This is a really great thread- I've just read it all the way through!!
I think I have spent too much time trying to acheive 3a hair which may just never happen. I also find that a lot of what works for curlies does not work for me. CG does NOT work for me (I'm cone-free and only use sulphates once or twice a week when my hair needs something stronger than low-poo).
I am learning to love and accept my waves. My main issue really is the lack of root volume or root wave/curl. If I air dry then I wind up with flat top hair where the waves all start at the same place three inches down - all starting with an outward bend so it creates a really weird shape.
If I try to diffuse (like i did today) I end up with volume but my whole hair looks like a bird's nest and with even weirder sticky-up roots. Not sure how to get around this - I could do with air drying over winter (washing hair at night is not an option) so i don't get to work with wet hair, but I so don't want to go out looking a real state.
Guess I'm stuck with updoes all winter