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I Tried the Max Hydration Method…and I Liked It!

• Sep 30, 2014


Back in August, I wrote an article breaking down what exactly the Max Hydration Method (MHM) is and what it claims to do. The comments on the article were all over the spectrum — from devout followers of the MHM to skeptics and those who loathe the concept of “chasing a curl pattern.” In case you missed the article, click here for a full breakdown.

I understand– different strokes for different folks. I’ll be debunking myths about the MHM later on my blog, but for now, I’ll share my experience for those that are curious and want the facts before taking the plunge.

I know that I don’t have type 4, low porosity hair. I know the Max Hydration Method wasn’t designed with me in mind. Although, it was championed for naturals with type 4 and more specifically, 4c hair, creator, PinkeCube, also shared that any natural hair type can follow the method if they’re intersted in achieving better definition and improving the health and length retention of their hair while decreasing dryness, knotting, and breakage.

1. I fully believe in investigative bloggerism. I don’t like to sit up on some social media perch and just throw around information. Ever since I wrote the initial article on the method, it has been my intention to actually try it and develop an informed opinion on the process and results.

2. I live in LA. I’ve got dry air, hard water and pollution (and traffic lol) working against me. The amount of clarifying and detoxifying involved could potentially stand to greatly improve the overall health of my hair.

3. I’ve got problem areas. My crown, and the front/center section of my hair are notoriously fuzzy, difficult to define and more prone to breakage. I also have really dry ends. If the Max  Hydration Method could help rectify those, I would be eternally grateful.

4. It could help me build a more disciplined regimen. For those that have been hanging out with me since my transitioning days, you know I’ve never been a huge fan of regimens. I just did what I needed to do to my hair when I felt like doing it. That  “when I felt like doing it” part sometimes gets me into trouble with my hair — resulting in more tangles and dryness (and sometimes breakage) than necessary. Following such a strict and thorough regimen via the Max Hydration Method would help me basically, get my life.

Now that you know why I would do such a thing, let’s get on with my experience — the good, the bad, the ugly, and the jaw-dropping.


I am not an expert on the Max Hydration Method. All research and credit for developing the regimen goes to Pinke Cube, and Miss Dee Kay has done a wonderful job with videos and blog posts to lay everything out. I simply took their template and did what you’re supposed to do with this natural hair thing — I made it work for me. You can go as by-the-book as you like or deviate based upon your preferences. Make it work for you!

Day 1

Day 1 for me was an absolute mess. I was exhausted, confused and overwhelmed. Even though I wrote the article breaking the Max Hydration Method down…I still had to go back again, again and again to to double fact-check what I thought I knew. Looking back, the source of my irritation and frustration was definitely the Cherry Lola Treatment. Having to cowash, air dry, do the treatment and then allow it to sit on my hair for an hour and a half definitely took all the wind out of my lil’ sail. After doing the baking soda cowash/rinse (Tresemme Naturals Conditioner + water + baking soda), I barely had the energy to deep condition. So I broke one of the cardinal rules (haha) of DC’ing — I did it overnight. Although many folks frown upon lengthy deep conditioning sessions (see hygral fatigue), the MHM guidelines suggest that if you can’t complete all the steps in one day, leaving the deep conditioner or clay in overnight is fine. I continued day 1 on what was technically day 2 (I’ll explain that ball of confusion a little later) and got really excited after the clay mask. By the time I was ready to apply my leave-in and styler, I noticed my hair had significantly less poof and frizz than normal. At this point, I knew the game changers would be the baking soda cowash and bentonite clay mask.


Days 2 through 7

The regimen fell into place for me after the first day slump. I made modifications where necessary (more on that later also) and things began running like clockwork. Baking soda cowash, deep condition, bentonite clay, style. After day 2, I really started to wonder if I was just being melodramatic. It really wasn’t that bad and it was the same number of steps that I normally do on any given wash day — Detangle, cleanse, deep condition, style. The only major change is that I’m detangling with the baking soda cowash instead of using a separate product beforehand and adding in bentonite clay. I will say, that the process is still not for the faint of heart. If you wash your hair every 2–3 weeks, upgrading that to every 2–3 days will have you contemplating if it’s worth it at all.

