Don't be afraid to try gels. If you get crunch, just scrunch it out. Believe me, I want just about as hard a hold as you can get, and while it's drying my hair looks like it's shellacked, but once I scrunch the crunch out you can't tell I have product in my hair. I have curls without the gel, but they will separate and get very floaty.
Former longhair, now CG, living in N. California where the fog meets the wind
3a/b, fine, normal porosity/elasticity, high density
Conditioner wash and style, sometimes with a dab of BRHG.