Curious about the Max Hydration Method and whether it’s efficient for your natural hair? It’s a technique you can keep in your arsenal for quickly hydrating your hair and defining your curl whenever you want.
This intensive method requires a lot of steps, and it’s important to follow them in the correct order for it to work well. Figuring out the specific steps and needed ingredients can be overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to follow a YouTube video.
In this article, you’ll learn precisely what maximum hydration does for natural hair, and you’ll get instructions and details so you can do the method at home. Keep reading to find out how to do this intensive moisture method on your hair.
What is Max Hydration Method?
The Max Hydration Method (MHM) is a sequence of steps you can do daily over a set period to achieve your hair’s maximum hydrated state.
Wondering who created the MHM? It was developed by blogger, Pinkecube, and posted on Black Hair Media’s forum.
The method is very effective for people who have trouble moisturizing their hair and is particularly helpful for low porosity hair types and anyone else who needs a unique injection of moisture into the shaft. Use it on colored hair to reverse damage or even on twa’s to help with hair growth.
You’ll get more in-depth instructions below, but here’s a brief snapshot of the method:
- Clarification. The Cherry Lola Treatment is ideal for this first step, but you can also choose an alternative technique if you want to avoid the baking soda or do the method without Cherry Lola Treatment.
- Deep Conditioner. A deep conditioning mask will allow healing nutrients to enter the shaft and repair breakage and heat damage.
- Bentonite Clay Rinse. Clay cleanses the scalp and hair and clumps your curls together.
- Oil and Leave-In Conditioner. You’ll leave a protective oil and a moisturizing conditioner in your hair until the next hydration session.
- Natural Gel. The gel is helpful for sealing in the hydration and holding the defined curl pattern.
Below, you’ll find the numerous benefits and detailed steps for this ultra-hydrating method.
Benefits of MHM
Have dry or brittle hair? This method is perfect for you. The Max Hydration Method will hydrate your hair and make it more lustrous, moisturized, and manageable.
Even if your hair isn’t overly dry, you’ll probably enjoy more defined curls. Having a defined curl pattern will make a big difference to your wash and go’s and help to reduce frizz.
There are many MHM hairstyles. The major one is a wash and go, but this unprotective style isn’t the best for retaining the length you’re working hard to grow.
You’ll experience more length retention and healthy hair if you do the MHM and protective styling. Place your hair in twists or an updo for a dramatic effect on the health of your hair.
Plus, you’ll like your hair better on wash day because it will be less tangled. Fewer knots means you’ll be able to grow your hair longer because you’re not having to pull and break the ends.
Products Needed for the Method
Here is a list of ingredients you need:
Ingredients to Avoid with MHM
It’s important to use natural ingredients during your max hydration session and after. There is a significant number of conditioners and botanical gels for natural hair on the market.
It’s best to be aware of which ingredients to avoid, rather than having to hunt for specific Max Hydration Method products. Then, you can easily choose products that are available in your area, and that match your price range.
Steer clear of the following ingredients in your conditioners and gels:
- Alcohol. Some alcohols are helpful to hair, and some are disastrous. You can find cetyl and stearyl alcohols in beauty products, and they work great for softening natural hair. However, you should avoid isopropyl and ethanol alcohols because they are drying.
- Cones. Silicones like dimethicone are only helpful on the rare occasion that you decide to flat iron your hair and need a protective coat. Cones add a thick coating around the strand and prevent moisture from entering. Using these additives will sabotage your efforts to moisturize your hair.
- Petroleum and Mineral Oil. Petroleum additives form a protective layer around the strand. Petroleum’s coating effect would be a good thing if it weren’t so difficult to remove. Putting petroleum-based products in your hair will slowly dry your hair out because water can’t get in. Use shea butter-based products instead.
- Fragrance and Other Chemicals. The list goes on. Your best bet is to scan the ingredients on your bottle and see if most of them are natural. Using toxic chemicals on your hair means your respiratory system will inhale them. A fragrance listing is good if it is an essential oil blend, but synthetic chemicals can damage the hair and body.
How to do MHM
The Max Hydration Method requires that you complete several steps per day. Many naturals challenge themselves to do the treatment for seven days, but you can do it for fewer days if the regimen is too time-intensive for you.
Each step in the hydration method is crucial. You’ll begin by clarifying the hair of product buildup and opening the cuticles to receive hydration.
Then, you’ll infuse moisture into the shaft with a deep conditioner. Afterwards, you’ll apply bentonite clay. This clay helps to clump the curls together and eliminate frizz.
Lastly, you’ll use a nutrient-dense oil, a leave-in conditioner and a natural gel to seal in the moisture and hold the defined curl pattern.
Steps in Detail
- Use the Cherry Lola Treatment to clarify the hair and open the cuticles. For this method, you’ll need:
- 16 oz. Full-Fat, Plain Yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons of Baking Soda
- 2 Tablespoons of Braggs Liquid Aminos
Mix the three ingredients with a spoon in a bowl. Coat the hair generously with the mixture, then place a plastic shower cap on your hair for 20-30 minutes. Lastly, rinse and dry with an old t-shirt.
See How to Repair Damaged Hair Fast with the Cherry Lola Treatment for more information about this treatment and how it repairs your hair.
