I need major HELP! I've been reading and researching as much as I can to no avail, so I need the expertise of my fellow curlies!

I have been CG since June 2012, but for the past 5 months have used strictly Deva products which worked well for me. This past month, I've ventured out, trying new gels/products that are HG products for other curlies with similar properties to me (see my siggie!). I've tried the Ecostyler gel, ic hair polishing gel, and KCCC all with and without the addition of SM Smoothie. Every single time, without fail in all of these combos, my hair turns out with awful curl definition, the hair "separates" and becomes "airy" although not frizzy, and might qualify as "mushy." Even when I put on A TON of gel, it still comes out as if the gels have no hold at all, although so many other curlies say that these gels usually give them too much crunch!!! I WISH I HAD CRUNCH TO SCRUNCH OUT! Ugh.

I'm a newbie at these other products, and despite intense researching of the forums, I'm clueless as to what the issue is here. Maybe an ingredient such as protein or glycerin or something that my hair is reacting to? A part of my routine that I'm doing incorrectly? I'm using the Deva no-poo roughly once a week, the Suave natural condish when I co-wash instead of no-poo, and Generic Conditioning Balm from Sally's as my moisturizing condish. I can always go back to the Deva gel (the arc anGel), but it's so expensive and hard to access. Anyone have any insight, diagnosis, anything??? The first two pictures are of happy, defined curls with the Deva gel. The third picture (I apologize for the low quality) show the unhappy, undefined "mushy" curls. THANKS to anyone helping me figure this out! It's so frustrating
Originally Posted by shalomcurls
Ok this is off your topic, but I like the way your hair is in the bang area and the area that frames your face. How do you get volume there or style it? Mine is always too flat to my head! Thanks!