Oh the timer is a good idea. I get ok shots by putting my phone up right above my shoulder and close to my head. Just have to smooth down the hair so it's not in the way. I have long wavy hair so that might not work for someone with shorter, really curly hair. But, yes, my best shots come from having someone else take it for me. The kids think I'm nuts...especially when I have them measure, too (I'm growing it out). *grins*
remember, with all advice or suggestions for your hair, YMMV!!
My hair:
2b wavy, medium texture, low porosity, med-high density. Protein finicky.
My routine:
Cleansing: DCNP, every 4-5 days (occasionally use CJ cleansers).
RO: CJSC, occasionally use JCDC
LI: KCKT or CJSL
Gel: KCCC, CJCIAB for 2nd day hair (sometimes third)

Heat is my friend: warm water rinses, steam caps, and diffuse dry. I love CLU cloths and my Denman.