it's going to be lots of trial & error figuring out what your hair needs and/or likes. sometimes it takes longer than others to find your exact regimen. just because a person swears by and retains length with protective styling, doesn't mean the next person will have the same results.

some of *my* hair examples:
  • my hair doesn't do great with protective styling
  • my hair loves to be free
  • my hair loves daily water
  • my hair loves humectants year 'round
  • my hair does well with gels but they must be washed out at least by the next day
  • my hair is finicky about oils but loves heavy butters
  • my hair absolutely hates silicones
  • my hair doesn't mind petrolatum nor mineral oil
  • my hair doesn't like co-washing only (scalp gets gunky)
  • my hair loves shampoo & poo bars
  • my hair didn't like the 'natural' shampoos but the sulfate shampoos are my friend
  • my hair doesn't like henna yet has no issues with at-home coloring from box dyes, nor proteins
  • my hair doesn't like products with emulsifying wax (alone)
  • my twa hair was a lot different from my apl hair
  • deep conditioning never made my hair any different
i suggest you start a hair journal. keep consistent notes on your daily/weekly procedures, products and results. change up only one thing at a time, at a consistent set time (i.e., daily, weekly or bi-weekly hair days). stay on schedule as best you can to get reliable results. do your own product & hair reviews in your journal. if a product or procedure isn't damaging your hair in any way, stay with it for a set time (30 days, 60 days, 90 days). you don't always see results immediately. this may help you pinpoint something.
LOIS (OS); cottony, TYPE 4 hair, fine/med strands; no cones bcz my hair hates them; last relaxer '98; now low porosity, ignores most natural hair rules; BC #8

faves: suave, v05 shampoo, conditioner (my own), raw shea butter, castor oil, peanut oil, aloe juice