Having a basic knowledge of your hair type is a tremendous help when searching for products, inspiration, tools and when trying out techniques. Having a general sense of your hair's tendencies, needs and what it will and will not do will save you a lot of time and money in your hair journey. Only in my dreams is a shake and go possible. Honeyfig.com has a great article on hair typing to get you started.
There's also a misconception that I've shared along with many other natural women. It's the belief that thick hair (densely packed) means coarse strands. That is usually not the case. In fact, African Americans tend to have fine, fragile strands. So in order for you to fully describe your hair texture and type I'll further provide you with a little vocabulary from Urbanbella.com.