How to Perform a Hair Analysis

by Kathy Mayse ; Updated September 28, 2017

A professional hair analysis is performed by stylists before every salon treatment during the consultation phase of a salon visit. Sometimes, the analysis occurs quietly and is barely noticeable, but it does occur. Performing a hair analysis is crucial for many types of services, including color services and permanent waving and/or relaxing services. A thorough hair analysis, a step that is commonly skipped at home, will spot any problems and help avoid unnecessary damage during the chemical process. The prevalent use of home chemical treatments often results in damage and hair loss that can be avoided with a quick at-home hair analysis.

Comb through the dry hair to remove tangles and debris. Locate the section of hair that appears to be the most damaged and dry. Perform the hair analysis in this section.

Isolate a one-inch section of hair in the area where the most damage is present. Pin the rest of the hair out of the way using a couple of barrettes or hair clips.

Visually inspect the hair for any signs of damage using the mirror. Pay attention to the ends of the hair where splits and damage give the tips a white appearance. Note any frizz and dryness that can be easily corrected with an intense conditioning treatment.

Feel the hair from root to tip by running your fingers along the length of the one-inch section. Note any dryness or change in texture that may indicate damage and/or buildup.

Thoroughly wet the section of hair with the spray bottle. Comb through the section and take note of how the hair lays. Curly hair that is straight on the ends is overprocessed and cannot withstand chemical treatments without prior corrective treatments. Hair that appears consistent throughout the length of the strand is usually healthy enough to withstand chemical treatments.

Isolate one strand of hair, pinching it between the first finger and thumb of each hand. Apply moderate tension to the hair until you can visibly see it stretch a little. If the hair stretches and bounces back, it is healthy. If it breaks or remains in a stretched-out position, it cannot withstand a chemical process.

Remove the hair clips, and comb through the hair to remove tangles. Put away all supplies.


  • Hair that feels like straw when it is dry, but becomes soft when conditioned, is usually coated with some sort of buildup. Of course, the dry feel can also be caused by overdoing chemical processes. To determine whether the hair is chemically damaged or coated with a substance, perform a deep clarifying treatment. If the treatment helps, the problem is buildup. Continue performing clarifying treatments weekly until the buildup has been removed.

    Split ends, damage and buildup need to be corrected before chemical processes take place. Split ends can simply be trimmed away. Damage and buildup are corrected over the course of a few weeks using conditioning and clarifying treatments.

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  • "Milady's Standard Textbook of Cosmetology;" Milady, Diane Carol Bailey, Margrit Attenburg; 2008

About the Author

Kathy Mayse began her writing career as a reporter for "The Jackson-County Times Journal" in 2001. She was promoted to assistant editor shortly after. Since 2005, she has been busy as a successful freelancer specializing in Web content. Mayse is a licensed cosmetologist with more than 17 years of salon experience; most of her writing projects reflect this experience.