Holy Grail (Favorite) Products

Updated: March 23, 2020

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 (Color-treated w/ bleach in January 2017)
  • 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. 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! 
xoxo
Note: All black-owned brands are indicated on the page as well.

Shampoo 

Deep Conditioners

Protein Treatments/Conditioners

Cleansing Conditioner

Rinse Outs

Leave-in Conditioners (Note, I added Alikay and MC to this category b/c they have the texture of a more traditional leave-in)

Without Glycerin 
Hair Milks/Lotions
  • Oyin Hair Dew and pt. 2 here. (black-owned brand)
  • Camille Rose Naturals Curl Love (black-owned brand)
  • Alaffia Babies & Up Hair and Body Lotion (black-owned brand)
  • Shea Shea Makery Body & Hair Lotion (black-owned brand)

Moisturizers

  • Qhemet Biologics Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee (Black-owned brand)

Stylers

Gels (for Wash and Gos)

Finishers

Twists/Twist Outs

Pomades/Sealants

Oils

  • Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil
  • Rosemary (EO)
  • Aunt Jackie’s Girls E-Blast Oil
  • Camille Rose Natural Nibs & Honey Ultimate Growth Serum (black-owned brand)
Straightening Products
Refresher Sprays
  • Uncle Funky’s Daughter Defunk (black-owned brand)
  • Hairizon Aloe Spray (black-owned brand)
  • HerbnLife Head Sprung (black-owned brand)
  • Alaffia Reviving Tonic (black-owned brand)
  • Alikay Naturals Hair Perfume (black-owned brand)
Beauty Products
  • Face Cleanser: Jade & Fox Co. Liquid Gold (black-owned brand)
  • Face Mask: Various
  • Face Moisturizer: Black Girl Sunscreen & Bolden Brightening Moisturizer (Black-owned brands)
  • Face Toner: TN Dickinson Witch Hazel
  • Face Mist/Setting Spray: Pixi Glow Mist
  • Face Oil: Rose Hip Oil, Argan Oil
  • Body Lotion: B.A.S.K. Whipped Custard in Muscovado Vanilla or Shea Shea Bakery (Black-owned brand)
  • Foot Moisturizer: Oyin Whipped Pudding (Black-owned brand), Gold Bond Radiance Renewal Cream Oil
  • Liquid Lipstick: Various
  • Traditional Lipstick: Mented Cosmetics and Pat McGrath
  • Mascara: Pat McGrath (Black-owned)
  • Pressed Foundation: Laura Geller Bake n Brighten in Medium
  • Liquid Foundation: Beauty Bakerie Cake Mix (#35) and Sknydip (Creamsicle) – both black-owned
  • Foundation Stick: Mented L10 (Black-owned)
  • Eyeliner: Pretty Vulgar
  • Eyeshadow: Beauty Bakerie and Pat McGrath (Black-owned brands)
  • Bronzer: Beauty Bakerie Deja Brew (Black-owned brand) or Fenty Mocha
  • Highlighter: Nine Three Beauty (various shades, Black-owned brand)
  • Brows: MLN Beauty (black-owned)
  • Perfume: Solstice Scents oils, Dior Hypnotic Poison, Comptoir Sud Pacifique Amour De Cacao

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. Right now I am taking Futurebiotics Hair, Skin, and Nails, which I like right now. 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.

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

289 thoughts on “Holy Grail (Favorite) Products

  1. Lydia says:

    Hi Elle! I just wanted to ask you how do you do all of your natural hair product research. Everytime I check your website or youtube channel, you’re always mentioning a product I never heard of before. Could you give me tips on how to do my own research. No ones hair is the same, so instead of asking whats the best shampoo or gel, I rather find a product that might fit me perfectly. Are books and forums about natural hair helpful?

    • Elle says:

      Yes, I’d check out forums and natural hair books. I go over the books I like in my “You Just Big Chopped, Now What?” video, and the 4a board on NaturallyCurly always has the info on new products. When I look up ingredients, I use Google (often ingredients are sold on cosmetic base sites, so they discuss what the ingred is and its benefits for hair) or I look it up in some books I have.

      • Lydia says:

        Thank you so much! Everytime I feel like I got it all figured out, somehow I’m back to being lost and confused lol. Thank you again.

  2. Naka says:

    Hey Elle, just wondering why the Knotty Girl conditioner isn’t on your holy grail list. You mention liking it in your videos and it used to be on your old hoyl grail list. Just curious to find out why it didn’t make the cut!

    • Elle says:

      No reason in particular – I think I just had too many conditioners already. I think I took it off to add my other MSM condish as a protein condish, but then I took that off too because I seriously have a billion conditioners. I have some right now though and often buy a bottle when I pick up the leave in. I mention that more in my videos (the leave in) and it’s certainly on the list.

