Geez...I am probably a bad person to help you here. Kathymack is one of my favorite gurus - and she truly knows what she's talking about! I have the same problems as you, with dryness and tangles, and I'm working at the same time as you to solve them. I think products have to have something in them to keep the hair "intact", otherwise hair would start to disintegrate like material that has been through the wash too many times. So it's trial and error when it comes to deciding what works best, most of the time.

What I've Observed in About Two Years of Being a Self-Imposed Lab Rat:

I don't know very much about ingredients, either. I believe panthenol is a B vitamin that adds moisture. I haven't found any of my hair problems that I can trace specifically to panthenol...yet, but I'm in the same process of trial and error.

I know bran can be from any grain...rice bran, oat bran, corn bran, etc. (That's the extent of my knowledge...)

My hair cannot seem to stand gels or styling "glazes".

I think polyquats neutralize the negative charge of cleansers. (?) At this point, I don't know enough about how each specific polymer functions in its formulation to be able to tell if they all affect my hair. So far, though, I suspect Polyquat-10 sort of "flattens" my hair, and I avoid it. I think Polyquat-44 works for me...But I'm basing this on the ingredients in the products I use that either work well or not. I think ingredients can react differently depending upon their delivery and function in their specific formulations.

I don't think silk amino acids bother my hair, because they may enhance moisture-binding capacity. But I may change my mind as I'm able to further narrow down what my hair likes.

I try to avoid any silicones in multiple products, and I try not to use them repeatedly without a coco-betaine cleanse. Strangely, I don't notice a problem with amodimethicone build-up in cleansers. Usually when I use silicone serums (i.e. moroccan oil, etc.) and conditioners my hair reacts badly within hours. It clumps up, tangles, and feels waxy - no matter how small of an amount I apply. Maybe it's because of multiple silicones in the formulas.

I don't use any product every day, and there are some days I refresh with water only if needed, so there's less of a chance of build-up. My hair doesn't like a whole lot of glycerin (but even this is all right if the product is moisturizing enough). I can tell when I've used too much too often, because my hair gets completely unmanageable.

One protein product I used that I thought was going to make my hair crack like broken glass was Ion Effective Care Treatment, which contains a lot of vegetable protein. My reaction could have been caused more by the fact that my hair was damaged, rather than the treatment, but I would be afraid to ever get this near my hair again. I use products with keratin only occasionally (like the One & Only Mask. It's fabulous for once & awhile but probably not good for more than twice a month.) But my hair does need something to allow it to have substance, because it is color treated.

Have you tried any Jessicurlproducts? Too Shea! is a really nice conditioner for moisture and as a leave-in. (It's not very detangling, though, at least for me). I love Jessicurl Oil Blend for Softer Hair.
3b/c, Coarse, Low Porosity, Desert Climate
CG since August 2011/Occasionally Modified since 2013
Favorites:KCKT/KCCC/CHS Curl Keeper/Camille Rose Curl Maker/
ORS Curls Unleased Second ChanceRefresher/
It's a 10 Leave-in/BRHG/
Jane Carter Nourish & Shine butter/
Ouidad Double-Detangler Comb