I thought I'd do a little comparison, in case anyone else is interested
I'll start by saying I like a soft hold. I want my hair to feel like hair and look like my hair is just naturally awesome. I'm allergic to aloe, so all these products are aloe free, as well as protein, mint, and rosemary free. Oh and honey! That disgusting terrible ingredient. It's in NONE of these (actually I lied it's in one, but I mention it)!
I have a tight curl pattern that doesn't loosen during the day and my hair gets gunky and weighed down quick, as it doesn't absorb product easily and is medium to fine.
My hair laughed at this...and then it cried when it actually unclumped. My hair looked worst after I used it. I'm pretty sure I did it right, my gel looked very good. It tried a few times before giving up. It was a cheap lesson learned though and I made banana bread and super oatmeal with my left over flax seeds
Shea Moisture - Coconut and Hibiscus Curl & Style Milk
I loved this product and I used it for about 9 months, fairly shortly after going CG. It was very moisturizing and it made my hair shiny and look neat. Despite having very thick hair I used about a quarter all over. It's very much a lotion type product and medium (heavyness). I switched because it didn't play well with the DB Pumpkin Seed Conditioner. I *think* it's because the DB has coconut oil and oat protein, between the two it was just too much protein retention for me. It started to do the opposite of a leave-in/styler and I would get these stiff uncurly bits...not sexy. Also, despite it being dead of winter my hair started to feel greasy to the touch. I think after my hair got longer, the product was a bit too much. When it came down to it I had to choose and the DB was the best thing I've ever tried so it was a no brainer. Smells like delicious coconut and it's on the stronger side, so if you hate tropical smells beware.
Darcy's Botanicals - Shea Butter Curl Moisturizing Cream
I really have nothing good to say about this product. I only tried it twice to make sure my first reaction was a fluke. Zero slip and I'm not a huge slip person, I think the need is overrated, but a leave in shouldn't get my fingers tangled in my hair while applying it. Also, after leaving it in my hair didn't feel moisturized. This started my suspicion, along with various ROs, that my hair might not like Shea Butter very much. I can't remember exactly what this smelled like. It was nondescript and unoffensive though.
Darcy's Botanicals - Sweet Cocoa Bean Curl Smoothing Cream
This product did the weirdest thing. It sucked all the water out of my hair. I like to style my hair soaking wet, but it was almost impossible with this. It also left my hair feeling very waxy and coated, but not really moisturized. I had to use a lot to get decent results. This product was intended to be used on damp or dry hair, so I can't fault the product for my results. I don't style my hair dry. I think this was maybe intended more for people who do twists and what not and moisturize in between days. Smells like sweet cocoa, nice and not overwhelming. It didn't have the gross fake chocolate smell I hate so much.
Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Frizz-Free Curl Mousse
I really like this product and it was very sad that it just wasn't enough. Have you ever tried a product that worked the way you liked, but it just wasn't intense enough for your hair? It's very light and and it's nicely smoothing. It works best and gives the best definition if used alone. This product has light hold and won't make your hair crunchy. I needed too much product for my super thick hair though and it wasn't quite moisturizing enough for me. I think curlies looking for frizz control AND volume would love this product.
Darcy's Botanicals - Curling Cream Gel
Fragrance is generally the least important thing, but this atrocity needs to be talked about. It smells like sickening sweet, and slightly sour, candy. I don't know what DB was thinking, even if I loved this product I honestly wouldn't use it because of it. I was actually embarrassed at work that other people could smell me and irritated my senses. As a product I wasn't too shocked that I didn't like it. It has honey in it and honey makes my hair dry, brittle, and unhappy. Unhappy curls that won't curl. It was a curiosity killed the cat thing and DB was kind enough to send me a sample with my order. I'm sure this product would work for someone else. It's a harder hold to me than described.
Botticelli Botanicals - Styling Mudd
I never been so happy to dislike a product in my life. The price and the shipping were pretty high, combined with the fact that I couldn't order other products as well to save on shipping. It took about a month for me to get the product and when you factor in that the product goes bad I foresaw a headache in my life. How early to order, freezing, and storing the right amount. It was a bit better than the FSG I made. I saw much more clumping, although it was smaller piece-ier clumping and it made my hair very crunchy. It looked like I had cheap 90's gel hair. It wasn't a good look and it made me cautious around my hair. Like pulling strands a part could cause damage. I believe this was the agave for the most part. Perhaps without the agave I would have liked it. I still don't think it would have give me the type of clumping I prefer.
The scent I chose was Vanilla Buttercream. It smelled nice, but was very intense. I would have gone fragrance free or asked for less of it if I ordered a second time around. Hemp seed oil was the one she helped me select and it didn't seem to be too heavy for my hair, she was right about that.
Kiss My Face - Upper Management
I don't even know about this product. It did the exact same thing the DB Cocoa Bean, like it's little gel brother. It just sucked the water right out of my hair. It also made my hair feel dry after a while. It supposed to be pH balanced, but I think the grapefruit might be the culprit. I returned it after a couple weeks of trying. Ultimately the best way for me to use it was to apply it in the shower (super soaking) and leave in some of my RO underneath. It's the medium hold it's described to be, though it makes my hair look stiffer than it feels. It has a nice scent that wasn't too in your face.
Curl Junkie - Smoothing Lotion
It's like the two Shea Moisture products I liked had baby! It keeps my hair soft all day. It had some of those sealing oils I can never seem to use directly on my hair. I put it on my hair and my curls just pop. I don't even care if my hair is neat all day cause my curls look so cute coming out everywhere. It doesn't way my hair down, it doesn't make it crunchy. I don't feel like it's building up on my hair...it's just fantastic and it smell sweet, yet sophisticated.
Woah...that's a lot of product. If you have any questions, please ask and I hope this helps someone!