Back in high school, I used to have shoulder-length long hair. But I always ended up with an afro and could describe my hair as... a dried-up mop. Plus, I'd get headaches in the summer since I would overheat. By the time I got to college and played some football, I just shaved it all off and have been doing that ever since.
However, I think I'll try to grow my hair out again, but would need to take care of it from the very beginning to ensure a soft, silky feel to it. I was planning to go with a "bowl" style haircut - draw a horizontal line about 1" above your eyebrows, shave everything below it, and grow out the top. This way, I wouldn't overheat and wouldn't grow a 'fro.
So what kind of hair care products would you girls (and I guess guys?) recommend for soft, silky hair? Also, I'd be exposing my hair to chlorine and sea water a lot, especially in the summertime. What about blond highlights? I guess I could lighten my entire hair color then put in highlights.