I've been experimenting with different drugstore gels, all of them silicone-free and CG - L.A. Looks Nutra Curl, L'Oreal Studio Line Clean Gel, and L'Oreal Studio Line Melting Gel.
I think the main culprit may be the Melting Gel. I love it to pieces and have been using it for many years (I'm talking late 90s, when it was marketed specifically for waves and came in a wavy white container). It's very gloppy and watery compared to the other gels, a lot less sticky and with a light hold. It's really easy to overdo it because so much comes out of the tube at once and it spreads so easily/quickly through my hair. I like that I have no crunch or weigh-down, but it turns into gel soup in the shower.