As the days went on, I began noticing some things about my hair: the definition was improving, detangling was getting easier, my rough ends began to disappear, the trouble patches of hair were fading into obscurity and finally, I was using less product to achieve my desired wash and go results — which is major. If you know me, you know I’m heavy handed. I’ll use an entire 8oz jar of curl definer without batting an eyelash, on one wash and go. The majority of the jar would go to taming those difficult to define sections and combatting frizz. Because the MHM was took care of those issues for me, I was able to achieve the same definition with substantially less product. Ironically, the process that I thought would cost me a lot of money was actually making my pockets smile. Note: I didn’t stick to all MHM-approved products (really, I used virtually none of them). I’ll explain a little later.

Look at all that product left! I’m getting more than one wash and go out of this!

By the time I reached days 4, 5, and 6, I was doing the method like it was the only thing I had ever done to my hair all my life. My hair was responding incredibly well. The method delivered on its promises of less tangles, dryness, frizz, breakage and knotting. I saw definition (with minimal product, mind you) in places that wouldn’t define on their own soaking wet with the stiffest gel. I used to have tons of little wisps of hair (due to my dry ends) every wash day, but now I was seeing them less and less and eventually, not at all.

My hair also had more “hang time.” I’m still on the fence about whether to call it elongation, because elongation suggests a loosening of the curl. My curl pattern didn’t loosen, it just stopped drawing into itself as much. The definition in my hair improved all over and I really started to feel like my hair was healthier without the use of siliciones.

By the way: I got my wash day down to an hour and thirty minutes. That’s an accomplishment for ANY wash day, MHM or not.

Day 7

Mama I made it! By the time day 7 rolled around, I felt some strange sense of accomplishment. I stuck to a regimen and pretty much used the same products (as far as cleansing and deep conditioning are concerned, at least) throughout. My hair appeared to be in impeccable health, quite possibly the healthiest it has ever been. You can officially count me as a believer in the Max Hydration Method. This is going to sound really corny (and I mean really), but I feel like the MHM unlocked my hair’s potential. In the back of my mind, I always felt like my hair wasn’t being all that it could be. Don’t get me wrong — I love my hair, but I’ve always felt like something about it was a little off. Like it shouldn’t be so parched (even though LA air has like, zero moisture), it shouldn’t frizz so easily and it darn sure shouldn’t require so much product. Maybe I should’ve listened to the folks at Devachan who nearly a year ago told me that my hair was “dehydrated” and I needed to go “silicone free” (sheepish grin).

Regardless, I am happy that I embarked on the Max Hydration Method challenge. How many more days/cycles will I do? Who knows. Am I going to stay cone-free? I don’t want to think about it right now (because it means getting rid of some favorites). So to answer the one burning question that everyone has about the Max Hydration Method — does it actually work? In this blogger’s opinion, yes.

Hair about 75% dry, but well-defined and pretty frizz-free.

And now, for the portions I told you I’d explain a bit later.

Max Hydration Method Lingo: “Days”

One of the most confusing things about the Max Hydration Method is how days are defined. The regimen is set up to be completed over 7 consecutive days (which constitutes one cycle), but can also be done every 2–3 days. I chose every 3 days, because that was closest to my normal wash pattern of twice per week. Every time you complete the cleansing, conditioning, clay, and styling, that is considered one day — even if it is three days later. So what could have been accomplished over the course of a week, took me nearly a month because I only advanced 1 day every 3 (and sometimes 4 but don’t tell nobody) days. Once you complete 7 days, it is considered a complete cycle.

Max Hydration Method “Approved Products” + Making it Work for You

As with everything in this natural hair community, there are those that adhere strictly to guidelines, and those who go with the spirit of things and tweak guidelines to their liking. I’m a product of the latter. I will say it again and again until I’m blue in the face — do what works for you!

There is a limited (albeit growing) list of Max Hydration Method-approved products. I looked them over, but wasn’t moved to strictly adhere. I looked over what ingredients to avoid, and I felt that there was some misinformation around how ingredients like polyquats, panthenol, and hydrolyzed proteins are presented. For more on what I mean by that, click here. Beyond the ingredient selection, I refused to make the MHM challenge more expensive by rushing out to buy or order new curl definers and leave-ins. As much as I’m a product junkie with a penchant for small business brands, I felt completely comfortable in the hands of Obia, Camille Rose Naturals, Kurlee Belle, TreLuxe, Eden BodyWorks and others.

I tweaked the clay mask recipe to my liking, and even used a different Tresemme Naturals Conditioner (I could only get my hands on Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture, which isn’t MHM-approved). I still got pretty good results, because I made the conscious decision to incorporate more of the products and ingredients that work well with my hair.