  3. Stephanie D. says:

    Do you think Shea Moisture Black Soap Shampoo is good? My hair really seems to like black soap, but the bottle I have right now is only a sample so I’m looking into other brands.

  4. TD says:

    I just want you to know how grateful I am that your website is so organized and detailed. THANK YOU!!!! I tried some of your staples and they really work well on my hair. But I was wondering, when do you use hair puddings instead of gels? The Aloe gel works well, but since I am product happy I ordered the pudding also but am not sure when to use it.

    • Elle says:

      You’re welcome! There’s really no specific time I use a pudding vs. a gel – it just depends on what I feel like using that day. Remember, they’re all stylers. Hth!

  5. Ricky says:

    Hey Elle,
    I’m pretty new to your blog and I have to say you’re pretty awesome! Haha seriously keep up the good work because it’s highly appreciated.

    On a separate note, I wanted to ask for some advice..my hair has grown out longer, BSL, with about 3 inches remaining from my first and last perm from about 1 year ago. The products the my hair use to love, it now seems to hate. From what I’ve seen thus far in your videos, my hair type and “behavior” ha, is about the same as yours minus the thickness. With all of that stated, is there any products you would recommend?

    Thanks so much,
    Ricky

  6. ChellB says:

    Hey, I love your YT channel. I have never had a perm but I use Perm Repair Daily Moisture Treatment (very inexpensive) before blowing drying my hair. I was wondering if you have ever tried it. I have not quite figured out how to use it in when wearing my hair out naturally.

  7. curlyrootsx3 says:

    Elle, I’m big chopping soon and trying to get a regimen ready. I can’t seem to find a good shampoo or deep conditioner worth its price. Can you recommend some? I’d prefer ones I can get on the ground. Also, I was considering the Creme of Nature Argan Oil Shampoo, but I hear so much negativity about parabens. What do you think of parabens? Thank you & have a good day :).

    – Signed a Transitioning Teen 🙂

    • HB says:

      See above! I don’t have a lot of luck with shampoos, so the CON is what I get on the ground, along with the Shea Moisture Purification Masque for DC’ing (at Walgreens and Target). I’ll worry about parabens in my hair when I start eating food without parabens in them.

  8. Jessica S. says:

    Okay so I’ve really been thinking of going natural and so I found your page and I find it great but I’m really confused on alot I hear you talking about alot of your products but I’m unsure of where you purchase them. If there is any kind of way that you can get back with me and let me know what products would be good for me to use as a stater & WHERE DO YOU PURCHASE I would really appreciate it. Thanks.

  9. Shioni says:

    What’s the difference for you between the Oyin Burnt Sugar pomade and Herb N Life’s Coconut Hemp? I’m curious because you said you were cutting the list down but they’re both still there so they must be a bit different. Thanks!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hey Elle,

    I did a wash and go on Monday using IC Fantasia. Oyin Honey Hemp as a leave in, and CJ Curls in a bottle as a finisher…Well….Every morning I just wet my hair in the shower and reapply Curls in a bottle and I’m still Rocking the Same Wash N Go Friday morning! and I’m in Love with my hair…..Thanks so much!!! Keep it coming Lady!!

  11. Bubblin says:

    hey Elle! are you still using your mason pearson brush to detangle? and if so, which one did you buy? I’ve searched, and I don’t see a video, nor do I see it on your holy grail list, but I do remember that you mentioned it in video! I wanna purchase one, but kinda stuck on which one to get! Thanks! ;-}

    • HB says:

      It’s best to compare the reviews because I went over both products in detail and my thoughts were fresh – they are different in terms of moisture/hold definitely. The ingredients are also completely different between the two.

  12. Nicole says:

    What’s the difference between the CJ Curl Queen and CIAB? I have the CQ and love the fact that it’s a very light holding gel with a great smell. I want to try CIAB but just wondering how they differ?? The consistency looks the same….

  13. Nevita says:

    Thanks for the fast reply! One more thing…in the demonstration video for curly whip the demonstrator re wets her hair after applying the product. Did you have to do that? My hair has low porosity, is super thick, and 99% of the time I air dry. If I did that my hair would be wet for days.

  14. Nevita says:

    Hi Elle,

    I like the finished natural look of the Hair Rules curly whip and am thinking of buying a bottle. What leave-ins did you get while globs with. My staple leave-ins are sheamoisture CH hair milk, CJ Smoothing Lotion, and Knot Today. Was the reaction with one of those?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hi Elle!!

    I have a quick question. I know you don’t straighten your hair very often, but I was wondering do you know of a good heat protector, or have a Holy Grail heat protector? I know in the “How I Straighten My Hair Video” you weren’t originally planning on straightening in that video, so the product you would normally use for a flat iron may be different. I plan on straightening my hair soon, and am looking for a good heat protector that isn’t too heavy.

