I find that without gel, my curlier hair gets curlier and my straighter hair gets straighter and sticks right out underneath...Gel is sort of a moderator, weighing down the curlier parts and propping up the straighter parts so it looks a lot more consistent than it really is. Also lot of times without product it will look pretty good while it's drying but once it finally gets all the way dry it falls apart.

Really I've used styling goop in my hair pretty much my whole life, I think I have the kind of hair that works better with a bunch of stuff in it.
2c / C / iii (FIA)
Med-Coarse, LowPorosity, NormalElast (LCLF)

Shoulder-Length now.

Wash: DevaCare Low Poo
Detangle & Rinseout: Walgreens or Sally's Conditioning Balm (always)
Leave-in: DevaCare OneC (budget choice is GFTN)
Style: ReCoil & DevaCare Arc Angel (budget choices are HESMU or Got2BSpikedUp)

Henna!