Holy Grail Products (Staples)

Updated: February 27, 2014

The following list contains products that I consider staples, meaning, my hair likes them and I get consistent and beneficial results. I have the following hair properties:
  • Texture: Medium/Coarse with some fine areas by my nape and hairline
  • Density: Thick
  • Porosity: Low-normal (has normalized a bit most likely due to the age of my hair and my experimentation with color)
  • Priorities: Frizz Control and Moisture, Length Retention (Not growth necessarily)
  • I do not type my hair using Andre Walker’s system, nor do I know what type my hair falls under (it would most likely be a mix though). By the Curly Girl system, I have fractal and corkscrew curls.
Please, do not blindly buy everything on this list just because I like it, ESPECIALLY if you have differing hair properties from me (and don’t buy things just b/c you think our hair “looks” the same). I encourage you to listen to/read/watch the reviews to determine if the product sounds/looks like something your hair would like. Also, if asked, I will not provide you with a list of products to purchase. It is your hair, your money, and your decision. I hope you find the info on this page helpful, but ultimately, it is up to you. Enjoy!


  • Ouidad Curl Co-Wash

Deep Conditioners

Protein Treatments/Conditioners

Cleansing Conditioner

Rinse Outs

Leave-in Conditioners

Without Glycerin
Hair Milks


Gels (for Wash and Gos)


Twists/Twist Outs



  • Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil
  • Rosemary (EO)
Straightening Products
Refresher Sprays
Beauty Products

A few notes:

  • These are all products I consider to be holy grails, and do not include products that I will simply rebuy due to a sale, if I’m bored, etc…I buy lots of things on a whim or if I’m in a bad mood (lol).
  • VITAMINS: I do not take vitamins to grow my hair. But, I do like vitamins in general and take hair/skin/nails vitamins for overall health. My fave is Viviscal (this vitamin also contains iron). Also, please remember that no matter what you try to get your hair to grow, it doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t using proper hair care practices to RETAIN length. Check out my playlist on Health/Growth & Retention for more information on vitamins and healthy hair practices.
  • FORMULATION CHANGES: If I remove a product from my HG list due to a formulation change, it does not mean that the new formulation is bad. It just means that I have not tried the new formula, and I can’t have something on my list that I haven’t tried. That’s one of the benefits of having several staples – I don’t cry when I have to remove something!

Comparing ProductsI am often asked to compare two products in the same category (for instance KCCC vs. UFD, UFD vs. Pattern Pusha, etc). Truthfully, the best way to compare products is to view the review for each product and make your own comparison – I try to be very thorough in my reviews and go over several objective details in addition to how they performed on my hair. When the initial review is done, the thoughts are fresh in my head, so that is when you will receive the most information. Sometimes, the result is so similar (like with KCCC and UFD) that I may do a video/photo comparing them side by side in my hair, but this will not be a common theme of the blog because there are just too many possible combinations and I often mention some similar products in the reviews.

Honorable Mentions – These are products I rebuy on sale or with free shipping. Most of my HGs I can either buy on the ground or am able to do hauls with multiple products and get a discount and/or free shipping. Mainly, things I can buy from AveYou, Vitacost, Sage, iHerb, etc. These other products are not as readily available and I can live without them (while pouting), but I still like them a lot.

Thanks, lovies! xoxo

215 Responses to “Holy Grail Products (Staples)”

  1. tash099 January 6, 2014 at 7:40 AM #

    Do you wash your hair before the cherry Lola treatment? I’m thinking of doing one my next wash day for some protein.

    • Elle January 6, 2014 at 8:30 AM #

      No, I usually apply to dry hair.

      • tash099 January 9, 2014 at 3:45 PM #

        And I don’t see a detangling section, which products do you like to use for that?

      • Ardie Love March 27, 2014 at 1:18 PM #

        Elle, I follow you on YouTube and was wondering… Have you ever or will you try the water only method of cleansing your hair. I’m trying it now, not even a week yet but I’m looking forward to seeing how this works.

      • Elle March 27, 2014 at 6:31 PM #

        Nope, not at all! I use too many products on my hair for that to work. I need an efficient (yet gentle of course) cleanser – if I go too long without cleansing, I get white gunk in my hair when I apply my leave-in.

    • Elle January 9, 2014 at 3:50 PM #

      The conditioners in the list are also used to detangle. I don’t use special products for detangling.

  2. leahmarieoverstreet November 2, 2013 at 12:03 PM #

    So all of the products on the updated Holy Grail list can be used year round?

    • Elle November 2, 2013 at 12:48 PM #

      No…I just cannot use products heavy on glycerin all year round, which is why some were removed. Some I removed for other reasons. Also, please keep in my mind that my list is a reflection of products that work for me, and the ones in the Honorable Mentions also work. However, you may have different results.

      • leahmarieoverstreet November 7, 2013 at 5:23 AM #

        Hi Elle,

        I have been experimenting with Carol’s Daughter Smoothing Chocolate conditioner. I used it once for a rinse out, the slip was minimum to little. I thought I would give it another shot and attempted a twist out on wet hair. The end result was hair that had a filmy coating. Can you tell me if this is a result of using too much product or is the conditioner best used on dry twist outs?
        Thanks in advance!

  3. legallynatural October 31, 2013 at 12:45 PM #

    I noticed the Camille Rose milk moved down, I do not like the new formula with all the other stuff added in. The old formula moisturized better IMO. Im sad too bc that was my fave!

