OP, I agree. When I first went CG I stressed so much about what to use and ingredients and dew points and went crazy. Could never achieve "perfect" hair. Now, almost 2 years later, there's very little change in my naked hair. Decided my hair wasn't all that damaged to begin with... which makes sense, since I didn't straighten every day (maybe once a week at most) and mostly put it into a ponytail. But I'd convinced myself that since I used a sulfate poo, conditioners with 'cones, and sometimes straightened that it had to be SO damaged.
Now I do whatever I feel like with it. Proper technique and cutting out heavy 'cones has given me 99% of my good hair days. I did quit highlighting and did start using protein. Sometimes I go all out and go for a great curly day, and sometimes I just wash it and put it up. That's what I've done all week to be honest. Cowashing doesn't work for me, but so what. I still sulfate poo once a week. My hair is fine and easily OC'd and frankly, it loves a good sulfate wash. I buck the "rules" and do what works for me. If I want to straighten it, I do. I don't feel like "myself" anymore with it straight so I don't do it often, but sometimes it's a fun change. As long as I don't notice it getting damaged, I'm fine with it. It's my hair, I want to love it and have fun with it, not stress over it 24/7.
fine, thin, normal/(low?) porosity. Mod-CG. Usually I can't co-wash more than 1x a week, & sometimes I have to use T-Gel in rotation due to scalp issues.
Co-wash: VO5 Volumizing
Poo: Giovanni 50:50
RO:TN, Nexxus Youth Renewal, Alba Coconut
PT: gelatin PT, ION EC
Stylers: Giovanni mousse, TIGI Curls Rock amplifier (a-cone), Curls Rock Strong Hold Mousse
Gels: SCC spray gel