my hair is dense and carpet-y too!
I didn't know anyone else described their hair that way.
+1 on Eco
have you tried gels yet? a leave-in then Eco Styler (Olive or Yellow) might give a different look? I also mix the gel with condtioner and olive oil in a Glad storage container for a less crunchity outcome.
I used to just leave in a cheapie condish +oil when my hair was shorter. I sorta rolled w/ my rug-yness.
Looking back I wish i'd been more adventurous and tried a few styling products.