I forgot to answer the questions.

1. For me, it grows out well. It can take 4-6 months before it starts to look crazy and time for another cut again.

3. I stopped using their products when they changed their formulas. The products used to be really good. I still have some of the old stuff left, but I simply conditioner wash and use aloe vera gel etc.

Also, the only way that your hair may appear shorter is due to the curl definition. They won't remove length. But due to the curls becoming more spiraly...
Have:
4a Tailbone

http://members.fotki.com/Prettycurls/about/ pw:curlspretty