    • Elle October 31, 2013 at 12:53 PM #

      You know what, I’ve actually never tried the new formula! I have a bottle of the old one still. Interesting that they changed the ingredients.

  4. S.d. Leonard October 30, 2013 at 5:49 PM #

    Wow, you completely revamped your HG list. There are no leave-ins with glycerin…is there any reason behind that?

    • Elle October 31, 2013 at 12:32 PM #

      I’ve said in the past that I do not like glycerin products unless they are inexpensive because I cannot use them year round. I only had one up there and moved it to my honorable mentions.

  5. justjali October 29, 2013 at 9:33 AM #

    =( So sad to see you cross off KMF Upper Management Gel due to the ingredients change. *sheds single tear* I’m curious what gel you will be reaching for the most when your supply runs out (assuming you have a bit of a supply of the old formula like me).

    • Elle October 29, 2013 at 3:47 PM #

      I don’t have one. :( The only other HG gel I really have now that I consistently use year round is AV gel, and sometimes that’s too light if it’s really humid.

      • justjali October 31, 2013 at 12:59 PM #

        Gotcha =’( thanks for responding. My hair doesn’t even respond well to aloe so it’s really tough for me… if i find anything that caters to super picky hair, I’ll holla!

  6. Janelle Hunter October 24, 2013 at 4:56 PM #

    Hey Elle,

    where is the B.A.S.K. Palm Tapioca Deluxe Hair Cream sold?? i googled it and can’t find anything on it….

  7. sutton989 September 1, 2013 at 7:32 AM #

    Hi Elle, I have two random questions for you…When you were relaxed were you able to do wash and gos? Also, how long was your hair when you were relaxed? Thanks :)

    • Elle September 1, 2013 at 8:35 AM #

      I did them sometimes in summer, but they didn’t look good. I wouldn’t have considered them “doing” my hair. When I was relaxed, my hair was a variety of lengths. It was around BSL, then I cut it to my chin, and throughout the years with hair cuts it was chin length to about APL.

  8. chicagocutie August 3, 2013 at 4:36 PM #

    Hey Elle, have you seen the new ingredient list on the KMF website? Seems the Upper Management gel now has Glycerin (second ingredient) and the formula looks to have been completely revamped. Pinged their Facebook page inquiring as to why the change, but so far no response. :(

    • Elle August 6, 2013 at 4:32 PM #

      Omg. Noooooo! :( I’m sad now.

    • justjali August 7, 2013 at 1:56 PM #

      Omg noooooo! My hair doesn’t like aloe or glycerin and this is literally the only gel that agrees with me. Say it ain’t so :’( I ordered my first bottle from drugstore.com after big chopping. It’s weird because I ordered a 3-pack on Amazon and even though these ingredients listed are the same, the one from Amazon makes my hair more dry. I wonder if they had already tweaked it. Elle or Chicago, have you noticed inconsistency in results from different bottles of the formula? Omg. So sad still. My hair isn’t long enough to twist or otherwise style yet and I rely on gel for my wash and gos.

      • justjali August 7, 2013 at 1:58 PM #

        correction: from different bottles of the OLD formula?

      • Elle August 7, 2013 at 2:29 PM #

        Hey Jali, I’ve never actually used the bottle with the newer design, so I can’t say. I’ve only gotten the older bottle with my orders.

      • chicagocutie August 7, 2013 at 4:40 PM #

        Justjali, I haven’t tried the new formula. I accidentally stumbled upon the product change. I’d recently purchased a bottle and noticed a ‘scent’, that’s the best way I can describe it, was emitted from my hair while under my hooded dryer….this ‘scent’ made my eyes quite irritated. I thought it was odd because I’d never had that experience with KMF before. I compared my recent bottle to a few others I had on stock and the ingredients were the same. At this point I figured it must be in my head; however it happened again the next time I used KMF. Again, on the hunt I went, because in my previous search the KMF site ingredient list was a duplicate as on my bottle, but this time I noticed things had changed drastically, i.e glycerin. I don’t believe the new formula has rolled out to many of the online vendors since many still list the old ingredient list. I ordered 8 bottles from Vitacost and confirmed with them ingredients on their site in fact matched the bottles (didn’t want any surprises). Not sure how long before the new formula takes over.

      • justjali August 8, 2013 at 8:10 AM #

        ugh. What a mess! Thanks to both of you ladies for responding. Elle, I know what you’re talking about. I think all of my bottles have had the newer design. Do you use Vitacost as well? I might try ordering from them but I think I’m just going to stick to my last 2 1/2 bottles and CJ Pattern Pusha which hopefully will get me through to being able to do twistouts. Not cool, KMF! Not cool. Don’t they know people love this stuff and that glycerin is so incompatible with a lot of people’s hair? I would think they are going to see a drastic decline in their sales. If anyone knows of any other medium-hold glycerin and aloe-free gels, please shoot me a reply. Thanks again.

    • justjali August 9, 2013 at 9:10 AM #

      Just kidding, I totally just ordered 4 bottles from Vitacost. Thanks a lot for your research chicagocutie… knowing that you called and confirmed ingredients allowed me to order enough that will hopefully last me until I’m at a length where I can start twistouts and move away from gel for the most part. *sigh* why are they doing this?! They seem so shameless on their Facebook page about it too. It would be nice to show some care about your loyal customers’ reaction and input about these things. Jeez.


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