Sorry to seem harsh but you do have a routine unless you never touch your hair and let it dreadlock. You don't use any heat protectant? Do you towel turban or towel dry your hair, do you air dry? How often is 'not often' for flat ironing, we don't know how many events you attend a year? What temperature is your Instyler at? When you dye are you doing roots only or 'refreshing the lengths? What are you using to secure your buns?
THE NATURAL HAVEN: Straightening Facts :How hot is too hot?

From what you say you likely have porous damaged hair, you don't need to spend money on a hair analysis at this stage. You need more than just 'moisture'/ conditioning, beneficial ingredients to use thereafter on porous or colour treated hair include coconut oil, hydrolysed protein, ceramides and panthenol. These patch damage on the hair's protective cuticle and can penetrate so increase elasticity and strength from the inside.
THE NATURAL HAVEN: Ceramides: Patching up Damaged Hair
THE NATURAL HAVEN: Size matters : Protein Conditioning (part 1 of 2)
Mineral Oil Versus Coconut Oil: Which is better?

Conditioner only wash if you can, if not choose a sulphate free shampoo that is pH 4.5 to 5.5 (acidic) which is the gentlest on both skin and hair. The Komaza Care and As I Am lines have products in this range, you can also purchase shampoo and conditioner 'bases' online (intended to have oils or fragrances added) some of which are in this pH range. Doing this means every product will work for you, shampoos don't ever truly moisturise or condition that is marketing, but you can choose ones that cause the least damage/ stripping which means no sulphate surfactants and a low pH.
THE NATURAL HAVEN: pH of Shampoo : The Ultimate List!
THE NATURAL HAVEN: pH of Conditioners
THE NATURAL HAVEN: pH of Leave In Conditioners and Styling Aids

Most creamy wash out conditioners, even the super cheap ones suitable for co-washing, are acidic so you don't need to cleanse with anything pricey if you are on a budget. Personally I spend the most money on my leave in conditioners because the ingredients are in contact with my hair longest and a bottle does last a good while!
Originally Posted by Firefox7275
It's all right, I've just never really been asked these kinds of questions before, which I guess doesn't say much about stylists I've had in the past since nobody has ever bothered to ask about what I use. I generally go to the stylist for trims only; the last time I think I had a stylist actually do a style for me other than straightening was my high school senior prom three years ago.

To answer your questions, I actually haven't used heat protectant before. I towel turban my hair right when I get out of the shower for a few minutes while I'm getting dressed and then I usually let it air dry past that, or sometimes I put it up when it's still wet, using hairbands to secure buns. My InStyler is usually at the highest temperature. As far as dye goes, I generally don't do touch ups so when my hair starts to really look it's natural colour again is when I redye, depending on whether I can afford it or not. And as for straightening, weddings and such aren't a frequent occurrence, but parties/family get-togethers tend to be around holidays like St. Patrick's Day, my birthday which is on Independence Day so I'm always with people then, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. I'm always straightening then. Outside of that, it's more infrequent random events like if I find out my res hall is holding a semi-formal party, or I have a job interview. Straightening takes me a long time so I never feel it's worth it unless it's a family get together, etc. So we're looking at 4 - 7 times a year here.

I appreciate the tips, and I didn't think you were being harsh! It's just that I don't see the Puerto Rican side of my family ever, so anyone who has hair like mine is a good 1000 miles away at any given time. The only time I feel like I can get to a stylist who even has the slightest inkling of what to do is when I'm at college, which is in a small city with plenty of culture, where hair like mine is more likely to be seen, as opposed to my tiny town of 500.

Last edited by sourwolf; 06-27-2013 at 11:32 AM.