Okay, thanks for the info, and here are some suggestions! First, here is a website that has great info on how to better understand your curly hair: Curly Hair Basics | Live Curly Live Free
. It's important to learn whether your hair is coarse, medium, or fine in texture, and whether it is high, medium, or low in porosity. Once you determine these factors, search for them on this site, and you should be able to find products that enable your hair to be the best it can be!
Second, I would recommend that you read about the Curly Girl method (abbreviated as CG method), which can be found here: Dorm Room Curly: All in One Guide for the Curly Girl Method
. Basically, the method is to stop using sulfate shampoos and silicone conditioners, and start using healthy products for our kind of hair. Curly hair is not the same as straight hair, and it needs special treatment!
Using the CG method will give your curls the tender care that they need. You can search this forum for more info on the CG method as well. (P.S. Following the CG method does not need to be expensive; you can get Suave Naturals Coconut Conditioner and LA Looks Sports Gel for less than $5 combined.)
Finally, it is important to NOT brush your hair. Once you have washed with a sulfate free cleanser/shampoo and conditioned with a silicone-free conditioner, leave in some of the conditioner (as you have been doing- this is great!) and then put your silicone-free gel all throughout your hair. And that's it. No combing, no brushing. Leave everything until it's dry, then gently scrunch your hair to make it look less crunchy.
I hope this helps! You should definitely search youtube for some curly hair tutorials; there's a lot of great stuff there. Good luck!