My biggest struggle with my natural hair has always been keeping it consistently moisturised and this is also one of the top challenges we hear you face too. I have found that as my hair has gotten longer, my regular routine does not seem to 'quench' my hair's thirst sufficiently. Because I have very dense, low porosity hair, my strands struggle to absorb moisture and can feel stiff and straw like.
After doing a bit of research, I decided to try the maximum hydration method (MHM) which gained popularity in 2014 and promises to increase moisture levels in hair until maximum hydration is reached. So in this (slightly long) post I will be taking you through Day 1 and Day 2 of my MHM challenge.
Disclaimer: The MHM challenge is a a 7-day challenge where you repeat 5 steps. It is not for the faint hearted and takes a lot of time and effort but after completing 2 days, I am seeing positive changes in my hair.
Step 1: The Cherry Lola Caramel Treatment (Done only once on Day 1 then every 2-4 weeks thereafter)
The original method had the first three ingredients and these are most important. The goal here is to open the hair cuticle to be able to absorb moisture as we go through the steps.
Greek/Natural Yoghurt (2 cups) - Conditioning base that softens, moisturizes & eases detangling
Baking Soda (I got baking soda :) 2tbsp - Opens hair cuticle
Raw coconut liquid aminos (2tbsp) - Builds tensile strength
Apple Cider Vinegar (2 tbsp) - Helps restore natural hair balance
Raw Honey (1/2 tbsp) - Humectant that helps retain moisture
Avocado (3/4, I used avocado oil instead) - Deep penetration and moisturizing
Unsulfured molasses (1 tbsp) - Strengthens, thickens and stimulates hair growth
Raw egg - Strengthens and reduces breakage
I used my hand mixer to mix all these into what looks like the caramel mixture in far right picture then applied to hair, wrapped in shower cap and left for 2 hours.
Unwashed hair before applying treatment and after applying treatment
Step 2: Co-Wash and Detangle
This step helps reduce knots and tangles as well as hydrate and fortify
Next I mixed my Tresemme Moisture Rich Conditioner with warm water (you can play around with the thickness to your needs) then applied it to my hair in 4 sections and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Ideally I should have left the conditioner in overnight but I did this at midday and had places to be later :) I gently detangled each section with a wide-toothed comb working from tip to root while rinsing under the shower.
Step 3: Clay Rinse
This step draws out any remaining dirt that may be in the hair and further hydrates, moisturizes, de-frizzes while banishing dryness and encouraging curl formation and shine.
You will need:
Clay powder (1 cup)
Warm water (2-3 cups)
Raw honey (1 tbsp)
Olive oil (1 tbsp)
I again mixed all these with my hand mixer as the clay can be a bit tough to turn by hand. I then applied it to my hair, again in 4 sections-this is important to make sure the clay is evenly distributed. I left this in for about an hour, My hair absolutely LOVED the clay mix and I will definitely be doing this step on my hair more often. As you can see from the pic below, my curls were popping after this step...
Step 4 & 5: Leave in Conditioner & Gel
After rinsing out the clay, I used my Tresemme as a leave in conditioner by mixing it with water to a slightly watery consistency then used my kinky curly curling custard as a gel then sealed with my shea, castor and avo butter. Because I was so excited after the clay process, I didn't section my hair and therefore didn't apply each of these evenly section by section. This led to a bit of frizzing and clumping of gel in my hair. The trick is to rake in the leave in conditioner through relatively small sections of hair then apply the gel to strands so that they hang down. I did not do this so didn't get the same level of definition as in after the clay step. Despite this, my hair was still very well moisturised, soft and bouncy.
MHM Day 1
I repeated the whole process the next day but replaced step 1 with an apple cider vinegar rinse (you can also do a baking soda rinse) and made sure to apply my leave in thoroughly section by section at Step 4. My coils were even more defined and happy after this. I am not a particularly big fan of gel so will be seeing if I can eliminate Step 5 and apply butter after my leave in as I normally do when I wash.
MHM Day 2 - Leave-in and gel still visible in hair
You can read more about MHM here.
Some clarification: The 7 day challenge refers to the 7 times you repeat the 5 steps as opposed to 7 consecutive days of doing the process. While you can try consecutive days (and I did on both a Saturday and Sunday), I will be trying to do the process every 2 to 3 days till I complete it a total of 7 times. I will then see whether I would want to do it every week or month, for instance.
Given that I pride myself in being a lazy natural, this was rather tasking to do but as I sit here doing this post, I find myself already craving to do it again. My hair definitely responded positively to the process and I cannot wait to see how it will look after day 7.
MHM Day 2 - Semi Dry
With love, peace and fros