    • HB says:

      I don’t, since I don’t straighten my hair I haven’t had a chance to test many and have never gotten results I am satisfied with.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hey Elle! I hope all is well with you! I’m looking for a shampoo/conditioner, leave in condish or any product that can create LOTS of slip. I’m experiencing a lot of breakage and shedding when I wash, condish and detangle my curls. I’m in the process of getting a seamless comb, but I’m thinking I may need to add a very slippery conditioner too. What do you think? Thanks a bunch!

    • HB says:

      Have you looked at any of the reviews on the list? I usually talk about slip and show the product consistency in my reviews. I definitely need something with slip when I’m detangling in the shower.

  17. curlycopia (@curlycopia) says:

    Hi Elle,
    Noticed that Enso’s Sea Buckthorn & Horsetail Moisture-Rich Daily Conditioner was on your Honorable Mentions list. I’m doing a major Enso haul (the products are actually in my cart, just waiting for the sale tomorrow) and wanted to know if you liked the Sea Buckthorn & HMRDC (that name is definitely too long) better than the Sweet Honey Hibiscus Leave In?

  18. Lisa says:

    Hi Elle, is Glycerin not good for our hair? I just BC’d 2 months ago and have been trying different products. I bought the DevaCurl No Poo and One Condition which I just tried today. I left a bit of the One Condition in my hair but I’m not sure if this will be harmful. My hair is really dry and needs the extra moisture.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Hi! Beautiful hair! Quick question on your wash and go’s. Do you wash your hair and then apply a leave in conditioner and then your styler? What leave in do you use and what styler? I know you did a tutorial but sorry I couldn’t catch the name in the vid. Thanks!

    • HB says:

      Search for sectioning on the site and it should come up. I also use various products on my hair but just did a vid on my favorites.

  20. Sam says:

    Hello Elle-

    Ok, so I’ve been natural for over 5 yrs and have never done a wash n go…until this morning. I was really excited to try it. After I co-washed, I applied KKNT leave in and donna marie coco hemp butter milk. Afterwards i used Kiss my face upper management gel and finished with curls in a bottle. My curls were loose and popping. However, by the time i made it to work ( 20 mins later) my loosely popping curls was a tight teeny weeny curly afro. 🙂 Based on what I used, did i do something wrong? Also, I would like to wear the style for at least a week but am uncertain how often to reapply whatever is needed to keep the curls. gel, leave-in, water only? Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.

    Have a good one!!!

    • HB says:

      You did nothing wrong, I assure you. Our hair shrinks, that’s what it does. 🙂 I embrace my shrinkage because when my hair is wet, it touches my shoulders and rubs against my clothing, which I do not want it to do because that can cause breakage and hinder growth. I personally have never had my wash n go last longer than five days, nor have I wanted it to, but I have a video on how I refresh my hair each morning. After initial styling, I only fluff out with a leave-in each morning – I do not add water or gel.

  21. Reecie says:

    Elle, I know you buy Curl Rehab in the 32oz bottle and I’m actually thinking about getting that size as well. How long does it usually last you?
    Thanks!

    • HB says:

      Um…lol, I still have the bottle I bought during Black Friday, but it’s alllllmost gone. I haven’t even opened the one I bought during the Easter Sale yet.

  22. Danyel says:

    I really enjoy your blog and videos! Does Spiral Solutions Deeply Decadent Moisturizing Treatment Review get a honorable mention? In the video you gave it a great review but were reluctant to add it to your HG!

    • HB says:

      For now…no. I definitely like it, but have used it all and am assessing some other DCs that are cheaper that I might add to the Honorable Mention, because I can’t add anything else to my list without kicking something off, it’s just too many products.

  23. Felicia says:

    lol @ shaving your legs with it! Last question… how to you mix your evoo & honey deep condish? and do you put on first then poo and rinse and condish? Is there an “on the ground” leave in condish/condish as leave-in you would use?

    • HB says:

      I just added the link to my post about the evoo/honey mix and the process. I don’t necessarily dc and shampoo the same day (see regimen). Also, I just talked about leave-ins on the ground in my FAQ posted this morning. Please check that out.

  24. Felicia says:

    Elle, did you post another shampoo earlier this month and take it off yesterday? Also, have you ever tried the giovanni leave in? a lot of naturals rave about it… and i was just wondering what your take was on it.

    • HB says:

      I did, I decided to take it off because I most likely wouldn’t order the shampoo – I did a side by side comparison with my CON and it wasn’t as good. I don’t like the Giovanni Direct Leave-In, I bought it once and used half the bottle to shave my legs.

