Just chiming in to say that I also get better results with using conditioner only as a styler as opposed to gel. For years, I thought I needed gel to get good curl formation and to keep frizz at bay; however, I've come to realize that my hair looks, feels, and behaves better without gel. Another perk of using conditioner as my styler is that it doesn't take nearly as long to dry as when I use gel, nor does my hair feel dried out the next day.
I won't completely rid my stash of gel, as it's good to use on the occasions I want a lot of hold, but 90% of the time, I'm happy with my hair when I only use conditioner ~ good amount of volume, softness and shine. One more perk: I rarely get second day hair, but when I use conditioner in place of gel, I can sometimes skip a wash. I could NEVER do that when I used gel.
Hair Type: 3A/3B; natural color; mid-back length.
Daily: CO Wash - V05 Kiwi Lime.
As Needed: Giovanni 50:50 Balancing Shampoo.
Fave Conditioners: KCKT Leave-In; Jessicurl Too Shea; HE Hello Hydration; Wen 613.
Styling Routine: Squish-scrunch product /conditioner into soaking wet, upside down hair; plop for 5-10 minutes, then air dry. (Diffuser dry occasionally.)
Fave Styling Products: Jessicurl CC; various conditioners as styling product; LA Looks Sport Gel.