Every few months, a new trend travels through natural hair circles. Right now it is the Maximum Hydration Method which aims to enable the hair reach maximum hydration and thus result in amazing defined curls due to reduced frizz and dryness and more clumping, even without adding product to the hair. It was developed by PinkeCube and is designed specifically for what is known as Type 4c hair that is also low porosity, although it can work on any hair type as well. Most black Africans who are not mixed race fall into the 4c category. The idea behind the MHM is that since Type 4c is the kinkiest and curliest hair type, it is pone to dryness. And if that hair is also low porosity, then is struggles even more to absorb moisture. Porosity is the hair’s ability to retain moisture. You can have low, medium or high porosity hair. Read more about porosity here.
If you have been following ZedHair for a while now, you will know that we don’t often deal in fads, so it has come as a surprise to you that we are even talking about it. Well, that is because after extensive research and reading up on it, I have decided to give it a whirl. That’s right. I am taking up the Maximum Hydration Challenge and I invite you to join me if you can. Let me answer a few of your questions first
What are the advantages of achieving maximum hydration?
It reduces dryness, which reduces tangles and breakage.
The MHM apparently also enables 4c hair to achieve a genuine wash and go because the curls clump easily and define with or without product
What is required to follow this method?
It is not for the lazy naturalista. So if you are not a DIY person, this is not for you. But if you like washing your own hair at home, mixing your own products and experimenting with what works for your hair, this may work for you. There is a great breakdown from The Mane Objective here. In summary, there are several steps that involve:
0. A pre-treatment (Cherry Lola)
1. Cleansing with baking soda or apple cider vinegar
2. Conditioning/deep conditioning
3. Clay wash
4. Leave-in conditioner
5. Botanical gel.
What are the risks?
A number of people have concerns about hygral fatigue. The MHM encourages constant application of moisture such deep conditioning overnight. When hair is dripping wet, it is at its weakest (much like if it is bone dry). So having your hair constantly in this state could lead to too much water in the hair shaft, where the hair loses its elasticity. Hence the term, hygral fatigue. I don’t envision my hair being dripping wet. perhaps because of the low porosity of my hair, I find this unlikely. So no, I’m not overly worried about hygral fatigue.
The other concern many people have is pH balance due to use of the baking soda (Bicarbonate of Soda) in the Cherry Lola Treatment. More on that next week when we discuss the five steps in the MHM regimen. JC of The Natural Haven Bloom discusses some of the concerns here. Looking at the recipes on the MHM site, it looks to me that it is sufficiently pH balanced. People have shared the results of the method and I think that if it had violent side effects, we would have heard about them. Instead many people just report that it didn’t do much or anything at all for them. I will say that if you know that Bicarb doesn’t agree with your hair, don’t try it just because the recipe says you should. YOU know your hair better than anyone. So for me, nothing in the regimen is something that I have never tried before, except the bicarbonate of soda.
So why are you doing it?
Erm, they had me at wash and go. I actually really like the texture and appearance of y hair when it is wet and would love to minimise on my dry ends. The bushy and tangled ends that snap off in frustration could possibly be a thing of the past if this method works. I have looked at all the recipes and ingredients and I think it looks like it would work for me as they are all things that I already do at some point, just not in a regimented way.
Sticking on that point, I am not one to follow strict rules about my hair, so this is a nice way to see if I can keep to a schedule and not modify recipes etc to suit myself. I think this requires some adherence in order to see for sure if maximum hydration can be reached. Although since I don’t have a microscope, I cannot be certain from a scientific point of view.
So, when do we start?
Saturday 18th October is Day One. This means, Friday 17th October is Day Zero, when all the shopping should be completed. I am going to do a post next week about the regimen and then another one with a shopping list. Once we start, I will be updating the blog and Facebook page with my pictures each evening.
In the meantime, please take time to read the detailed explanation of the maximum Hydration method here.