I can't tell from the photos, but is your hair longer than before you developed this problem?
I know the *definition* of a 3a is someone who's hair gets curlier as it gets longer, but when you say the curls start to form but get pulled out, I wondered if lightening the weight with a little shorter hair might help.
Also, if you're going to try clips, Mayim's pictures are the best (Thank you, Mayim)
CG since 7/04 2a/3a Carlos:"Strong wavy"
Fine brunette Cut to shoulder length from past bsl - love it shorter = curlier!
Spirals in summer Wavy S's in winter
MOP c-system hydrating poo & moisture complex