Hi, Sunny Elf! I am growing out coarse wurls as well. I'm at mid neck length right now and I have come close to chopping it all back out of frustration with the tangles, dryness and cowlicks. But it can get better! I think, anyway. Sometimes no matter what I do I have terrible dry, unruly hair days. But probably everyone does. I'll take a crack at your questions to see if can help you with some of the stuff I've learned over the last year.
First though, let me tell you that my hair is 2C, coarse, thick, extremely protein sensitive and prone to frizz on my crown. I have also found that my hair does not do as well with straight oils (perhaps related to protein insensitivity and living in a dry climate) as it does with oil/moisture combinations. I think it's important to know your hair along these lines so you can best respond to its needs.
1. What can I do to make my wurls more even while my layers grow out?
If you are willing to do this, a trim from a trusted stylist who specializes in curly hair can make a HUGE difference. My new stylist, who I just a got a cut from, trims my wurls at the point along the S-curve where they turn inwards. This keeps them from sticking out and makes my hair look more evenly curly all over.
2. Will giving my hair the moisture it needs boost and define curls?
I think so, yes!
3. If so, what moisturizing treatments would you recommend?
I really like SMTs made with Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose conditioner. The GVP conditioning balm from Sally's Beauty is also AMAZING. Curly Junkie's curl rehab treatment (http://www.curljunkie.com/Moisturizi...y-p/crmhts.htm) is one of the most amazing conditioning treatments I have ever used. It's very expensive, but a little goes a long way. All of these are protein-free because I respond well to protein free treatments. I think it's worthwhile to cut protein out of your routine for a week or so to see if this makes your hair softer and more defined. I have bad luck with straight oils as DT's (I need more humectants), but light daily oilings are beneficial.
4. Is there any way I can push my 2c hair more towards being 3a?
Scrunching and plopping can help to encourage waves. When my hair is ultra-conditioned it is wavier than it is when it's dried out so maybe your hair just needs lots more moisture to make it curl up. Leave in styling aids such as gels can hold waves in a curlier state. But probably the best thing to do is to accept your hair texture as it is. It will be healthiest this way.
5. Would a leave-in conditioner be benefitial for my hair? If so, which have you had the most success with?
Leave-ins have helped me with frizz and floof. Shea Moisture curl and style milk is wonderful and available at Target. Leave-in stylers such as Curl Junkie Curls in a Bottle has a light hold and moisture which keeps my waves from falling or floofing during the day or while I sleep.
6. Is CO washing a good method of washing for 2c hair?
I CO wash a few times a week with once weekly non-sulfate shampoos to remove residue. I like it a lot! But I have to use protein-free condishes or I get extremely dried out over time.
7 (last one, I promise!). What is the BEST thing I can do to care for my wurls?
Love them of course! And lots of moisture. Best of luck!