As you've remarked, just because products are expensive--doesn't make them good.

You don't mention your properties, so I can't compare them to mine. I can just relate my experience. When I first came on, I tried the CD products--made my hair greasy. Wouldn't be interested in them at all. I've tried 6 or 7 SM products. The Coconut & Hibiscus products just sit on my hair. I have to wash them out. The few others I've used are unremarkable.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity

HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic; Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Aloe Fix