Aubrey Organics does not contain hydrolysed protein, large 'whole' proteins cannot penetrate and that product is the devil to rinse for some.

Yes it does make a difference for your hair to be bone dry when you scrunch out the crunch unless you have a very strong curl pattern, not touching when hair is drying is a key part of the CG method. Sounds silly but avoid mirrors and don't touch and you won't know how your hair looks or feels! Or certainly diffuse to part dry, or experiment with longer plops.

Dews are high so limit or avoid the more potent humectants - glycerin, honey, propylene glycol, aloe vera etc. Is some AV in your conditioner IIRC, tho it's likely not causing a problem as a rinse out only.

Shea Moisture curl smoothie is a styler not a leave in conditioner, shea butter is quite heavy and can build up for some. You should be using an emollient rich conditioner - look for fatty alcohols and/ or cationic surfactants at the top of the ingredients list. Being so heavy on oils and butters that will massively slow drying time and is high risk for the greasies.

You might simply try diluting your gel down with water in small batches to get the consistency you want. Seems to me at present your gel is fighting the effects of your other styler, one potentially weighs hair down and softens the hold, the other is trying to bounce your hair back up again. IMO purchase a proper leave in conditioner and drop the Shea Moisture smoothie.
2a-2c, medium texture, porous/ colour treated. Three years CG. Past bra strap length heading for waist.

CO-wash: Inecto coconut/ Elvive Volume Collagen
Treatments: Komaza Care Matani, coconut/ sweet almond/ fractionated coconut oils, Hairveda Sitrinillah
Leave in: Fructis Sleek & Shine (old), Gliss Ultimate Volume, various Elvive
Styler: Umberto Giannini jelly, Au Naturale styling gelee
Flour sack towel, pixie diffuse or air dry.
Experimenting with: benign neglect