I want to start out by saying, that being mixed doesn't necessarily mean that the hair will be curly, there are mixed people with kinky hair that doesn't shine much as well and there are darker people that aren't mixed with silky looser textures with a high shine, so though genetics do play a role in hair texture, the outcome is not most definitely not predetermined.
As for your texture change, it's hard to tell at this time if it's age or perms or both. My texture was also different when I was younger and before the curl perms.And I did have loads of hydration problems due to hard water and drying shampoos and conditioners after going back to my natural texture again in 2009.
I do however understand what you are referring to, with your hair poofing up BECAUSE it's dehydrated.
Especially if your hair is less flexible.
And because of the way it looks when you first moisturize it, it seems like as the day passes by your hair gets dryer and more frizzy and doesn't come close to feeling the way it felt when it still had moisture, which means you're having trouble sealing the moisture/your hair is getting dehydrated by the products you use to wash and condition.Of course there is hair that naturally will be more poofy than others, but there's a difference between it being poofy and moisturized or poofy because it's craving moisture.
If you have been wearing it straight a lot that might have contributed with drying your hair out. I don't know how much heat you use, but it's best to not go over 400 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid heat damage.
Also not deep conditioning when planning to apply heat and not deep conditioning after you cleanse to bring your curls back can also dry your hair out , especially if the shampoo dries it out and then the conditioner as well (depending on the ones you use, but just mentioning the common scenario.)
Now to answer your question, on a wash day, you need to moisturize with a water based moisturizer(first ingredients has to be water), if lotions and/or hair milks are too light, you may benefit from products with a creamy(like a curl pudding or creamy leave in conditioner) or gel like substance, a little goes a long way, so only use more if you need more.
If the hold of the gel is too strong and makes your curls crispy you can try mixing it with a lotion, make sure you apply them on damp hair.You can seal the moisture with an oil(olive oil, grape seed oil or coconut oil etc.) or oil based products after wards.
Once the hair is moisturized you can refresh it by spritzing it with (soft)water or a diluted conditioner mix (water, conditioner, oil of choice) or perhaps a little lotion.
You might also want to look in to the ingredients of your shampoo(Sodium lauryl sulfate can be drying. You only need sulfates to remove buildup,diluted apple cider vinegar is also good for that) and conditioner, though sillicones can be great to protect the hair when applying heat to your hair, it can coat the hair and keep moisture from getting in while curly.
If you have hard water and a shower filter isn't an option, you could benefit from an Apple Cider Vinegar cold rinse after cleansing. You could also add some Apple Cider Vinegar to regular shampoo, this will turn it into a neutralizing shampoo, soften the blow of the dehydrating ingredients and will remove buildup(including calcium buildup from hard water), hair will be less prone to tangle in itself again.Also with the use of Apple Cider Vinegar you will notice you will need to do less to get your hair moisturized. For me personally, I need way less waterbased moisturizers than before, less is now so much more.
You could also go for a shampoo without sulfates and a natural conditioner without silicones. Or opt for a fully natural cleanser and use baking soda mixed with water as a cleanser and do an apple cider vinegar rinse to condition.
You can also use a conditioner as a leave in conditioner, by not washing it out after you comb it through but only if it has moisturizing ingredients.
When using water in a spray bottle to spritz your hair to refresh it, if you have hard water, it's best to use bottled water, filtered water(from a portable water filter jug) or distilled water if you can get your hands on that.
You may want to deep condition at least once every few weeks. This can be done with ready made deep conditioners or with an egg, mayonnaise or Greek Yogurt mask, if you're low on protein this will help bring the balance back and also add back some moisture.http://www.tightlycurly.com/ingredients/
Really helped me to do an ingredients check on the products I was using. After a while you will recognize the ingredients that are best to avoid and choose better products. Speaking of products, you actually might benefit from the tightly curly method as moisturizing conditioners are widely available in the U.S. and many great brands of Curling Custard or top notch protein/moisture balancing treatments like APHogee and Tresemme conditioner... *sigh*, my hair felt heavenly with that conditioner, but unfortunately they don't sell that here. In fact you'll even be able to score on all natural products, unrefined coconut oil and shea butter readily available at any green store etc. You'll be fine girl.
As for me I rely on mixing a local no name brand gel that doesn't flake thank goodness(since the gel my hair loves isn't always available) with a teenie bit of dark and lovely gel in my hands(to soften the hold and because it's alcohol free, so any risk of drymess is next time I will just get the one with the lighter hold to mix) and I am on my last two bottles of the lotion I currently use, which is Lustrasilk CurlMaX curl activator moisturizer, hopefully I'll be on my trip overseas once I run out because they don't sell that here either(Lustrasilk), there is this curlpudding from it to use right after a wash from that line too but I am out of that, it's good stuff though, I preferred the previous formula from that brand though (in the pink and white bottles instead of the metallic brown), but you could basically get a curl pudding from whichever brand to use after a wash and then use the lotion of hair milk from the same brand to maintain.I also had great results with Scurl curl activator gel and Wave Nouveau finishing lotion.
Many products are not available to me so I can't give you any more product recommendations.
As for another tip, if you are a warm water lover like me as difficult as it may be, you may want to rinse your hair with cold water after you wash your hair, this will close the cuticles and this combined with diluted apple cider vinegar rinse will make your hair more shiny.This is the way my hair looks when it's dry and dehydrated. My hair when properly moisturized before I did ACV rinsing, with water gel and lotion, it shined but not as much as it does now
I would get similar results with a curl cream but there was so little of it that it was a waste of my money(Just a small pump in a not even 5oz. bottle, I could give it another try since I need less product in my hair these days, it might last longer):My hair dry and moisturized the same way, but less product AND with ACV rinse, I added acv to my shampoo. Deepconditioned with mayonaise and greek yogurt and did an apple cider vinegar rinse before moisturizing my hair (after I T shirt dried it, using a towel might frizz the curls too much and cause them to tangle in themselves.)
by spritzing it with bottled water and adding some gel after rubbing my hands together, after that I sealed with some coconut oil(my coconut is refined, my access to the good stuff is limited, but I bet the unrefined will be ten times better).
All I have to do is sleep with a satin scarf at night and in the morning I can either just fluff it out and go or refresh it with bottled water in a spritz bottle and a tiny drop of hair lotion or a little bit of coconut oil(which can penetrate the hair shaft), but it can last a few days without refreshing if I sleep with a satin(Mine is 100% polyester, if you hit the jackpot with silk that's even better, just make sure the satin is not made from cotton.) scarf at night(cotton pulls moisture from my hair.)And now even if I have my hands all in my hair and it frizzes, you can tell it's moisturized.( Which brings me to the final tip...once you've moisturized your hair, leave the curls alone unless you're looking for more volume)
My hair poofed BUT hydrated:
Closeup from the hair I did leave alone(same day as the poofed hair pic right above this one)
Oh and something else, last thing, I promise.but if all else fails with defining curls the way you want to, you can either smooth product through strands with a denman type brush (comb brush)(I did that with gel once) or smooth the curls with your fingers.
I personally can't be bothered with it, did it once just to try it out. Combing(since the brush has teeth,lol) the gel through section by sectionCurls were defined, hair was pretty much frizz free.
This is what the curls looked like the next day. Curls were as defined as can be, but there was more shrinkage(this was before I trimmed) and less volume, so I prefer to just moisturize it and be done with it. :)
Hope this essay has been helpful.
Edited by Ritle - Jul 21 2013 at 7:31am