So this is a fairly standard "oh em gee first post please save me and my beautiful hair," but I haven't been able to find the answer to my question anywhere else, so hopefully this isn't too redundant.

My problem is this: When it comes to "hair type" if the curls of my hair vary from a slight wave to dense corkscrews according to whether or not the moon is currently waxing or waning (not literally, unfortunately), how do I know if my hair is currently in it's happy, natural state, or some chemical induced please-stop-massacring-me-with-product mutant form?

So I'll wash my hair, hardly dry it at all, and let it air dry for a few hours when I have the time. Hurrah, tight curls! Then I won't shampoo it for a few days (with my shampoo which, after some forum perusing, turned out to be filled with those allegedly oh-so-harmful sulfates), it gradually gets more oily, and my tight curls will transition into what I like to call a Mamie Eisenhower (fairly straight on the top, with a very intense curl at the end). Obviously if I have places to be and give it an aggressively towling, it is a looser, frizzy mess.

I know everyone says a definitive hair type doesn't matter at the end of the day, but is there a general guideline for, "The type of your hair is the state it is in when: X, Y, and Z?" Or rather, if my hair occasionally looks like Cat Stevens' but sometimes Mamie Eisenhower's, would it be healthy to adopt a regimen that put it more consistently into Cat Stevens' territory, or do I just need to roll with the Mamie when it is being served to me?

I suspect transitioning to a sulfrate-free shampoo might add some consistency, but given I go pretty light on the stuff as is, and never feel like my hair is particularly dry, it strikes me as a big "might."