I'm so glad I found this thread! You are all my people!
If I wear a wash and go I always apply the leave-in and gel on soaking wet hair. I shake (shingling destroys the curls) until my head hurts (lol) and then do the circular motion on my hair with my palms and shake again.
I classify my hair as 4b because if I just let my hair dry not a curl/kink/coil to be seen...