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Help: Straggly, Stringy Ends and Matted Roots

I'm babysitting my two cousins for two weeks... and they are battling some straggly, stringy ends and super-duper matting/tangling at the roots. Their length seem fine, just bit dry, but the curls there are responding to product and methods. They're rocking 2-3 range curls just like my kids. But, nothing I have used on my kids' hair--like the Aubrey Organics Island Natural & Honeysuckle Rose conditioners, co-washing with Trader Joe's & Vo5, very diluted AVC rinse, sealing mositure with light oil--is working for them at the roots and on the ends. Detangling was a nightmare wet and dry and even with tons of conditioner on hair. Finally detangled well--no real loss of shed hair, they don't shed much anyway, just took forever to detangle--and then styled hair. But, once hair dried, the moisture in the air set in, they played and perspired, the day went by... at the end of the day their hair was terribly matted at roots again and ends strag-defied. :crybaby:

It would be nice to know what this all means because in the past two of my kids have had stringy ends. But, I don't rememebr exactly what I did to remedy this as we were doing the PJ thing and trying to tie down a reggie.

What does it mean when your hair has: straggly, stringy ends (no splits really or mega knots, but semi-rough non-crunchy stringy) and mats at root (like 3x the normal volume and weirdly stuck together like some crazy fusion, lol)? Too much protein? Not enuf? Need of serious moisture deep condition? Need to clarify mucho? What can you do to remedy it? Thanks in advance.
RIP Natasha Richardson

Holy Grails: Alba Botanica Leave-In Conditioner, AVG, EVO Coconut Oil, Amla Oil, KC Spiral Spritz, Brahmi Oil, Tea Tree eo, Rosemary eo, Distilled H2O, Aloe Vera Juice, Neem Oil, ACV, Dr. Bonner's Skikakai Castile Soap, Avocado Oil

Sometimes: AOMM Jelly, KCNT, KCCC

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