Have you visited livecurlylivefree.com yet? They have a ton of info for determining your hair properties, which are an excellent starting point (they also sell a hair analysis service- you mail samples and they tell you your properties). I got the analysis after finding that my hair didn't act the way I was expecting it to based on what I thought my properties were- turns out I was wrong about my properties and once I adjusted for that my curls started behaving much better.
The other thing you might want to do is look up the dew points for your area and read up about ingredients to look for and/or avoid. For example, some people can't use glycerin in lower dew points.

Finally, it sounds crazy, but keep a hair journal of what you use, how your hair looks and feels and the dew point for the day. That will help you narrow down ingredients.

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Modified CG since 11/5/11
CLEANSE: CJ Daily Fix, DevaCare No-Poo, CHS Treatment Shampoo
RO: SS Caitlin's Conditioner, CJ Beauticurls Strengthening
LI: SS Repairing Protein Treatment, CHS Silk Leave-In
STYLE: Re:Coil, Curl Keeper, Deva Ultra Defining Gel, Curls Rock Amplifier,Sweet Curls Elixirs Okra Gel and Hard Hold Gel, SS Curl Enhancing Jelly and Firm Hold Gel