the author, not heeding her own advice, bleached and henna-ed her hair 13 months ago.
she is trying to make the best out of the situation.
this is more of a patience game then anything. and the simple answer is water. drink lots of it...hair is essentially excrement. and hot water will destroy hair (a lesson from my male Italian roommate - learned after he walked in on me in the shower....and closed the door 30 seconds later).
here's a simple method (pick and choose steps as you prefer. long hair is more of an aggregate thing)
* wet hair in lukewarm water. we have the benefit of having an antiquated heating system - picture me huddled in one corner of the shower only submerging the very ends of my hair, and slowly inching into the water as it slowly warms up)
* scrub shampoo only into the roots of the hair, and rinse with warm water. it's really only the scalp that creates grease, and you are trying to cleanse the scalp without over cleaning the strands of hair. the suds will soap through the rest of your head. also, try to pick a shampoo that has the right amount of lather - over bubbliness is a response to consumers who associate suds with cleanse, but it's really unnecessary. i like cream shampoos (with oil...gasp!) but it's not ideal for thin, softer hair.
* condition...a little goes a long way. concentrate on the tips of the hair - the secret is to use cool or even cold water - and avoid greasiness of that layer that will not only give you zits, but will also tempt you to washing your hair more than you need to.
* use a smoother. again, a little at a time. moroccan/argan oil is wonderful for ethnic and coarse hair like mine. but there are lots of options - light weight mouses for example can be added in when hair is wet and allowed to air dry.
* style when damp. blow drying the crap out of your hair is probably the worst thing you can do. try plaits, braids, and buns for differing levels of dramatic curl. or it can be as simple as parting your hair on a slant to get that face-framing sweep without cutting bangs. and if you can't resist, bangs don't have to be the death knell for long hair enthusiasts...a blunter, thicker bang will actually grow out much better than whispy fringe.
* talk to your hair cutter/stylist/barber. tell them you are growing your hair out!! if you really feel like a trim is a waste of money, cheat on your stylist with a student hair cut or a discount chain - BUT tell them you want a trim, specify length in inches and forbid them from trying anything experimental or new. now is not the time to play it cool - you've already invested a lot of time and energy into your mane.