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A Scientific Analysis of the Max Hydration Method for Type 4 Hair

Avatar • Aug 18, 2014

ms deekay max hydration method

Ms. Dee Kay (pictured above)

The max hydration method (mhm) makes a big bold promise of getting type 4c hair to get its natural coils into clumped up curls. Are you curious? Here is my analysis of the method.

What is the max hydration method? 

The author of the method, Pinke Cube sent me some notes on the method. She is active on black hair media so do go there if you want more details. Here is a video of mhm afficionado, Ms.Dee Kay explaining part of the method in a few soundbites. Although, there are different versions of the method, she is explaining what is regarded as a routine for a regular user.





What other versions of the method exist?

I am going to be lazy here and tell you to click on the previous link to black hair media. I also believe an e‑book will soon be available with further details. The one major addition that I can say is that a modified Cherry Lola treatment is recommended for beginners. If you do not know what that is.….….here it is.




Does the max hydration method work?

There is evidence that the method works although the group number is small (about 10)  — testimonial page. There is a lot of emphasis that for success, this method has to be done regularly and consistently — repeated daily/ every 2–3 days. Additionally, a curly girl route is recommended with an elimination of products containing sulfates and silicones. MHM advocates say that using a standard shampoo/conditioner does not replicate the results.

Should I be concerned about the high pH of the baking soda? Will it relax my hair?

Baking soda dissolved in water has a pH of around 8/9 and certainly while I do recommend that the mild acid to neutral range (5–7) is better, pH on its own is not sufficient to relax hair and hair is pretty resistant to change within the pH 4–9 range — (jog your memory)

Does baking soda or ACV actually clarify?

If you are a high/heavy oil user then the likely answer is no. I base my answer on my previous mini study of baking soda/ACV cleansing. If you are only lightly oiling on occasion and washing your hair daily as required in this method then maybe your result will be different.

Can this method damage my hair?

Generally, I’m not in favor of daily washing; as it introduces the hair to a lot of handling wear and tear. Additionally, there is one study that has linked prolonged hair wetness to damaging the inner cuticle cement that holds the cuticle layers together. However, many people are able to daily wash and still continuously grow long hair, so you have to analyze the long term effects for yourself.

Each cuticle is made up of several layers
Each cuticle layer is ‘glued’ with a fat layer/cuticle cement in yellow



Does hair really get more hydrated than normal with the max hydration method?

There is no study done to show the level of water in the hair before and after the max hydration method. Ultimately, hair has a limited amount of water that it can accept and it will generally reach this limit within 15 minutes of immersion in water. I do not believe that hair gets more hydrated, but what I think is possible is that the moisture levels in hair are not allowed to drop far down and balance out with humidity. The hair is almost constantly surrounded by water with a regular washing cycle combined with the use of a leave in conditioner and gel layer to further prevent moisture loss between the cycles. 

Are there any downsides?

If you are lazy like I am, this method is not for you. You have to be ready to spend quite a bit of time washing your hair and if necessary, overnight conditioning, steaming and the baggy method can come into play. I do not have the will to sit with conditioner on my head for more than 10 minutes, so count me out. However if playing with your hair for hours is your thing.…..this method will give you satisfaction.

What about shrinkage and long hair, will it still work?

This method requires you to embrace your shrinkage fully. This is generally true for curl enhancing methods. I have not seen anyone with particularly long hair use the method, so I cannot tell you how well it works for long 4c naturals. Here is Pinke’s own video, she has longer hair than Ms. Dee Kay




Here is another video from Protective Princess who was suggested as a long 4c natural by Pinke. She discusses in depth shrinkage, knotting, tangling and curl clumping.




So will you be trying the max hydration method?

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About The Natural Haven

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Alexia
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Alexia

I didn’t care too much for trying this until I watched Protective Princess’ video above. I don’t care about having defined coils, but when she described how her detangling time is reduced and she no longer gets SSKs, that got my attention. My hair is very fine, very dense, and collarbone length when blown out/straightened, so knots and detangling are a huge deal for me. What I want to know is: how do you “recover” after a blowout? Would that reset my hydration to zero? Is there a blowout method I could use so that I wouldn’t lose all moisture?… Read more »

Ally
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Ally

You know I gave this method a serious side-eye, but after watching a reading I might give it a try. I agree with you Alexia, when she said that her detangling time was seriously cut was what got my attention. And no/reduced SSK! I want to try this like right now, too bad I’m on a serious protective style mission until I get over my APL/BSL plateau. I hope more type 4s catch on and document their results.

