Protein was the first thing I thought of when you mentioned "straw", but another ingredient that I've discovered can make my hair brittle is glycerin/glycerol! After much trial and error I learned that my hair doesn't seem to mind small amounts of protein much at all in styling products. Protein deep treatments, however, cause my hair to feel dry even when it's wet! Hair gels with a high concentration of glycerin dry my hair out and cause tangles and knots.

But - protein and glycerin aside, what my hair needs most is moisture sealed onto it so my hair can eventually absorb it. Mostly I rely on leave-in conditioners to moisturize, because products that are supposed to both moisturize and style wind up causing frizz. In arid dry weather, if I try to use some of my favorites for humid weather, like Coffee Coco Curl Cream, or Argan Oil Curl Cream, they make my hair feel like burlap ropes coated in syrup.

My hair is naturally pretty coarse and low porosity, but I do color my hair with demi-permanent coloring. Strangely, coloring my hair seems to help it become more absorbent, probably because it damages it just enough to give it some porosity. Still, high percentages of glycerin can easily block my hair from being able to absorb any moisture in my products.I get split ends like crazy as well, and horrible, impossible knots. The dryer the air (low dew points I guess) the worse the split ends and tangles get.

For me, some of the CG friendly products that really help both moisturizing and styling are Curls in a Bottle, As I Am Coconut Cowash, SheaMoisture Conditioning Milk, SheaMoisture Moisture Mist, and Beautiful Curls Reviving Tonic.

If you're not strictly CG, you might be interested in these. Some do contain glycerin, but they don't dry out my hair like gels containing glycerin: Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls lotion, Ouidad Hydrafusion Intense Curl Cream, Paul Mitchell Curls Shampoo, Leave-in, and Twirl Around cream,Hair One Argan Oil Conditioning Cleanser & leave-in.

I wash my hair at night, a couple of times a week. I love to use Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls as a leave-in conditioner. Even though the ingredients list make it look like it would drying as all heck, when I wake up the next morning, my hair feels like silk and frizz stays away for at least 2nd day hair. I think this is the kind of product designed for coarser hair with low porosity (because it's light), and not many are. This stuff really, really helps with knots, too.
3b/c, Coarse, Low Porosity, Desert Climate
CG since August 2011/Modified since 2013
Favorites: KCKT, Curl Keeper, BRHG, Camille Rose Curl Maker,
Jane Carter Nourish & Shine Butter,
Curls Unleashed Second Chance Curl Refresher,
Shea Moisture Hold & Shine Moisture Spray