I did an experiment today. I washed my hair last night and just let it air dry while sleeping. No product. I ended up with interesting hair. I don't mind the toussled look. But this wasn't really that. I got 2a-2b on the bottom layer, 2c-3a in the middle and 2a on the top. All that together equaled big poofy hair (mushroom as I like to call it), which is not what I want.
I even tried combing it out when I got home to see if I'd get a softer, wavier look but it just made a bigger poof!
When I did the full-on CG method (plopping, pineappling, etc), I would end up with 2b-2c underneath, 2c-3a in the middle and 2b-2c on top. I'm sure some would love this but I did not love the look. I think a lot of the problem is how the middle layer always tends to be curlier than the rest and creates a poof. It looked nicer like this than my experiment today but was just so much work/time-consuming for hair I didn't love.
I will be back to straightening tomorrow but would love any other advice on how to possibly get the hair too end up the same - or at least close to it. I would love for it all to end up in the 2b range. Is that so much to ask?
I know it seems wrong that I'm going for less curly when most are trying to get the most curls...
BTW (best guess) - high porosity, high density, coarse, medium length hair
Thanks so much for all the advice so far and any future advice!