- Apply a deep conditioner. A natural conditioner like TGIN works well. Leave the conditioner on your hair from one hour to overnight. Leaving it on while you sleep will create a moisturizing greenhouse effect for your curls.
Do not leave the conditioner on your hair for longer than 24 hours because it could cause unwanted fungus growth and mildew. Detangle and rinse your hair. Then move to Step 3.
- You’ll begin this step by making the Max Hydration clay recipe. You’ll need:
- 1 Cup Bentonite Clay
- 1 Tbs. Raw Honey
- 1 Tbs. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 2-3 Cups of Warm Water
- The last two steps are for conditioning, sealing and styling. Apply a protective blend of oils like Butta Butta Cream after using the Max Hydration Method. If you don’t have Butta Butta, use extra-virgin coconut oil instead. Kinky Curly Knot Today is an excellent conditioner for MHM.
- Apply a natural gel. Kinky Curly Curling Custard and Camille Rose are excellent choices for a hydration gel because they don’t contain harmful chemicals. Or you can make your own flaxseed gel for excellent moisture and hold.
- Voila! You’re Done. Enjoy your hydration!
You may want to exchange some of the ingredients in the MHM method. Everyone’s different, and some of the ingredients may not work for you.
If this happens, feel free to leave out certain things, and add others. For instance, if you want to do a Maximum Hydration Method no clay recipe, you can do it without bentonite clay.
The clay is great for clumping curls together and for detoxifying the scalp to promote hair growth, but it’s not completely necessary for the hydration effect. If you change your mind and want to purchase it, the best clay for MHM is Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay.
If you decide you want to do the method without gel, use a light or heavy cream instead.
Pros and Cons
Many natural queens praise the Maximum Hydration Method method for its ability to moisturize the hair shaft sufficiently. It gives defined curls which are badly needed for wash and go’s.
But this method is not without drawbacks. An obvious con is that the method takes a long time to complete. You may wear yourself out after a few days, but every natural should try this method at least once in their hair journey.
One of the side effects is that the baking soda may change the pH of your scalp, leaving you vulnerable to a Malassezia yeast overgrowth and mildew.
Baking soda has a high pH level of 9, but the scalp requires a pH level of 4.5-5.5 to maintain its health. Fungus likes to grow in wet environments and thrives on an alkaline scalp.
The yogurt in the Cherry Lola recipe will help to combat fungus and infection, but be sure to remove your shower cap, rinse, and start from the beginning each day. Avoid leaving a plastic shower cap on for longer than 24 hours.
If you’re looking to do the Max Hydration Method without baking soda, try a simple apple cider vinegar (ACV) clarification instead. Mix one part ACV with three parts water and spray onto sectioned hair.
Do you need alternatives to MHM? You may want to try intensive deep conditioning and steaming. Steaming will also raise the cuticle, and deep conditioning will supply the shaft with nutrients.
Doing the Maximum Hydration Method frequently might be too much of a good thing. If you find that your hair is always damp and never dries entirely, you may have moisture overload.
Lack of elasticity and dull hair is another sign of moisture overload. If your hair doesn’t stretch and shrink back right away, you may have an overload.
Balancing the moisture with protein will create the healthy, strong hair you’re looking for. Use a protein treatment like Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment to balance the moisture. Protein and moisture work synergistically to create the perfect balance.
What Does the Hydration Method do?
The MHM clarifies your hair and opens the cuticle so that water and nutrients can reach the shaft. This method even works on transitioning hair, on dyed hair, and for relaxed hair.
The technique is beneficial for high and low porosity hair types and makes it so that your hair is moisturized, healthy, and defined. See below for more information about both hair types.
MHM for Low Porosity Hair
Queens with low-porosity hair have difficulty absorbing products and moisture because their hair’s cuticles are closed. One good thing about low-porosity hair is that the strands are shinier because they contain fewer open pores.
But, having low-porosity hair means that water won’t be able to enter the shaft unless you take dramatic action to open the cuticles beforehand.
The baking soda in the Max Hydration Method lifts the cuticle and allows H20 to enter. Using your body warmth to heat the mixture also works well for low porosity hair.
MHM for High Porosity Hair
High porosity hair will benefit from the Maximum Hydration Method, especially when done in conjunction with the Cherry Lola Treatment.
The combination of these two methods will hydrate your strands and help to fill in the gaps along the shaft.
How Often to do MHM
You can do the sequence for anywhere from three to seven days. Or you could do it once every two to three days. However, the best results come from doing it for seven days straight.
Some natural queens choose only to do the routine every 8-12 weeks, but it’s good to experiment and see what your hair needs, rather than to follow someone else’s strict maintenance regimen.
Do the method as often as you can, or when your hair loses its hydration. The technique will increase the shine and definition on your curls, so you’ll want to do it whenever you have dry hair.
Maximum Hydration Method Regimen
The Maximum Hydration Method has guidelines that state to do the MHM as frequently as possible. If you do the routine once every 8-12 weeks, you’ll likely coast through the year with hydrated hair.
However, there are no rules when it comes to your regimen, and it’s always good to do what your hair likes best.
Follow the sequence well, and to avoid products that will suck moisture from the shaft while the cuticle is open and vulnerable.
It’s a good idea to experiment with frequency and ingredients when doing MHM. You’ll probably enjoy the results of your maximum hydration session even if you only attempt it once.
Have you tried the Max Hydration Method, and if so, do you think you’ll do it again?