Megan
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Megan

Yes…this. I do a shortened version once a week after doing 3 days straight (I also do it in the sink), and see benefits. I don’t like my curls super-defined, so half-results are perfect for me. So far I no longer use styling cream (just moisturizer) my hair dries faster, stays soft, and for length, I just pineapple at night. The clay seems to be the key (I don’t use a lot of oil, so clarifying isn’t a big deal) and that’s easy since I do it on my face already. My hair is WAY easier to detangle and my… Read more »

Michelle
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Michelle

To each her own. We all have to do what works for us as individuals. For me personally, it seems like waaay too many steps in too short of a period of time. When I initially started my journey my hair was dry(ish), seemed fragile and didn’t curl easily at all. I think I was just doing too much “stuff” to it. When I started my simple regime of weekly deep conditioning, moisturizing, and twisting/twisting-out, my hair greatly improved. One day I did the rare wash and go and my curls formed beautifully with little effort. I got the same… Read more »

African Naturalistas Hair Products
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No I won’t. It is just too much stress. And time is too precious.

Pattie
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Pattie

I bc my daughters hair almost two weeks ago. Her hair was extremely dry due to all the flat ironing and blow drying. When I cut her hair it was straight on the ends and curly at the roots. I was tempted to relax it again-but I didn’t. So I purchased Curl Junkie Curl Rehab Strawberry ice cream and I deep condition her hair every other day. Finally it is softening and her curls are becoming more defined. I know first hand if you give your hair the moisture that it needs it will grow.

Rauney
Guest

Ooooweee.…hunnny…no ma’am. I’m one of them lazy naturals too. I need my regimen as simple as possible. I still get my hair to stay hydrated without doing all that. For some maybe it is necessary, but if you don’t have that kind of time, there are other, less time consuming methods that can be used to achieve curl definition/max hydration.

Jo
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Jo

Is there a vegan cherry lola recipie? I’m allergic to dairy. ^^;

Kayla
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Kayla

I’m a vegan & I would use coconut cream instead of the yogurt. I personally wouldn’t try this method, but I do deep condition my hair with coconut cream and coconut oil. It leaves my hair extremely soft & my frizzy kinky 4a curls poppin.

Passione
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Passione

Well it’s summer break and I’m home so I figured I’d try the method. Dont normally give into these hair fads but protectiveprincess’ ‘promise’ of no ssks really gave me the push to do it. Spent a few weeks securing just the exact ingredients (Had to order and wait for some. Botanical gels and others not exactly at the corner store where i live) Wasnt cheap. The cherry lola method did nothing for me. It was just sticky and smelly and I noticed no improvement after the treatment. I lasted all of 4 days. Did the cherry lola on the… Read more »

Chrissie
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Chrissie

Interesting section on the acv/baking soda and oils. So QUESTION: I use coconut and olive oils a few times a week, and once a week I wash my hair with a sulfate-free shampoo (I checked its ingredients against the ingredients in my other products to make sure they will cleanse them). Then once a month I add a tablespoon of baking soda to the shampoo to make it more clarifying. Does this information mean that the amount of cleansing from that baking soda is negligible? I don’t notice any problems from using the baking soda and I do tend to… Read more »

Susie
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Susie

Thank you jesus for blessing me with 4a/b hair that is easy to work with!

Dananana
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Dananana

Stahp. As someone with multiple textures, they all have their difficulties. My “4A/B” sections are the first to loc when I get lazy, and they’re worse than my “4C” sections when it comes to ssks. My “type 3” section breaks the easiest and sheds the most. Curl pattern doesn’t equate to ease of maintenance.

Robin
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Robin

Plus, one person’s 4a hair might not act the same as another person’s 4a hair. My 4a is mostly medium-thick strands, with some finer strands scattered about. But my 3c patches will snap off and run for the hills at the mere sight of a comb or brush. (Hence the reason I gave those tools up; brushes are the enemy!) And then there’s porosity. Most of my hair is on the low end, so it takes a good 5 minutes to really get it soaking wet in the shower. By then, I’ve pretty much drowned my higher porosity patches. Some… Read more »

Yvette M
Guest

Nah, I am too lazy for this one, and I will pass. A good moisturise and seal session will keep my hair feeling great and my curls looking good.

