I'm pretty new to this myself but I agree that going low or no poo should make a difference. I put products in soaking wet hair which makes a big difference too.
You mentioned a few products, I light suggest starting from scratch and using just one at a time. Then you can get a feel for what each one does for you, and them you'll be able to later them as needed. A lot of people do their no poo routine, layer in a leave in, then a creme or gel. Some use both. (I use Kinky Curly custard and a gel on top of it)
Also, regarding combing it out- you mentioned a big poofy mess when combing it dry. Yeah, nothing will stop that. I don't think that there is anyone not his board who will tell you that combing or brushing their hair dry does anything but make it look like a puffer fish!
Curly work in progress
2C with some 3A if all the stars align
Low porosity, medium to low density and fine
No sulfates since 2009
CG since 2013
In my stash:
Shampoos and conditioners- Tresemme Naturals Low Poo, Tresemme Naturals Moisturizing Aloe, Suave Naturals Coconut
Leave Ins- Kinky Curly Knot Today
Stylers- KCCC, AG Recoil, KY Lubricant (yup), SM Curl Milk
Gels- Ecostyler, Biosilk RHG
Mousse- Devacurl Uplifting Foam, Suave Captivating Curls