Don't apologize for the questions ... we're all just full of questions all the time!
Go ahead and try whatever you think might help
. Clarifying it might do wonders and may solve the problem, you never know. You might also try "washing" with a conditioner and see how that goes.
As for plopping, some curlies add products before, some after .. it's all a matter of personal preference. The couple times I tried to plop, I put products in before. My hair has shorter layers on top and plopping it just left the top of my head ...
As for tried and true products and method, here's mine for when I definitely want a good hair day (for an occasion or something). This is also the combo I used in my avatar.
* Co-wash (Suave's Citrus Smoothie right now)
* Condition with either VO5 Milk Moistures Strawberries and Cream, or Aussie's 3-Minute Miracle, or Giovannie Triple Treat and add an equal amount of honey to it.
* Rinse (leave some in during summer, all out in the winter).
* Apply Curl Keeper
to soaking wet hair.
* Add a couple blobs of Aussie Dual Gel+Water Gel and rake through.
* Add a couple smaller blobs of Aussie Tizz No Frizz and rake through.
* Scrunch with a microfiber towel.
* Flip back over and add just a touch more Tizz to the ends.
* Scrunch a little more with the mf towel.
* Begin diffusing upside down with a bowl diffuser asap. I usually have to let the dogs out, then go use the diffuser I have by my sofa so I won't wake up hubby
) Diffuse to about 80% dry, then air dry while putting on makeup.
Any other time, I try different product combos as alot of us find that using a combo (or even one styling product) seems to lose it's punch after a few days, hence the "rotation" you'll see people mention