Only sleeping on a satin pillowcases
Satin pillowcases preserve moisture, not hairstyles.
Solely sleeping on a satin pillowcase without covering or setting your hair is probably more applicable for someone with long, loose curls or wavy hair. Type 4, afro-textured hair holds the most memory (i.e. set styles) out of all the hair types, so regardless of your hair’s length, sleeping on your hair without twisting it, covering it with a bonnet, or coifing it into a pineapple will always result in squashed hair. Sleeping on your twist out, braid out, and other stretched styles without covering it with a bonnet or re-setting it will not render the best second and third-day hair, so that may be why you are struggling to prolong your hairstyles.
Read more: 9 Ways to Sleep with Curls
Having a wet curl pattern
Your hair’s curl pattern is reflected in its dry state not wet state.
Your hair is not Type 3c when it has conditioner in it and Type 4a when it dries. Your curl pattern can be determined when your hair is healthy and in a dry state; not dry in a sense of needing moisture, but dry as in not wet. So, the 4a texture you observe in a dry state is your true curl pattern. The way it looks with conditioner is due to the added weight of the product. If you want to maintain that definition, not elongation, consider using curl definers like gels and styling creams. Curl definers are designed to help capture that curl definition but as the water evaporates, the hair will still retract or shrink and also frizz.
Read more: "My Hair Looks So Good When It's Wet"
Solely relying on heat protectants
Heat protectants help to decrease the potential of heat damage, but they are not completely preventive.
Using heat tools regularly, especially with temperatures over 400 degrees, will inevitably cause heat damage. If you are a straight-haired natural, then you may be ok with those results, but if you expect to maintain your hair’s porosity and curl pattern, then straightening every week or even every month is not ideal.
Wanting a curly cut with straight hair results
People get curly cuts for two reasons: to prevent heat damage and if there are stark curl pattern inconsistencies. I had a classmate in high school whose nape hair would noticeably shrink to her neck but the front of her hair would hang to her armpit. It almost resembled a natural asymmetrical cut when curly, but when she straightened her hair it was even. If she preferred to wear her hair curly, she could get a curly cut to even it out, but since she enjoyed transitioning from curly to straight, she left her hair as is. Few people have distinctively different curl patterns that affect the overall shape of their hair, but if you know you prefer straight, even hair, then cut your hair while it is straightened.
Is there anything that you are confused about in your regimen?