The Holy-Grail Hair Products Black Beauty Editors Actually Use

You can spend your Saturday slouched in a salon chair, f uming because you’ve spent hours waiting and waiting. Or, you can avoid the hassle altogether and do your hair yourself. In the end, it’s not only cheaper than the salon, but it also puts you in complete control of how your style turns out. Not to mention, styling at home allows you to clean, meal prep, and catch up on Netflix while your deep conditioner sits.

This is why most Black beauty editors prefer to take the DIY route when it comes to their hair. After years in the beauty industry interviewing pros and testing products, the simplest lesson we’ve learned is that no one knows your hair like you do, and oftentimes no one can silk pres s or twist-out your curls as well as you can.

We’ve tested thousands of beauty products in the name of research, but only a few make it onto our scalps and strands when wash day rolls around. Ahead, seven women spill the items that they turn to again and again to make every day a good hair day.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

Tembe Denton-Hurst, Assistant Beauty Editor at Makeup.com

Hair type: Natural

Style of choice: Wash-and-go and buns


“I start my regular hair routine with Carol’s Daughter Rhassoul Clay line, which makes my hair feel clean without stripping it dry. My curls are always soft and moisturized after I use this.” — Denton-Hurst

Carol’s Daughter Rhassoul Clay Sulfate-free Shampoo, $10, available at Target


“I have been consistently repurchasing this product ever since I big-chopped nearly five years ago. It has great slip for detangling and is the base of all my wash-and-gos. I also love the consistency — it’s thick without being gooey but lightweight enough that it doesn’t weigh down my fine strands.” — Denton-Hurst

Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave In Detangler , $11.99, available at Target


“I would use this for the smell alone — it’s just that good. The spray applicator makes it super easy to coat my hair in just a few spritzes. This product doesn’t weigh down my hair — even when layered with thicker, heavier products.” — Denton-Hurst

Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Leave-In Conditioner, $12.49, available at Ulta Beauty


“This is the first beauty product I purchased when I went natural, and it’s still one of my favorites. It’s perfect for defining my curls and adds moisture to my hair, wet or dry.” — Denton-Hurst

SheaMoisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie , $7.49, available at Target


“I love this gel for its lightweight hold and non-crunchy feel. It’s great for achieving a touchable wash-and-go, and it’s filled with nourishing ingredients that won’t dry out your hair.” — Denton-Hurst

Carol’s Daughter Pracaxi Nectar Style Control Gel, $10.99, available at Ulta Beauty


“I stole this product from my girlfriend, and its been one of my favorites ever since. It’s usually the last step in my routine, and it adds definition — without the crunch. I don’t say this often, but it’s one of my holy grails.” — Denton-Hurst

Curls Unleashed Aloe Vera and Honey Curl Boosting Jelly, $7.99, available at Target

Nykia Spradley, Beauty Writer & Content Creator

Hair type: Curly with some heat damage in front

Style of choice: Straight


“When my hair wouldn’t grow past bob length, this stuff seriously changed my life. It has a potent blend of proteins and amino acids that promote hair growth.” — Spradley

Nisim Shampoo & Conditioner, $42, available at Nisim


“For my blowouts, I mix a heat-protecting cocktail of Suave and Kérastase products. It prevents damage without weighing my hair down. Both creams are super lightweight and leave my hair feeling silky once it’s dry.” — Spradley

Kerastase Hair Nectar Thermique Blow Dry Primer, $37, available at Kerastase Hair

Suave Keratin Infusion Heat Defense Leave-in Conditioner, $2.94, available at Walmart


“Although my hair is dense, the strands are fine, so I can’t use heavy oils. This formula feels weightless on my hair, and it doesn’t get greasy after a day or two.” — Spradley

Andre Walker Quench Essential Oil, $15.99, available at Target

Nikki Brown, Beauty Editor at Stylecaster

Hair type: Wavy, loose curls

Style of choice: Wash-and-go or protective styles


“Right now, I have extensions in my hair, and this shampoo and conditioner combo just feels refreshing on my scalp. Given the fact that green juice is particularly hydrating, I think that’s why my scalp — which is currently holding onto to cornrows — likes it so much. It definitely gets rid of the gunk and rinses out quickly.” — Brown

Briogeo Matcha + Apple Replenishing Superfood Shampoo, $28, available at Birchbox

Briogeo Kale + Apple Replenishing Superfood Conditioner, $28, available at Sephora


“My routine is never complete without a deep conditioner, and this right here is old faithful. I am addicted to the smell, and though it’s meant to be rinsed out, I love distributing a small dollop throughout my hair and layering a gel or crème on top. It keeps my curls from getting crunchy.” — Brown

DevaCurl Heaven In Hair , $28, available at DevaCurl


“I never go a day without treating my scalp, even if it’s a quick massage. About every other day, I rub this oil on my head. It has this amazing cooling sensation that stops itching and relieves pain along the hairline if I’m wearing a wig or extensions.” — Brown

