I have figured out that the key to having soft, healthy looking curls is to slop on the conditioner and gel when my hair is dripping wet, squeeze out the excess water (possibly applying more conditioner and gel to the very wet hair) and let it air dry. Once 98-100% dry, scrunch out the crunch from the gel. My curls end up looking soft and healthy.
I’m still working on getting the back looking decent but I think this crappy back of head thing is from the way I’m trying to dry my hair. So I will be fiddling with that some.
DH suggested I do my deep conditioning treatments twice a week since my hair is so bad. I may try that.