Before the Maximum Hydration Method (MHM), there was the Cherry Lola Treatment, developed in 2009 by natural hair blogger Cherry Lola. (As a matter of fact, the MHM incorporates a variation of this treatment as its first step.) Because of its effectiveness at reducing frizz, this treatment grew in popularity from 2009 through 2012. Not much has been said about it since then, but with its resurfacing via the MHM, I decided to give it a try for the first time.
Some background: What is the Cherry Lola Treatment?
The original recipe consists of:
The first two ingredients each have a special purpose. The yogurt acts as a conditioning base while the baking soda helps to lift the cuticles. At the time the treatment was developed, the purpose of the liquid amino acids (AAs) was not known. Rather, the point of this experimental concoction was to see if these AAs would have an effect on the hair. Ultimately, Cherry Lola experienced a reduction in frizz and an increase in moisture absorption. It was essentially serendipity, and soon after, numerous other naturals realized the same benefits.
How was my first Cherry Lola Treatment?
Though I have known about this treatment for a few years, the skeptic in me never saw the need to try it. After all, my hair and frizz go hand in hand and I have come to accept that. However, my recent curiosity in the MHM opened the door to my first experience with the Cherry Lola Treatment. You see, I am too lazy to perform all the required steps of the MHM, but the latter treatment was right up my alley.
Over the years, the Cherry Lola Treatment has undergone modifications, but I wanted to try the original version. I went to the source — Cherry Lola’s blog — for my first treatment.
I mixed Silkience Hair Care Silky-Smooth Conditioner (from the local dollar store), baking soda and Braggs Liquid Amino Acids together. I applied the concoction to dry hair, as directed and allowed it to set for 25–30 minutes. After the time was up, I rinsed my hair thoroughly and co-washed with Tresemme Naturals. Immediately after co-washing, I noticed that my coils were clumping and retaining more moisture than I anticipated. My hair felt as though it was given a super intense, moisturizing deep conditioning session. (Ultimately, the clumping was very short-lived but the moisture retention continued.)
What’s more? My hair felt strong as if I had performed a protein treatment as well. Now, this was an interesting additional benefit that hadn’t really been discussed much (if at all) by other naturals.
Why are the liquid amino acids essential to the Cherry Lola Treatment?
Cherry Lola was certainly on to something when she speculated that the external application of liquid amino acids may be great for hair health. After some research myself, I came across a 2007 study on the uptake of amino acids by hair. You can certainly read the full reference below, but what struck me were these findings:
“A hair conditioner incorporated with [the amino acid] alanine improves hair surface hydrophobicity [i.e., easier combing] of bleach-damaged hair. Histidine and phenylalanine [which are both amino acids] improve tensile strength. Pyrrolidone carboxylic acid [an amino acid derivative] was proved to be effective to improve color-retention of dyed hair.”
So, what are my final thoughts? While I don’t see myself incorporating the Cherry Lola treatment into my regimen, I do intend to use it once in a while. On the other hand, I am more intrigued with adding liquid amino acids to my conditioners.
Oshimura E, Abe H, Oota R. “Hair and amino acids: the interactions and the effects.” Journal of Cosmetic Science. 2007 Jul-Aug;58(4):347–57.
Have you tried the Cherry Lola Treatment? What has been your experience?