It's possible that your hair is reacting to the baking soda. My hair hates it. Makes it feel like straw. Seems like you could use more moisture in your regime. Can't imagine just using baking soda and leave in "when it seems to need it."
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity

HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic; Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Aloe Fix