  25. Anonymous says:

    whats the msm condish? i don’t remember you talking about that one…

    btw i love your blog=) your reviews are really great bec you just don’t praise/bash a product but you really explain WHY and your science is ON POINT, so no matter what your personal opinion is it really helps me (us) get a feel for how a product could work for us. i wanna thank you so much for that! oh and Izzy is the bomb diggs…she’s one of my biggest curly hair crushes=)! haha

  26. KJ says:

    Hey Girlie! I love that you keep us in the loop when something is good enough to make your HG list. Just wondering are you going to review the new products you put on the list?

    • HB says:

      Since they are shampoos and rinse outs, I may just group them together and do a review for new HGs. I usually don’t have much to say about those products because I rinse them out and they aren’t the key players in my “finished” look. I also have a ton of reviews to do still, so it’ll be awhile.

  27. Chhabria says:

    Hi Elle!!! *waves hand* I absolutely LOVE your blog and YouTube channel; I definitely use both as my go-to resources. Anywho, I have a question for ya: Do you think the Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner can also be used as a deep condish?? I have not ever used this product before- it seems to be very enticing. 🙂 Thanks, Elle. Your Pal, Chhabria. xo

    • HB says:

      Hey hey! Thanks for the compliment, it makes me happy that you find the blog/channel helpful 🙂 And YES, you can def use the Honey Hemp as a DC, I love it! It’s hands down one of my best condishes, and I’ve been using it for a long time.

  28. 101Corkscrews says:

    thank you! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!! I’m just starting to understand dew points so I truly appreciate you sharing all your info and research with me. thanks again! I will be in New York City. Do you think I could find Curl Junkie products there or should I order it now? I will be leaving NY on Monday, June 27th. Not much time to order 😦

  29. 101Corkscrews says:

    This list is wonderful. Thanks for sharing. I live in Central America where the dew points are in the high 70s – 80s on a daily basis. I follow you because our hair is very similar except i have normal porosity. However, all the products you use seems to work great for me. I’m going to the States for a week and would love to get some products for this tropical climate. My question is which stylers from this list would you recommend for such high dew points? Do you think my shampoo/conditioners would make a diff as well? should I not be using such humectant conditioners as I do? If not, which I believe I’m not supposed to, which conditioner (s) would you suggest for such high dew points? Much appreciated…

  30. Nash says:

    Hmm…interesting. Do you know what factors may have caused the oils to seperate? Is it on the no buy list? Or will you rebuy it in the near future?

    • HB says:

      Most likely didn’t have enough emulsifier or was not mixed properly. I was still able to use it, but I can’t have it on the HG list. I haven’t decided whether I would buy it again – probably not. I have another full jar that I bought awhile ago though to use. I don’t seem to have as much use for heavier moisturizers anyway.

  31. 114Michelle says:

    Elle, really missing your videos. Hope you get your laptop back real soon.
    Anyhoo, Oyin Burnt Sugar Pomade…not lovin’ it. Noticed it on your Holy Grail Product list. Even if I could get past the terrible odor, the texture is extremely grainy. I first emulsify it in my hands as much as I can…still grainy. When I rub it on my hair it looks like I have dandruff. WTH? Have you ever had this problem with it. How & when do you use it? I searched all your videos unable to find one with this product review. Think I have a bad batch? Thanks…Go Heels!

    • HB says:

      How much are you using? Since it’s a pomade, you only need a little. Mine has always been somewhat gritty but smooths out in my hands. I also like it better for when my hair is straight. I don’t think your batch is bad – pomade can be tricky to use, especially if you’re using it on wet hair. And I love the smell, what does yours smell like? Duke Duke!

      • 114Michelle says:

        It smells like burning maple syrup. I am not using much…have tried to use on both wet and dry hair. Your comment on using with straight hair I think is the key! I will stick with Carols Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey if I need to use a pomade type product. It smells so good…do you like? Her Tui hair line smells great also. As for Oyins products I’ve tried several do not like or use. Qhemet Biologics product line seems better suited for my hair. Thanks!

      • HB says:

        Burning? Lol…I don’t think mine smells like that. I think CD products stink to high heaven!! I think the only think I liked the smell was the Black Vanilla Leave-In.

  32. Monique says:

    Elle, where do you purchase your Shea moisture Shea Butter Leave in? This is the first time that I have see or heard of this?

  33. P says:

    Elle, my coworker recently cut off lower mid- back locs. She now wears a twa. Her hair is very brittle and dry feeling. What products can I recommend to her to create true, long lasting, daily moisture for her probably lower 4 something(4c?) typed hair?

    • HB says:

      Does she have fine or coarse hair? What’s her porosity? Hair type is not really helpful. Also, what products is she using now? Do they contain glycerin? If so, how is the climate where you live? Is it dry or very humid? I recommend searching the site for more information on moistuizing hair and info on dew points.

  34. Derby City Naturals says:

    lol, i was like ummm where is the KMF Upper Management Gel? Then I read the addendum. I like it with the Oyin Hair Dew underneath. However I hate that I have to use a lot and it is so thick, I be running through that bottle to fast.

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