Honey, it's so easy. You only need to know the basics to start off with. However, after a while you might start hanging out at the boards like I am because I feel like I learn something new everyday. It's really fun! But if you're a wash and go sort of person like I am, this is a good starting point.
Go to this guide:
Dorm Room Curly: All in One Guide for the Curly Girl Method
and this one:
How to Follow the Curly Girl Method for Curly Hair: 15 steps
Check out this site which is the absolute BEST to determine your hair's properties:
Live Curly Live Free - Home
That is where you'll learn or at least be able to guesstimate whether your hair is fine or medium or coarse, porous or not, and how strong you elasticity is. Since you've been flat ironing for a while, that may have altered some of your hair's properties and made it more porous or less elastic. You'll see what I mean when you read.
Live Curly Live Free - Curly Hair Basics
Go check out hair routines. I do something sort of similar to this:
Curly Hair Styling Routine 2012 - YouTube
only it's shorter because I use just leave in and styling gel. I also don't plop mostly because my hair, even though it's long and thick, dries quickly. I just scrunch out excess moisture with a microfiber towel. Also, if you are still using a terrycloth towel switch to using an old t-shirt (you don't need to buy a microfiber towel since I use my t-shirt just as often) to dry your hair immediately! That will really help decrease frizz.
ex of plopping I threw in:
Plopping Revisited (Long Sleeved T-shirt Method) - YouTube
If you like, you can go read The Curly Girl Handbook by Lorraine Massey which is how I got started. Quick read. Read it in an hour I think. But most of the information in that book you can get online.
Yeah I know I keep throwing waterlily716 at you but she's one of the first things that comes up when you google the curly girl method and since your hair look similar to mine if I brush it out and my hair looks similar to hers when I style it I figured I'd save you the trouble.
Curly Girl basics playlist:
Curly Hair Basics - YouTube
For me, I had more fun these past 2 months discovering my natural hair texture was not bushy and frizzy but pretty and shiny than I've ever had styling it straight. And I look great with straight hair since my hair is thick and looks so even when straightened. I got lots of compliments. But for some reason, the compliments I'm getting now that I'm curly mean so much more. Because it's actually me
they're complimenting. It's like if someone were to compliment you on your green eyes if you knew you were wearing colored contacts. Wouldn't feel as good, you know?
I'm reading the other people's responses and I hope you don't think we're collectively shooting down relaxing altogether. It's just that this is a forum at a site called naturally curly so it's safe to assume that the majority of us have been in your shoes before in which we had undefined frizzy hair that we flat ironed and blew out regularly. And then we eventually found success in managing our hair. I didn't give up sulfates until five years ago. I didn't give up silicones until five minutes ago. But my hair is adapting very fast even though I used to style it the way you did. I love my natural hair now, which like I said, means more to me than loving my staightened hair. Nevertheless, I guess you'll never know until you try. (That goes for CG too!) And chemical treatments are something everybody dabbles in at some point or another. Some regret it, some don't. Hair should (if it isn't botched!) grow back. It's only as big a deal as you make it out to be. I know people who have relaxed all their lives. Started when they were three or four! But then their hair fairly short and prone to breakage. So that is why I'd rather pay more, have a good consultation, and go with a reputed professional who has excellent reviews. That is all I'm saying. You do whatever you like because it's your hair. I don't want to come off as over zealous. I just get really excited about hair nowadays. I know it's silly, but I'd really like for everyone else to be excited about their natural hair too.