key information about your hair. I hope this post is clear….if not….hit me in the comments section!