I have been doing a lot of research on "cones." I have realised that my hair is sensitive to dimethicone which is apparently a very resistant cone. Unfortunately I had been using products full of this cone all through 2011 which is why my hair began to break off. I was deep conditioning and moisturising and sealing and still was not retaining my length. If you do use products with dimethicone then it is necessary to use a shampoo containing sulphates, which is something I was not doing.
What I have learnt is that not all cones are made alike. There are three different types of cones. You have your typicaldimethicone which is not water soluble and does not evaporate. Then you have your cones which are not water soluble but evaporate from your hair within a few hours of application such as cyclomethicone and finally you have water soluble cones such as dimethicone copolyol.
Although I have sworn off of cones, I still do like to flat iron my hair each time I get a touch up which is about 4 times a year. Now most heat protectants contain a host of cones. I have found a few discussions on the hair forums regarding cone free heat protectants. I suppose it won't be that terrible to use a heat protectant with cones just four times a year. I will have to wash my hair with a sulphate shampoo to ensure I have removed the cones. I am trying to simplify this hair journey which can get so complicated at times.