I feel your pain DrN ... I live for the day when the 'slightly frizzy, neither straight nor curly, big hair' look is in vogue. In the meantime it is GHDs or a paper bag I am afraid. Product on my unstyled hair makes it look worse. <<sigh>>
I wash my hair every day but I only shampoo once or twice a week. The rest of the time I rinse well then just condition. Then I use a bit of serum and then Boots curl creme. I also twirl my hair into ringlets when it is drying and when dry run my fingers through it to shake the curls out. I have found after many years of trying different things that this works best for me!