I do rake in my leave-in. Then I scrunch in my styling products. I scrunch from the ends up to the roots, and I squeeze a bit around the sections along the length, both with my hands (when applying product) and with my curl towel. That puts the clumps back that get broken up. Since my hair is fine, I have to scrunch very gently or everything breaks apart beyond any ability to get it back together. Scrunching gently and squeezing a bit along the length keeps that from happening.
But if I use t much product, my hair will end up stringy no matter what I do. And there are some products that make my hair stringy regardless, like KBB Hair Milk.