As far as making the regimen work for me, I already mentioned that I did it every 3 days (I stretched to 4 days like twice), and I even skipped a day (read about that here) and got right back on track. I followed this basic regimen which married the general ideas around the MHM with my regular wash day routine:

  • Detangle and cleanse hair in 5–6 sections with Tresemme Naturals Conditioner + water + baking soda cowash using a plastic applicator bottle. Note: vinyl gloves are incredibly helpful in this, and every other step up to and including the clay mask application.
  • Rinse baking soda cowash and apply deep conditioner (I used Eden BodyWorks Jojoba Monoi Deep Conditioner for most of my days). Deep condition with heat for 15–20 minutes.
  • Rinse deep conditioner and apply bentonite clay mask in small sections (click here for my clay mask recipe), allowing it to sit for up to 30 minutes before hopping in the shower to rinse. Once in the shower and the mask is rinsed out, I apply a little Tresemme Naturals Conditioner and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes before rinsing it about halfway out (sometimes I use Tresemme as my only leave-in, sometimes I add another on top).
  • After the Tresemme, I either add another leave-in or moisturizer, or hop straight to sealing with an oil (typically coconut). Once out of the shower, I apply my styling product in sections, raking and smoothing it through.


Another concern with the Max Hydration Method is the amount of money it takes to embark on the challenge. The reality is, it is only as expensive as you make it. Since beginning the MHM challenge, I’ve spent roughly $34:

I already had my own Bragg’s Liquid Aminos for the Cherry Lola treatment and as I mentioned previously, I spent no additional money seeking out leave-ins, curl definers or even deep conditioners. If I choose to continue with more cycles of the MHM, I’ll only need to buy more conditioner, baking soda, and bentonite clay when I run out.

I think that about covers it, but if you’re interested in more nitty-gritty details on my experience with the Max Hydration Method check the links below:

Day 1 Part 1 and Day 1 Part 2 of the Max Hydration Method

Day 2 Max Hydration Method Update

Day 3 Max Hydration Method Update

Days 4, 5, and 6 Max Hydration Method Update

Will you be trying the Max Hydration Method?

About Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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41 Comments on "I Tried the Max Hydration Method…and I Liked It!"

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This was a great article! I’m definitely gonna try the MHM when spring /summer rolls around! 🙂

naturally Tee

but do you think it was one thing that worked and all the other may not have been needed. I ask because I feel like I get those results using bentonite clay and deep conditioning every week


Good question cause when I use Bentonite clay alone my hair reacts in that manner — looser curls, easier to detangle etc.

I was wondering the same thing. She spoke especially highly about the baking soda and bentonite, and I’m thinking that maybe those (especially the bentonite) were the game changers for her hair. I started using bentonite on my hair a few months ago, and that stuff, without any other changes to my regimen, was like magic. My hair was softer and more supple, needed less product, stayed moisturised longer, had more defined coils and curls, held a style better. I think bentonite and deep conditioning might be the key — to me all the other stuff still really seems like… Read more »
I agree. I also think that it may just be the bentonite clay working wonders and doing it’s thing. The other steps may just be unnecessary additions that could be omitted. I finger detangle my natural hair after wetting it and sealing with coconut oil. Then I apply my Bentonite clay mixture( Bentonite clay + water + one egg= 2-in-1 cleansing and protein treatment which is great for busy naturals or students like me ) to my natural hair and rinse thoroughly after waiting for some time. I get extremely clumped and defined curls with no frizz by using this… Read more »
No, all the steps are important. Pinkecube explains this on her website. If betonite clay was all you needed for the method to be fully effective, she would have just said that as she tried everything before settling on this particular method with all these steps. She has nothing to gain by adding baking soda and gel or whatever other steps that are “the most” for no reason. The maximum hydration method wasn’t just created so you could have curl definition. The method was created so that 4c hair could gradually raise their moisture retention levels and be the healthiest… Read more »

What you guys are doing when you skip the steps…”

Speaking for myself, I’m not skipping any steps, because I’m not using the MHM in the first place. How can I be skipping steps in a routine that I’m not even following? Also, I find your medicine analogy a little weird. My hair without the MHM isn’t sick or diseased, it doesn’t need a cure or a medicine.


Way to miss the point. Nowhere in her comment she said your hair was sick. She used the analogy to explain how skipping a step is like skipping medicine. You think it will be fine but it’s not. It has nothing do to with the medicine but with the skipping.

Coco T

T, stfu. You sound stupid and childish. You think she talking to you personally? If it don’t apply to you then why u responding?

And her medicine comparison was an EXAMPLE you nitwit.


