The Max Hydration Method is all the rage these days for women with type 4 natural hair. If you haven't heard of it, you will now!
The Max Hydration Method is, "a 5-step regimen that systematically increases moisture levels in the hair until Max Hydration is reached", according to the MHM website. This hydration method was invented by Black Hair Media Forum VIP Member Pinke Cube and it was created to defeat the often-believed notion that wash and go hairstyles don't work on type 4 hair. Although the method can be done on other types of hair as well.
So what exactly is the Max Hydration Method for natural hair, how does it work, and are the results for real? Let's get into it a bit, shall we?
Who is the Max Hydration Method for?
As we have come to learn, The Max Hydration Method was designed for type 4 hair.
What does it do?
Pinke Cube, MissDeeKay, and other proponents say that the Max Hydration Method will transform dry, frizzy, undefined natural hair into highly-defined coils and curls that clump -- with or without natural hair products.
On top of that, they say that once your hair reaches the max hydration level, many of the bothersome issues that plague type 4 hair (dryness, knots, styling problems, length retention) will go away like magic.
The Max Hydration Method In Detail
In order for the Max Hydration Method to work effectively and quickly; you MUST (no excuses) follow the procedure accurately, consistently, and faithfully perform applications of this method to your crown. At least daily (pretty hurts right?), but if you can't do it everyday just don't stretch out the time between applications longer than every 3 days. Why? Because this is how long your hair conditioner will last. When doing this be mindful of what your hair responds to best, so you can pick the best options that will best benefit your natural hair.
You'll also need to have a decent understanding of which natural hair products you put on your hair that cause your hair to lose moisture. You'll need more than a shallow belief that "softness always means moisture", which is a false premise in the first place. You'll need to understand which product/substances affect (block) how your hair shaft actually absorbs the moisture, and what isn't effective enough to seal it in.
Prep Step For Max Hydration Method Newbies
If you're doing the Max Hydration Method for the first time, it's suggested that you begin with a Cherry Lola Treatment (both Advanced or No-Frill are fine). After that, this can be done as often as every 2 weeks. Admittedly, we lean towards the modified version, along with the liquid aminos. You will notice the hydration effects on your hair for months and month allowing you to enjoy root to tip definition in certain areas of your hair.
The Advanced Max Hydration Method (Our Favorite)
The advanced version of the Max Hydration Method is a combination of the Caramel Treatment, and Cherry Lola.
- Greek yogurt (2 cups)
- Baking soda (2 tbsp)
- Organic apple cider vinegar (2 tbsp)
- Raw coconut aminos (or just regular aminos) (2 tbsp)
- Raw honey (1/2 tbsp)
- Unsulphured molasses (1 tbsp)
- Half of an over ripe banana or plantain
- Avocado (3/4 tbsp)
- 1 egg (optional)
Blend the ingredients in your blender, saturate your dry (but detangled) hair completely from root to tip with the mixture. Put a shower cap on and let sit for 1.5-2 hours. After that, rinse thoroughly with warm/hot water. Now you'll need to co-wash with botanical conditioner (whatever you wash your hair with will be fully absorbed into the hair shaft, so avoid silicones, parabens, sulfates, drying denatured alcohol), lastly, apply more conditioner but leave it in your hair and seal everything with a quality botanical gel.
The No-Frill Max Hydration Method
If you choose to do the no-frill Max Hydration Method recipe, it is similar to the advanced method and still very effective. The only changes are that you will skip the vinegar, over-ripe banana/plantain, avocado, egg, and molasses. Leave these out and continue with your co-wash, after that you'll do your wash and go.
DO NOT do an apple cider vinegar rinse directly after this. You can do a co-wash and maybe do a cold rinse with conditioner afterword and that will be enough to close up your hair cuticles again. The point of temporarily opening the hair cuticle is so that moisture can get in, it makes no sense to close them up before actually infusing the ever-important moisture into your hair.
PRO TIP: An excellent option would be to Green House Effect Method (GHE) or deep condition overnight directly after rinsing out the treatment, this applies to both the advanced version, and the No-Frill version. In the morning you can continue with the given methods to close your cuticles, or simply proceed to wash and go. This will quicken the pace of your hydration retention levels, and is seen by many as the best way to take advantage of the treatment.
Step 1: Clarify
Option 1: Apple cider vinegar rinse. You do a 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar with water in an applicator bottle. Apply in sections. Let it sit in the hair for 30 mins - 1 hr before rinsing.
Option 2: Baking soda rinse. Mix 1.5 tablespoons of baking soda into 1/3 a cup conditioner. Apply to your hair in sections and let sit on your hair for 10-30 minutes.
Option 3: Alternating between either rinse. You can opt to do each rinse every other day/night. It's up to you to experiment.
