Au Naturel

Why I Finally Tried the Max Hydration Method & What I Think About It

Well my naturalistas, I finally took the plunge.  I tried the Maximun Hydration Method (MHM) & I’m here to tell you my results & exactly how I feel about it.

I read about this method a while ago, but at the time I had locs & would not have dared to even think about it.  It’s been a year & a half since I cut my locs but I still never gave it a thought.  Honestly I never thought I would try the MHM because:

  1. I am not into a whole heap of “steps” to care for my hair.  I find what works, do it, & keep it moving.
  2. The ingredients. I don’t really like gel or protein conditioners, I don’t normally buy OTC hair products, & have never bought or tried a clay of any kind.  Some of the items listed have to be ordered & some are pricey.
  3. Practically everything I read about the MHM says it’s for type 4 curlies who want to do a good wash ‘n’ go.  Nothing against anyone who loves them but I do NOT like or want that type of wash ‘n’ go – they put me in mind of Jheri Curls & that is a time in space I prefer to reminisce about but NOT go back to.  Sorry.

So… no Maximum Hydration Method for me.

Until yesterday.  Story time… and it’s a long 1.

I do not like to comb my hair.  No surprise there – most people already know this about me.  Now that I have stopped cutting my hair to keep the tapered style, I typically wash it then put it in a protective style – usually french braids or some sort of halo twist variation or a modified updo – and keep it like that all week.

In February I broke my foot but didn’t realize it until March.  After that, I had nothing but time on my hands since I couldn’t work or play or ANYthing that required me to be on my feet at all.  You would think it would be a perfect time to do more with my hair.  No.  I love my naps, but I do NOT have the patience to do things like extensions on my own head.  Individual twists is as far as I can go with that, and I haven’t even been interested in doing those lately.

At the same, since I couldn’t do anything I began to get very down on myself & literally did nothing.  Self care took a back seat; only the basics got done & my hair suffered.  But like many things, it wasn’t obvious right away.  I washed on the same schedule & followed the same routine.  I didn’t really notice anything until this week; I had washed the previous week, moisturized, put in 2 loose twists & went on about life.  BUT I did not spritz everyday, nor did I do anything else other than sleep in my bonnet.

We naturals have to be careful.  We can’t just do 1 or 2 things, we have to do most if not all things.  All week I’ve been saying “I need to wash & deep condition my hair”, “I need to do something with my hair, it is SO dry”, “Lord why is my hair so dry & brittle right now”, “Sweetie, my hair is breaking & falling out”.  All week.  Yesterday I finally decided to actually DO something about it.  But first… I needed a conditioner pack.  I don’t keep deep conditioner on hand & I didn’t feel like making any so I had to make a run.

Since I had to go to the store anyway, I thought “hmmm, let me do a quick google search… see what’s the best way to really get some moisture back into my hair.”  I am a 4b/4c extremely low porosity natural.  My hair might even be no porosity, it’s so low!  So you can see why it’s so important that I moisturize the right way.

My search led me back to the MHM.  And damn if I wasn’t trying to avoid it!  I mean I was really trying to get this OUT of my search results.  But there it was over & over.  So… I did it.

I made my shopping list & compared prices online… only 1 problem.  I need to do this today, especially since there’s so many steps & they take so long & have to be done for days.  I took down my hair, spritzed, detangled & got myself together enough to head out.  I couldn’t do this fast enough… look at this hair!  This doesn’t even include the hair that came out in my hands.  Such a sad day…

Thank goodness for my HEB.  I got everything I needed to complete the MHM right there in the healthy living section where normally would shop anyway.



I followed all the steps from  I won’t go into in detail, but here are my progress pics with a little commentary.

1. Apply the Cherry Lola treatment – yogurt, baking soda, liquid aminos.  I used half the recipe because my hair is short.  I did not like this.  I may actually hate it.  Sorry.  It is hella messy, drips down my neck & face & formed a “pool” inside 2 plastic caps.  Also there was a faint chemical smell, which I assumed was from the baking soda because that makes sense in my mind.

I’ve read that baking soda can “relax” the curl pattern – NO THANK YOU – but that it may not be an issue on resistant hair.  Mine is so I didn’t worry much about it.  But I don’t like anything chemically smelling at all, which is why I don’t buy many OTC hair products.



2. Rinse & apply conditioner.  Use the Greenhouse method to keep the conditioner in overnight.  Easy enough; I do this sometimes anyway, so no problems there.

3. Next morning, rinse out the conditioner (serves as a co-wash).  Then apply the clay mixture – bentonite clay, honey, oil, water.  I used 1/3 of the original recipe because of my hair length & because in step 1 I learned that half was still too much.  I also used less water so it wouldn’t be so runny.



Saturate hair from root to tip, cover with a plastic cap/bag, & let sit for at least 15 minutes.  This step was all good except for 1 thing – applying the mask reminded me of my permie days.  It didn’t smell or burn or anything – just the way it went on & how it made my hair “lay”.

I took this opportunity to do a face mask with the same mixture.

Max Hydration Method Step 3 - Clay Mask

4. Rinse the clay out really well.  This was a hard step for me – I did it in the sink, but ended up having to get in the shower.  During this step also run some more conditioner through as a final rinse.

And I skipped step 5 because I don’t like to use gel unless I’m working on a twist-out or some style where I need hold.  So far so good.  My hair is super soft & I can see my curls more than normal.  This is what a true “wash ‘n’ go” looks like on my 4b/4c low porosity hair – exactly what I want it to be, a TWA:



true "wash 'n' go" on 4b/4c low porosity hair - no filters or adjustments

I DO love my natural hair, greys & all. Not a juicy looking Jheri curl in sight!

Am I done?  No!  This method requires that you do the same steps for 7 days.  YES you read that right.  7 DAYS.  Only differences are:

  • in step 1 – do a baking soda, water & conditioner rinse OR 1: 1 ACV + water rinse
  • in step 2 – you don’t have to do the overnight thing; instead just condition for 15-20 minutes

This MHM is so long & it better be worth it.  I’ll let you know in a week.

*5/30/201 Update – 1 week later

On day 3 I noticed that I was able to detangle much easier, with less breakage, & was not as dry.  I also noticed that my hair was kinda “loose”.  I don’t know how to explain it but it started to droop a little.

Everything I read said that this is a sign of hydration which is a good thing, but I don’t really care for droopy/floppy hair (i.e. hair that hangs).  I prefer big hair.  And since all the research shows that it could also be due to the baking soda, which could alter curl pattern, after day 3 I stopped using the baking soda in step 1.

On days 4-7 I just did a hot water rinse as step 1 since the hot water would serve the purpose of opening the cuticle.  I also skipped the clay mask on days 6 & 7 because I had things to do and could not dedicate an hour to doing the full method.

So essentially I did a modified version of the Maximum Hydration Method for 5 days & then just conditioned for the last 2 – during the entire 7 days I did sleep in a plastic cap under my bonnet (greenhouse method for moisture retention).

My Final Max Hydration Method Review:

Would I do this again.  Probably not – there just is not enough time in the day (or week for this).  But there are parts of it that I might do periodically including:

  • pre-poo overnight with conditioner using the baggie/greenhouse method
  • deep condition every 2 weeks or so possibly with the Cherry Lola treatment (it’s just so darn messy)
  • use a clay mask when I deep condition



N'Ckyola "Nikki" Green

I love food & wine, paint & power tools. I am a creative introvert, programmer turned decorator, wife and mom, & mental health advocate. I am the decorator owner of Xtraordinary by Design. My mission - rid the world of builder beige & furniture sets.



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