Hi - I'm very much older than you are and my hair is 2c/3a so I'm not sure how similar our hair is, but here's my input. I use L'Oreal Preference and I grayed young so I've been dying my hair since I was in my 20's.

I try to use a combo protein/deep treatment a few days in advance of using the color which I think makes the hair stronger and less prone to damage from the dye.

After using the dye I either use the conditioner with cones that comes with it or Curl Junkie Curl Rehab. The Curl Junkie is expensive otherwise I would use it exclusively because I think it leaves my hair in better shape than the conditioner that comes in the Preference box - it is terrific stuff and doesn't have cones, so, yes, I'm sure you can use a cone free conditioner and get excellent results.

If you find one that isn't very expensive that works great for you, please post back!
2/c and some 3A. Modified CG.
Protein sensitive
Highly porous. Color over grey.
Best 1st day method: Super Soaker
Conditioners: Curl Junkie Beauticurls Strengthening Conditioner,
Deep condish: Curl Junkie Curl Rehab
Stylers: Mix Curls in a Bottle into everything for shine. Terrible pj
Sometimes try roller sets - classic glamor but I prefer my curls.
Every day is a gift