Leave-in before gel. Well, half the time, I don't even bother with gel, but you get the picture.
Also, careful with what hold you get. Some just deal with stronger holds by SOTC (scrunching out the crunch), but I don't really like to bother with that. A really popular "gel" for fine-haired curlies has become aloe vera (pure), so if you don't want to be weighed down, you might want to look at that?
And the products I use are in my signature. I have low porosity hair though, so the products I use are generally watery and have to soak in slowly.
Oh yeah, and your sealant can sometimes ease the effect of your gel