Help. Protein AND Aloe sensitive, maybe?

I've spent 2 hrs trolling the board & I'm now more confused than before. LOL
too many acronyms.
I need help & product suggestions, please, things that could be bought cheaply at Sally's/drug store/Walmart.
I have fine hair (have been told baby fine) but lots of it.
I'm pretty sure I have low porosity. It takes HOURS for my hair to air dry & takes about 8hrs for the roots to dry.
I'm pretty sure I have 2C curls (but they've changed to 2A with whatever is causing my issues) 3-4 yrs ago with a diffuser & time(& cones & sulfates) I could get 3A curls.
Almost 4 months ago I started with no sulfates & was using ACV & a baking soda rinse, but it was getting too oily, tried to co-wash with Suave tropical coconut but my hair was getting flatter & flatter. I figured since my hair is so fine I need to actually shampoo with something. Went to Sally's & was told that since my hair is so fine I could probably use proteins to help strengthen my curls (& I kind of thought that too)
Simply U moisturizing & smoothing shampoo & Zotos pure elements color protect conditioner was used about 2x's a week. Styled with Grohealthy Nothing but Curly Pudding (ingredient list had a sticker over it I now now it has dimethicone in it, even though Sally's person said it didn't). After 2 wks this made my hair very heavy feeling & I needed to wash out dimethicone.
Washed with a normal shampoo (suave something) & started over.
Simply U moisturizing & smoothing shampoo & volumizing conditioner was next, but my ends & the nape of my neck were still really tangled. So I was thinking I was really protein sensitive.
Switched to Trader Joes Refresh followed by the Simply U volumizing conditioner about 5 wks ago & loved it. using a homemade flaxseed gel.
Got body back in my hair & my curls were getting tighter.
But my ends & the back of my head still get super tangled.
So I was thinking I needed more moisture & wanted natural & cheap. Bought FOTE Aloe vera gel, I was using it before plopping & after the FSG on shower days & tried adding it to my spray bottle to refresh my second day hair.
I can't even get my underneath layers untangled & they are ...poofy for lack of a better word. Plus the whole back of my head is a mess. I now have 2A hair. And I don't know how to fix it.
We have a wedding coming up & a big anniversary weekend
So any suggestions on a moisturizing conditioner that isn't too heavy.
I also need a good gel recommendation, I was using herbal essences mousse, but the hold didn't last.
And is there any miracle cure out there to try & have pretty hair tonite (besides cutting out the birds nest?)
...sorry so long
TIA
I will chime in on some of this. If your hair is dry and straw-like you might be protein sensitive. Aloe acts as a protein and many protein-sensitive people cannot use it. For me, it is the only 'protein' I have found that my hair likes - I still have to use it judiciously.

Regardless of the protein issue, it sounds to me like you definitely need a really good DT...with your low porosity hair, heat can be your friend!! Use very warm water to saturate your hair, add a good thick conditioner and then cover it. You can do this in the shower and cover with a shower cap and run the warm water over it for several minutes then let it sit for several minutes the rinsing out. You can do it out of the shower by using a bag over your hair, a wet very warm towel, then a shower cap. Let that sit for a while then rinse conditioner out.

A good leave-in is Kinky Curly Knot Today...use it liberally especially in winter if your are in a cold dry climate. It's not the cheapest one, but it's good and available at target.

Good luck.
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.
My hair is fine/low porosity, too. It NEVER tangles, so it may be something you're doing. My hair just HATES baking soda. It makes it dry and hard.

Can't advise you on products. My hair prefers the products from the online, boutique type companies. In most cases, you use a small amount and a little goes a long way--so they can be quite cost effective.

My hair doesn't care for chemicals, especially polyquats. They give me frizz when wet. I've been told that it's not buildup, but it needs a stronger surfactant to remove them. You may want to read ingredients and try to stay away from most of the chemicals.

Last of all, there's an acronym sticky at the top of the General Hair Forum. That should help you when reading the posts on nc.com.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity
modified CG, since April '07
CG since 3/11/08

SE PA

HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic (now Hello Curly Curl Stimulater); Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Marie Dean Leave Ins and Curl Creams
Thanks, I found the updated protein free list of conditioners & plan on buying some this weekend. I spent so long this morning reading & trying to figure out what I did wrong I ran out of time to go buy something this morning so I ended up using honey & some VO5. My poof calmed down but is still there.
I just wish there was less trial & error with what works & it seems like everything that worked before I had kids does not work now.
Pregnancy can change your hair - my last one gave me curls.
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.
Welcome, Cheryllsm.

Unfortunately, it is a bunch of trial and error, but when you get it figured out. . . whooooweeee!
Gretchen
NaturallyCurly.com co-founder
3A

You are beautiful!

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