need help with 2a hair...

I'm new (sorta kinda not really) to actually trying to make my hair look decent, as I've finally gotten off of my lazy bum to try and fix it, so please excuse me for any obvious and stupid mistakes I've made.... (:

but anyway, so as i've said i have (thick!)2a hair that is a little bit longer than shoulder-length. my main problem is that my hair gets extremely poofy. i've found that my ends are drier and coarser compared to my roots. not sure if that's just a flaw on my conditioning habits..

i've searched through the forums and found that you guys like specifics, so here it is!

i use aveeno nourish+shine/moisturize to wash. not washing my hair everyday is a no-no for me, as i find my head feels sweaty and nasty after i go to the gym. i've first tried to shampoo every other day, but found that that also leaves my head feeling gross (more specifically, my roots end up oily, while my ends are still dry and coarse).

i've tried to use various leave-in products like dove style+care cream serum and john freeda frizz-ease curl reviver and found those ineffective.

i've also tried to dry my hair in a bun, but my hair's so thick it was still wet after sleeping for 6 hours!

all i'm really looking for is an effective leave-in product to help ease my hair's stubborn poofiness so that I can air-dry my hair without having to tie it up in shame afterwards but any tips are welcome!!!
To combat poof, I absolutely must use a gel, and lots of it. Are you not using any styling products? The key is to distribute it really well, scrunch it all over, and completely leave it alone while its drying. Once it's BONE DRY, flip your head over and scrunch more to break up the crunch.
2C/ Coarse/ Normal porosity/ SW Florida/ Salt & Pepper
Cleanse: CJ Daily Fix, JC Cleansing Cream, TJ Tea Tree Condish
Condish: JC Too Shea, CJ Curl Rehab (both as RO & LI)
Stylers: UFD CM, CJ PP, JC Spiralicious, Darcy's Cream Gel & Cocoa bean whip
I have oily roots but dry ends also, and I have the poof factor too. Im not strict CG so i use bioterra moisturizing shampoo occasionally because sometimes I feel I have build up but most days I only co-wash. About once a week I put a moisturizing conditioner in my hair and then use an anti dandruff on my scalp only. When I style I use two leave ins but only on my ends. Lately I've been using suave coconut conditioner and curly kinks deep conditioner. Then I put in bioterra gel and let air dry. I have a lot of hair so it takes a while to dry but this system has worked for me to keep the oily scalp down but keep my length moisturized and not poofy.
thanks for the replies! i haven't tried gel yet before, but i'll give it a try and buy some the next time i head to the store (:

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