Step 2: Co-Wash & Detangle
Option 1: Apply warm conditioner in your hair in sections. Let it sit for 10 minutes, rinse out with warm water, while detangling under the water. If you are doing this step, first pour the conditioner into a microwavable bowl, and microwave for no more than 10-15 seconds if you are using the microwave to heat your hair conditioner. Don't EVER just stick the bottle of conditioner straight into the microwave. You've been warned...
Option 2: Apply conditioner to your hair in sections, and deep condition by covering your hair in a shower cap. Maybe put a scarf over it to trap heat. This can be done overnight if you prefer that method. The first two steps can actually be done before bed, in the morning, you can detangle your hair before going in the shower or also under the running water in section, your hair will have enough slip to detangle outside of the shower though.
Option 3: Detangle, apply conditioner to your hair, put on a shower cap, and steam your hair. Many naturals steam once a week, and this will allow you to do your hair every 2-3 days if you prefer (the Secura S-192 hair steamer is a proven winner). But if you haven't reached max hair hydration it's recommended that you start off steaming your hair more often and you can taper back once your hair has reached maximum hydration. Be sure to detangle before getting in the shower and in the shower under the running water, similar to the prior option.
Image Credit: MsDeeKay.com
Step 3: Bentonite clay rinse
With all options, leave the rinse on the hair for at least 15 minutes before rinsing, and remember to apply in sections.
Option 1: Bentonite clay rinse with out apple cider vinegar
Ingredients list (rough measurements):
1 cup bentonite clay
1.5 cup warm water
1 tbspn of honey
1 tblspn of olive oil
Option 2: bentonite clay with apple cider vinegar Same, just add vinegar.
Option 3: Ready made bentonite clay rinse, or any other type of clay used to clarify hair examples like rhassoul clay or terrasentials.
Step 4: Leave in Conditioner
Be sure to avoid any conditioner with silicones, sulfates, and drying alcohols. Other than that, apply thoroughly in sections, you really want your hair to be good and wet. application techniques include smoothing and raking, twirling or whatever technique works for you. These are suggestions, there's no set rule on specific application techniques, just apply enough so your hair glides through and you feel slip. Same with gel.
Step 5: Apply Botanical Gel of your choice
Option 1: Use a small amount of oil (or however much you feel you need) for extra sealing before gel if you find you need it, for more softness.
Layering options can be LCO, or LCOC (Liquid Cream Oil Cream), but never do the LOC layering order. oil is not a moisturizer, its a sealant. you wouldn't put gel on before conditioner, so don't practice that with oil.
Option2: Don't. It's up to you.
In application of gel, you should be putting enough so you can feel the gel slip, that way you know it's coated the hair. A technique that has worked for me is starting the gel application at the base of the section, like slicking your edges or applying a root touch up with hair dye. Then smooth it down the rest of the strand and proceed to rake, smooth, and spread the gel evenly. Apply more gel if you need to spread it further. Do this in sections and twirl and clip the sections away with a shower clip as you go along. This will help keep you organized. Doing both the leave in and gel step, it takes 30-40 minutes, so it's pretty quick and painless. It's advised to section your hair and do both steps as you go along instead of going over your entire head twice.
This is the step where you will see your curls pop and clump together!
BONUS TIP: Optional Step For sStretching
Step 6: Stretching Options
Option 1: Clipping
It's recommended to take as many sections as you need, twirling/rolling/single twisting/French roll whatever you call it, and clipping it in place. Leave it like that for maybe 30 minutes or as you get dressed, take the clips out, and shake. This should give a slight stretch.
Option 2: Wear your hair in a rolled half ponytail
You can actually do this on short hair. Just section the top of your hair (the part used in making a half pony) and section that into two on either sides (left and right).
Take one section of freshly defined hair (don't worry about it being wet, the definition stays) and roll it towards the back of your head like a French roll, pinning in place. (Make sure not to pull the hair too taught when rolling. The pins will be enough to keep the look in place without over flattening the curl definition) Do the same with the other side. Wear this for the day. When you get back, your hair will be dry. Take the pins out, unroll your hair and shake. Your hair will be stretched but sticking up. Take a satin scarf and arrange your hair the way you want it to fall before gently securing it (not to tight).
By the morning your hair will of course be mushed, but the actual curls will remain unfrizzed, and they won't be completely obliterated either (a big problem many have w/ set styles) because of the gel. Now take your fingers to your roots and jiggle them in a back and forth motion, gently. This should shake loose your now stretched curls for second day hair.
If you want a stretch for third day, you only have to put the scarf on your head to sleep at night.
This should stretch the top half of your hair for a bob like shape, but won't interfere with the curl pattern like twisting and braiding would, and also with out drying your hair out with heat.