Napturally Kia
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Napturally Kia

i seen the results and it looked great. however, this is one bandwagon i will not be jumping on. good luck to everyone who experiences with the mhm

Hanna
Guest
Hanna

For “maximum hydration” drink more water and eat healthier. Thats alot easier and more realistic than keeping up with this intense routine.

DLB
Guest
DLB

What is being left out of this analysis is that this type of procedure is for the “low porosity” type 4 hair. This information is on The Max Hydration Method website. Now once you receive max hydration, it is up to you to decide if you want to continuously keep doing this procedure or not. You can eat healthy & drink all the water you want, but something has to break in the hair, in order to keep moisture in the hair. For those non low porosity hair ladies who don’t have to worry about moisture retention, good for you.

sade
Guest
sade

Yeah.…I’m too lazy for this. I have lo-po hair and I’ve found that steaming after putting leave in conditioner is the key to getting and keeping moisture in my hair. I’d rather stick with that than doing all this. Bless y’all who have the patience for this, seriously.

Uli
Guest

How long do you have to keep doing this;Im too lazy,oh does anyone know if this helps with porosity levels?

Uli
Guest

Wait a minute,are they not porosity shampoos and conditioner to help???

Iinda
Guest
Iinda

I believe just like anything in the hair community, one needs to do his/her homework and know her hair before jumping on any method or advice out there. I have low porosity 4c hair with 3 different textures on my head. What I understand about my hair is that as a 4c hair, I seldom need protein treatment but I crave for moisture. Because 4c hair retain moisture very well but has trouble getting that same moisture in, I need a way to lift up my cuticles. I don’t need the MHM long process to achieve the curl definition showcased… Read more »

Iinda
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Iinda

With a good balanced diet with enough protein, plenty of water, fruits and vegetables I don’t need protein treatment for my hair nor mid week or daily moisture session. The key to low po hair is to break in to moisturize. Once you achieve that you’re good to go. Also remember that overmoisturized hair can happen and hair porosity isn’t constant but changes. What I fear with the MHM is over manipulation of the hair and extreme ph changes within the same session and/or over the course of a week. For instance not everybody can stand overnight conditioning (scalp issues… Read more »

Alex
Guest
Alex

I’ll be trying this method just b/c it caters to type 4 hair and our frustrations. I’ll definitely be tweaking the routine b/c my current routine works fine but I know my hair can be better. Two critiques I’ve seen that I’d like to refute: 1) yes, eating and drinking water is fine and dandy but our hair and nails are the last to get the benefits of our nutrition so saying oh just eat right as a counter to this method isn’t going to cut it. Nutrition and hair care are not interchangeable nor equal. Water needs to go… Read more »

Brianna
Guest
Brianna

I do a version of this, but only once a month. I’ve read some of the Natural Haven’s articles, so the baking soda and ACV portion of this routine has been proved to be ineffective. I’ve also read her article on hydral fatigue, so doing this routine every 2–3 days does not sound healthy for my hair, and it seems time-consuming. So weekly, I co-wash, and once a month, I do a version of the MHM. But I kind of stumbled upon it. I alternate between the Aubrey Organics’ GPB and the Honeysuckle Rose conditioners, and according to the instructions,… Read more »

treday
Guest
treday

This is for curly girls with LOW POROSITY hair. For some it doesn’t take much to keep their hair moisturized, for others it is one of the hardest things. I also don’t understand why this article was written if it wasn’t tried out by the writer but yet offered her opinion :/

Tatiana
Guest
Tatiana

I tried this method about four weeks ago (Sept. 2014) and I am still currently washing my hair this way. However, I modified a few steps because it was entirely too time consuming. (No overnight deep conditioning, only washed 3 times the first week, wash twice a week now) Even though I can’t prove that my hair is more hydrated, I feel that it is somewhat, because it takes much longer to be completely dry. I use this method only for hydration purposes because I do NOT wear wash n go’s. Never tried it, sorry! But the results are real,… Read more »

Cosita
Guest
Cosita

I’m not 4c but I am low porosity and I’ve been doing something similar for years. Clarfy weekly, dc, I’m CG. I wash every three days. baking soda is a no for me. very drying.

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