In all honesty, LBG, the most important components to keeping my hair in place are (1) having a good haircut, and (2) having enough length to hold it down. I am vigilant in my daily haircare, because well conditioned hair frizzes less, and only gel will transform my undifferentiated mass of hair into defined clumps, but no doubt about it, it's the cut and the length that are by far the most critical components in getting my hair to even suggest that it has a place, let alone getting it to stay in place. No products in the world have ever overcome a jacked up, unthoughtful haircut for me, at least not for longer than the time it takes to air-dry.
Right now, I have an excellent cut, but the top and temples are not long enough to really hold themselves down (consequence of my transition over the last year, too many days of pulled-back hair, and then an extremely bad haircut last summer), so all I can do is rock a bushier look while those regions grow out.
As for products, I use a 3-layer approach: start with soaking wet hair out of the shower, leave-in conditioner (currently Devacurl One Condition
); Devacurl Angel
l applied in sections, and Devacurl Set it Free
spritzed on at the end. This last product is a new addition to the rotation, and has turned out to be EXCELLENT at helping my curls hold up in the summer humidity. Angell stretches my curls out some, but not nearly as much as the Curly Pudding
does. If for some reason I am looking for maximum stretching, I do use CP and then shampoo it out.
Anyway, on regular days, I then shake my head from side to side to get bigger clumps, and then I let my hair air-dry. I condition-wash it twice a week, once followed by a DT with heat, and once preceded by a coconut oil treatment.
If I need to make any adjustments after it's dried, I do that with a little (like a pea-size) of plain shea butter that's been mixed with a little bit of jojoba oil (I don't mix it up every day, I mix up a big jar of shea butter in which I've melted some jojoba oil, and then carry a pomade-tin-size in my purse).
My hair isn't always "in place," and is definitely fuzzier than it was when I used texturizers and silicones. However, it is the healthiest it's ever been, and still looks pretty good, and I can't imagine going back.