To relax or not to relax (Story)

About a year and a half ago I decided to go natural because my hair was highly over processed and falling out. I took the plunge and big chopped and I loved it, but as it started growing back out I became very self-conscious. My tight 4c hair made me look like a boy and I learned that I didn’t really know how to manage my texture. I did all the research I could think of, had a nice regimen going and all but my hair always felt dry and my ends always looked frizzy to me (I figure they were split) so I kept trimming my already short hair.

I grew tired of feeling bad and constantly having to pre-poo, cowash/clarify, moisturize (LCO/LOC) and air dry to have my hair shrink everyday (I could barely pass a comb through my hair most times) so right before the 1 year mark of my natural hair journey, I decided to texlax my hair. I wanted the ease of relaxed hair again and I figured with all I learned I could up keep my relaxed hair and keep it healthy. Well, it started off rough. I texlaxed on my own and because I was so scared of damaging again I seemed to wash it out as soon as I put it in. My hair barely processed and it wasn’t the texlaxed result I wanted. I wanted something that could straighten like a blow out (with some texture, not too silky)! What I got was puffy roots and even puffier ends with mildly straight hair in between. Since it didn’t look good and it wasn’t the result I was looking for, I decided to wait a couple months and corrective relax. After my corrective relaxer (I basically did a virgin relaxer all over again) my hair was able to style the way I wanted a bit better, but when it was wet it looked bone straight, felt stiff and my ends still looked puffy (even when dried). Terrified, I started protective styling to give my hair a break and have been in between touching up or transitioning. In February I did a mini chop hoping to transition and my aunt swore my hair was back to natural but I knew it was just the texlax job I did.. And it looked great actually. (Pictures attached)

It’s been about 7-8 months and I’ve been relaxer free but now my hair seems in more distress than ever. My hair has begun thinning on the ends and breaking at my hairline, nape and probably everywhere else (I can see through my ends and my hair feels strange). I’ve tried maintaining my regimen (incorporating more oil treatments with coconut and grapeseed oil which my hair loves, moisture/protein balancing) but I don’t know what my hair needs.

Right now my hair is in the same condition but now it’s currently in a curly weave. I thought this protective style would help me use less heat and manipulation but the only way I’ve been able to blend my leave out is with a curling wand, EVERYDAY!

My hair is suffering and I’m losing patience – I don’t know what to do. I want healthy hair that I can manage and that grows no matter if its relaxed or natural (my hair grows differently with a relaxer—the front takes longer than the back, it’s like the front just stops or maybe I haven’t given it a chance).

I don’t mind my washdays and all but I don’t like having to sit up and style every night just for my hair to look like something (literally, every day when I was natural).

Could you help me? I’m not sure what my next step should be.

Given my current situation should I continue transitioning and trimming for natural hair or big chop and protective style until I can relax again (at a salon this time lol)

How could I have full, voluminous hair and healthy hair with little damage and breaking with a relaxer? Or would it be better to go natural and get blow outs when I’m in the mood for straight hair (which is almost always)?