Princeton, your hair looks great!
I'm back on 'cones, too. Sigh. (I can quit anytime I want!) I haven't used an SLS, ALS cleanser in years, but even when I don't use silicones, I do need to use a clarifying cleanser once a month. I've noticed that when it's super dry, and low dew point temperatures, 'cones really help my hair, but glycerin can dry it out. Amodimethicone doesn't seem to bother my hair at all, and dimethicone isn't too bad. I have to be careful with the "cyclo" ones, for some reason.
Did you use a silicone styler in your braids? Silicone products seem so light to me, I don't think they would hold braids or twists in my hair. I wonder if they're going to help with detangling when you take out your braids...Keep us posted.
GoddessCurls - I used a Denman for years before I found CG, etc. It's way way better than those "vent" brush things or regular bristle hair brushes that only tear your hair out. Now I'm stuck on my Ouidad comb. The other day my hair was so tangled I wanted to see if a brush would make any difference in how long it was going to take to untangle. I looked for my Denman, and I found out one of my sons stole it and took it to college with him. (That brush is older than he is!). So I tried to use a hairbrush I use for my daughter, called the "Wet" Brush. It works great on my 4 year old daughter, but it was no match for my hair. If the Denman is too much for your hair you may want to try the "Wet" brush. It doesn't look like much, but it completely detangles my daughter's wet hair, easily and gently. It weighs way less than the Ouidad comb or the Denman, too, so your arm won't get numb trying to get knots out of your hair.
3b, Coarse, Low Porosity, Desert ClimateFavorites: CK Knot Today, Mystic Divine Shampoo, Conditioner & Curl Cream, Miracle 7 Heavenly Healer Shampoo & Leave-in, Miss Jessie's Quick Curls, Ouidad Climate Control Gel