I guess the MHM has some really passionate advocates. I’m sorry for offending you.

I was talking to those confused about the maximum hydration steps. If you’re not attempting the max hydration method then no I was not talking to you. And no one is passionate about the max hydration method. As long as my hair is doing well under the method I could careless how others hair is doing. Anyone that wants can rock their frizzy fro all day..that’s none of my business. I was trying to explain why the steps were important since I do the method and was informed…but you got that completely backwards somehow and I think people are just… Read more »
Thick Nigerian Hair

Jacky, I think it is the clay. I tried it and the baking soda did not impress me, the deep conditioning gave me the same results as always, but the clay gave me some hang time and some “clumping” (at least in the shower lol). I have 4c hair so I’m not really focused on curls, just the health.

Btw, if your method works for you then do you. Christina already stated this. All the steps may not be necessary for you and that’s ok.


I used clay alone in my old regime and it didn’t work the same way. People really need to try the method before giving opinions based on speculation.

I have done the clay in the past and did not get the results for the MHM. I was personally disappointed with clay results I am typical willing to try things once, I tried three times with no difference. It was like a night and day difference, I have 4b/c hair so that may be the difference. I have been natural since 1995 big chop and feel I had tried everything. Took a break from worrying about my hair while in med school and residency and early motherhood and seems in that time I missed the whole explosion of information… Read more »

did you pre-mix the baking soda rinse and the clay mask for the whole cycle (ie you mixed a whole batch as opposed to mixing a fresh batch before each wash day?) If so, how well did it keep?

Whew! That’s a bit too involved for me. I used to mix all my products, which ended up prolonging my wash day routine. I loved it, but the time it took was too much (I’d lose half a day or more). This seems almost like an extreme version of CG Method. I tried that too and loved it, but the frequency of washes wasn’t realistic for me when I started working again. I’m very tempted to try MHM since the steps/treatments are pretty much a trifecta of things I have previously incorporated into my regimen at one time or another,… Read more »

Thanks for testing the MHM out and giving us your results. I read your first article about MHM and thought I wasn’t interested because of all of the steps one has to go through. I don’t have the endurance for lengthy regimens.

After viewing your results, I think I will give it a try.


After reading The Science of Black Hair, I’d never put hair through such extreme PH shifts that the MHM requires. No Bueno.


Soooo… I’m on day 3 (2 days in between) of the MOM and had to add moisture as my hair is REALLY DRY! Wth? I’m using a non approved conditioner & switched from giovsnni gel back to as I am due to dryness. I had to add in moisture (ie curl puddings) to make my hair semi-happy… thoughts? So frustrated!

PS would have the same curl pattern as lady who wrote this article,ie not 4c type.

You have dryness because you’re not using the approved conditioners and the pudding is making it worse in the long run depending on the ingredients. This method works on all hair types but was specifically made for 4c hair and a lot of research has been done on what dries out our type 4c hair. Type 4 hair is unique, specifically 4c and our hair can’t take what others can. Even type 3 hair can’t tolerate certain things especially if you have low porosity hair. The ingredients in what you’re using for the method is drying out your hair, it… Read more »
Cheyenne Ross

For women like me who have to be up by4:30am get five kids ready for,school, be out the house by 6:30, get home by 5:30 and spend the next few hours with diner, homework, ironing, getting ready for next day..I will never have the time to do this.


Ha ha yes the life of a fulltime working mom. Well moms would be gladd to breath in between all the ‘to do’s’.
For me MHM takes to much time, for a “Natural” texturizer:)


You can try to make time, when you get home you can keep up with chores while the stuff sits on your hair, like the author says one day is completing the day 1 guidelines even if it takes 2 days, she also says make it work for you, you can do two cycles, relax and see, it’s all about trial and error, who knows it might just be what your hair needs.

maybe you can think about it!


Dang it! I was put off by how involved the process seemed and I’m super lazy, but…I’m looking at the results and I kinda want to try it. Thanks for sharing!


Wondering about bentonite clay mask. I have never used it, but it sounds horrible for dense/fine/tightly curly 4a hair! Is it hard to rinse out?


Ja, my hair is 3c/4a with fine to medium individual strands & it’s on the thicker side of overall density. Clays are a NIGHTMARE for me to wash out! I tried bentonite (an entire 16 oz jar I used up), then Terressentials, but there would always be some stuck somewhere. People kept giving me advice on better methods, mixes, etc. I just stopped because I could not deal. I’m always tempted to try the MHM, but whenever I see that clay step.…ugh. No thank you. The results do look awesome though! And thanks Christine for writing this!