Mielle Organics Mint Almond Oil, $13.99, available at Mielle Organics


“Technically, this isn’t a gel, but it does the same job — minus the flaking and crunchy aftereffects. A little goes a really long way with this, and you only need a quarter-sized amount for touchable hold. It doesn’t feel sticky as I’m applying, which can get annoying if you’re like me and go back and forth between getting dressed and doing your hair. Seriously, I need a lifetime supply of this stuff.” — Brown

DevaCurl B′Leave-In, $40, available at DevaCurl


“This is the only hairspray that doesn’t disrupt my curls after they’ve been styled. It also doesn’t make them rock hard; I can actually re-style later in the day if I need to, without having to start over completely.” — Brown

OGX Flexible + Beeswax Texture Hairspray Wax, $8.99, available at Ulta Beauty

Janell Hickman, Freelance Beauty Writer & Creative Consultant

Hair type: Natural, color-treated, and dry

Style of choice: Razor cut or wash-and-go


“I recently dyed my hair blonde, so this keeps my color on par without drying it out. I also love the matching conditioner because it’s hydrating, brightening, and leaves my hair feeling really soft.” — Hickman

Joico Blonde Life Brightening Shampoo & Conditioner , $26, available at Walmart


“This is super lightweight and adds moisture without making my hair feel greasy. Plus, the scent makes me feel like I’m on a tropical vacation, which is always a plus.” — Hickman

Playa Ritual Hair Oil, $38, available at Net-A-Porter

Siraad Dirshe, Social Media Content Manager at Flamingo

Hair type: Tightly curled and thick

Style of choice: Wash-and-go


“I can’t live without a thick hydrating conditioner and a curl cream for hold. Recently, I’ve been loving this duo from Ouidad. I use the conditioner in the shower (and leave a bit of it in). Then, while my hair is still drenched, I work a quarter-sized amount of the gel through my hair. This combination really makes such a difference in how my curls look and last.” — Dirshe

Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Defrizzing Conditioner, $70, available at Ouidad

Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Featherlight Styling Cream, $26, available at Ulta Beauty

Blake Newby, Beauty Writer at Revelist.com

Hair type: Curly with heat damage at the crown

Style of choice: Weaves and perm rod sets


“The Pantene Gold Series has become the collection that I just can’t live without. Everything about it is perfectly formulated for textured hair, and it provides just the right amount of moisture — no matter what style my hair is in. The Moisture Boost Shampoo doesn’t leave my hair feeling stripped of its natural oils, yet it effectively cleanses my scalp and washes away all residue. The conditioner, which I’ve found is better than any prestige conditioner I’ve used, is the best $8 I could ever spend. By the time I’m finished with these two, I barely need to apply any product post-cleanse. ” — Newby

Pantene Pro-V Gold Series Moisture Boost Shampoo, $5.98, available at walgreens.com

Pantene Moisture Boost Conditioner , $5.99, available at Target


“If I went into how long I’ve searched for a hair oil that gives my hair hold, yet doesn’t leave it greasy after straightening, we’d be here all day. Oribe’s Gold Lust Oil is the only product I apply to my leave-out after shampooing when I’m wearing a weave. Not only does it help my hair blend in with the texture of my extensions, it also protects my hair against the heat styling that comes after.” — Newby

Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil, $38, available at Neiman Marcus


“Remember when you were younger and would wrap a towel turban on your hair and feel extra luxurious? This hair towel gives me that look minus the dehydrating effects that normal towels have on my strands. It dries my wet hair almost instantly, and its shape and size make achieving a long-lasting wrap easy. That way, I can tend to a million other things while drying my hair at the same time.” — Newby

Aquis Essentials Lisse Luxe Hair Towel, $30, available at Sephora


“Before putting on my silk bonnet and calling it a night, I massage some of this miracle oil into my hair. While most oils sit on the hair shaft and cause buildup, this overnight treatment absorbs completely. I’m still in awe every morning of how silky my hair feels when I wake up.” — Newby

Vernon François Overnight Repair Treatment Oils, $42, available at Sephora

Jaqueline Laurean Brown, Contributing Beauty Writer & Content Creator

Hair type: Curly with heat damage at the crown

Style of choice: Straight


“Before shampooing and conditioning my hair, I exfoliate my scalp with this ACV scrub. It has avocado oil and aloe vera, which keeps the skin under my hair hydrated before I style.” — Brown

dpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Scalp Scrub, $38, available at Sephora


“My good friend (and fellow beauty editor) Nykia Spradley has a head full of hair that’s flourishing, and she recommended this. I’ve taken the hair-growth duo for a spin and absolutely love how strong and silky it makes my hair feel.”— Brown

Nisim Shampoo & Conditioner, $42, available at Nisim


“After shampooing and conditioning, I apply some of this heat-protecting cream to my hair. It keeps my blowout shiny, silky, and frizz free until wash day comes back around.” — Brown

Briogeo Blow Dry Perfection Heat Protectant Crème, $24, available at Nordstrom


“To get my hair super sleek, I flat iron it in sections with this CHI flat iron. I’ve been usng the same one for years, and it hasn’t failed me yet. It keeps my hair bone-straight and leaves it with a nice sheen. Plus, it’s rose gold. Who can resist that? ” — Brown

Chi Air Classic Tourmaline Ceramic Flat Iron, $99.99, available at Target

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