I'm going to apologize in advance for my long post, but I feel I need to give my background story and hopefully get some good advice and tips.
Anywho, I currently have almost shoulder length supposed-to-be 3b color treated hair. Last year, my hair was at my bra line while curly, and I very seldom colored or straightened it. I wish SO bad that I had found this website before I decided to chop it all off, but I was determined to have that cute, straight, chunky bob, so I cut all of it off to just above my shoulders at the beginning of this year. I straightened it nearly every day and used the Organix Keratin Therapy shampoo and conditioner and used salon color and at-home color several times. One day, I noticed my hair wasn't growing as fast as it used to, and was beginning to look pretty rough in general, and it wouldn't curl AT ALL. I was mortified! I had always had beautiful, thick, envy-inducing curly hair, and now I had this short, ugly, thin, stringy mop that wouldn't do anything. I started researching and reading and soaking it all in and now I have about 1 1/2 inches of new growth that I've been babying like you wouldn't believe. The part I HATE is the several (or so) inches of straight mess that just hangs there.
I co-wash with Suave Naturals conditioner, and as a rinse-out and leave-in I use Garnier Fructis (silicon-free of course). I did go to a DevaCurl stylist about two months ago, and she restored some of my lost hope, but in order for my hair to look halfway decent using the low-poo, one condition, and gel, I have to use a bowl diffuser and get my hair 90% dry, then use a TON of hairspray to help the "curls" last all day (which almost never happened). I wasn't satisfied with that simply because I didn't want to risk damaging my new growth with almost daily heat styling any longer. Now, for the most part, I just push the DevaCurl products aside. I co-wash, rinse out then use a little homemade spray gel and leave it alone. I've conceded to the fact that I'm going to have bad hair until all the straight ends grow out, so after it mostly dries, I just pin the sides back and pray no one is too judgemental. It's to the point where I cringe going around family or old friends because someone will say something (and believe me, they have). They aren't being rude really, they just can't believe that I damaged my hair so bad.
Just about every day, I add several drops of peppermint EO to my co-wash because I read it helps stimulate the scalp and can help hair grow. I now sleep on a satin pillow case and just this week I think I've finally gotten over my addiction to hair elastics, and I try to stick to just bobby pins or plastic clips. When I can remember it, I take a Biotin supplement and a multi-vitamin since my diet isn't at it's best, either. I've read a lot about weekly deep conditioning treatments and also about protein treatments but the info is so overwhelming. I think one of these weekly treatments would help but I don't know which way to go! If I need a protein treatment but use a moisture treatment instead, or vice versa, I've read that it could further damage my hair and I do not want that!
I don't have a lot of funds available right now to just try a bunch of different products, so I'm hoping someone can tell me which way would probably be best? And which (affordable) products I can try. Also, I am not afraid of trying homemade treatments so any recipes would be greatly appreciated.
I regret this last year of abuse so much, and all I want is my hair to be where it was a year ago. I hope I didn't damage it too much, I hope one day I can have that long, thick, spirally curly hair again.
And btw, as far as the coloring goes, I haven't colored my hair in about 5 months now and you can't really see the line so i got lucky there. I want to get my hair completely healthy again before I even think about color. I actually don't mind my natural color, I just colored in the past to hide the grays but I can deal with those for now!

Thanks for listening to my babble!