You absolutely sound like my hair twin, except that I have thinner hair that I've had for my whole life.
I used to plop every morning for a long time as well. While it did give me tighter curls, they would be flatter against my head instead of voluminous.
I would experiment with using less oily/conditioning products that weigh the hair down and using more light hold gels or mousses, which give the hair definition and body.
I use DevaCurl one condition and AnGel, and they always work really well for me
not gonna lie, sometimes I use cheaper conditioners and gels from walmart... and as long as I do the same routine as I do with devacurl, my hair turns out the same.
This is exactly what I do:
- Co-wash with whatever conditioner, then rinse
- fully coat my hair with the conditioner and detangle
- flip hair upside down and scrunch out excess conditioner (I leave most of it in)
- flip back up, don't touch it while i dry off and do whatever
- scrunch upside down with a t shirt
- scrunch in good amount of gel upside down
- diffuse upside down until mostly dry
- flip back up and when it dries completely, go to the bathroom or something and shake your hair upside down and massage your scalp from underneath.
I know it looks long, but this whole hair routine takes me about 20 minutes from conditioned to diffused... but then again I have done plenty of experimenting.
Good Luck, I hope you find what works best for you!