Sounds like you need to use a moisturizer either via a leave in or a hair milk.
Have you tried the prayer method when putting gel in your hair? I don't rake because I was pulling my hair out...with the prayer method my curls are weighed down, I'm getting the roots and ends evenly and I'm not losing a bunch of hair. The trick is to make sure to use a slippery leave in, Tresseme Naturals is great, cheap and moisturizing.
**sophisticated ignorance, I type my cuss words in cursive**
Current Rotation (always changing): Curl Junkie Curl Rehab as my Leave-In, Blended Beauty Happy Nappy Styles, Entwine Argan Oil, Bobeam Shampoo Bars, QB CTDG and QB AHTB, UFD Curly Magic, B.A.S.K Anything.