I have never used bentonite clay. This probably a silly question but since it is a clay / mud is there any issues with it going down shower drain?


I am on day 5 and my hair is looking amazing. I am a 4a-c and have never seen my hair looking so hydrated, soft, bouncy and curly. I have fine hair so the prospect of putting gel on my hair was a little off putting but when I saw the results I was in awe. My hair is not only soft, shiny and define but it is also full of volume. This method has been god sent and I thank your article back in August because that’s how I heard of it.

Yesterday I completed day one of the challenge. Please believe I was tired of doing my hair towards the end of the day. Day one is a doozy. I can’t do the 5-step regimen in the morning so I do it at night. I wet wrapped my hair. The curls stayed in tact when I took my hair down this morning. I forgot how big my hair is until I saw it this morning. I am going to continue with the challenge. Next time I do the 7 day challenge, I will be sure to buy Terressentials. Mixing the clay… Read more »

Yeah day one is a whole day affair. I was left exhausted and my sensitive scalp was not too happy. For the clay, you can mix the clay to last you a week. Clay doesn’t go bad. If it dries just add more water that’s it.


Great article! After reading it and seeing the results I will actually set time aside to try the MHM! Wish me luck!

I did the MHM last month for 21 days straight on my 4c hair. I did the ACV rinse not the baking soda/conditioner. My hair moisture level has changed dramatically! Now ladies I know that have been natural for 4 plus years (me only 6 months) are trying it because they saw how healthy my hair looks now. I continue to wash my hair every 2–3 (co-wash plus deep condition). My wash and gos look great and last for 3 days could be 4. My suggestion is always try it out for you if it works great if not then… Read more »
It’s good to know you tweaked the products and it still worked for you because Suave Shea + Almond conditioner is my holy grail and I feel a way about departing from it since it’s not on the list (lol). Though the tresemme naturals looks good but still Suave has been the GOAT for a few years. Additionally, I make over half of my products; butters, leave ins, and oil mixes. I’ve been natural for 5 years now and the prices for these products in proportion to size is a sham and they’re all on that approved product list. No… Read more »
Napturally Kia

imo, this is kind of sad. all i see are people going thru great lengths to alter their curl pattern. it’s not really working if you continuously have to do it to me…and the pH of the ingredients in your hair day in and day out cant be good.


I couldn’t agree More Napturally Kia.

How about ur body? To get healthy u must remove toxins, junk, add healthy foods, exercise… All of this continually. Does that mean its not working for you? Babies are not born with low porosity “nappy” hair. Due to the environment, not covering, and overall lack of knowledge on our part keeps us from maintaining the naturally hydrated locks we’re born with. Like a recipe that grandma took to her grave the secrets passed down from ancient Egyptians (kings/queens with hydrated curls)was lost. Its sad that hair is a billion $$ business mostly black hair. Profiting off the insecurity placed… Read more »
So I tried MHM and also like the results BUT…despite all my research beforehand, I later found a few reasonable critiques on the regimen that had me concerned. And when I stopped doing MHM, returning to chunky twists, my hair felt odd, and not in a good way. It was knottier than ever too. I have super dry, 4c hair but with a pretty coily hair pattern. I was interested in MHM strictly to lock in moisture, reduce damage to my ends and reduce breakage. I believe it would work, but wonder if it was damaging my hair in the… Read more »
Adeola @ TheManeCaptain

wow, that’s probably one of the longest read i’ve read in a while! I need a max hydration method in my regimen right now, but some of the products are a big no no for me and I’m not a PJ so i’ll shelf this method for now 🙂


I loved that someone else got really good results from this! It makes me really happy to see! I was following the max hydration method up until about a week ago. I loved the results I would get but my hair never really smelled clean… I wonder if there is any way with which to combat the smell of baking soda/acv to leave hair looking and smelling great?

Sue Donim

That’s weird… I usually use baking soda to help get rid of odors in my hair. Have you tried massaging the soda into your scalp?

I LOVED this article! Can I also say that I tried the MHM and I’m starting to love the results. I have Super thick, long 3c/4a hair…and a wash n go has always been a disaster for me. My hair would always end up looking like a huge frizzy forest of hair with no clumping except on the ends whenever I tried them. After trying Max Hydration Method for only 4 days, I’m a HUGE Believer!!! My hair is finally clumping, moisturized, and defined with a surprising less amount of gel product compared to what I used to do with… Read more »

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