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Curly hair is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. It could be super-defined one day and a frizzy concoction the next day – and it's never exactly the same from one head to another. Our mission is to equip you with the necessary tools for restoring and maintaining healthy locks and celebrating the hair you were born with! 

A Guide to the Maximum Hydration Method

December 6, 2022


Verna Meachum

Happy Black Woman for A Guide to the Maximum Hydration Method blog post.

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Curl care

I am highly experienced in the beauty industry and specialize in writing for brands and websites that focus on curly hair care. Moreover, I actually have curly hair and have curly-haired children with varying hair textures. I am also surrounded by curly-haired friends, including curly hairstylists and curly-haired family members. You get the point :) I’m well-versed in the language and nuances of curly hair care, styling tips, and product recommendations.

Furthermore, I collaborate with my friend who has a Ph.D. in organic and inorganic chemistry and works as an R&D Chemist to help us navigate through the misinformation around curly hair care. He advises us on Hair Care Science to ensure we are well-informed.

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Last Updated on April 12, 2023 by Verna Meachum

When your hair always feels dry in spite of conditioner or oil, OR it seems to reject moisture (regardless of what you do), there is a great likelihood that you have low porosity hair.

If you’ve never heard of the maximum hydration method, boy do I have a surprise for you! The Maximum Hydration Method (MHM) is based on the idea that you can achieve maximum hydration and nourishment for your hair!

But not just any hair, it is a method designed specifically to help naturals with 4C low porosity hair (or type 4 hair) retain moisture and achieve their desired look.

If you feel like your current regimen just isn’t working, it might be time to switch things up and give this routine a try.

Please note that this will not be a speedy and effortless task for those who are naturally lazy – but it is effective.

What is the Maximum Hydration Method?

The maximum hydration method is a hair care regimen tailored specifically for 4C low porosity hair. It is an intense, step-by-step process that helps to open the cuticles on your strands and lock in moisture. This method uses six steps to help you achieve maximum hydration for your hair.

Even if your hair type isn’t low porosity 4C hair, you can make it work by making a few adjustments.

The Maximum Hydration Method requires you to:

  • The Cherry Lola Treatment
  • Clarify your hair
  • Co-wash
  • Bentonite Clay Rinse
  • Leave-in Conditioner (other styling products)
  • Stretch your hair (not really part of the method and is optional)

We’ll guide you through the Maximum Hydration Method in just a moment, but first just a little history, and to give credit where credit is due.

The Maximum Hydration Method was developed by Pinke Cube, blogger MsDeeKay. The MHM became popular on a Black Hair Media thread in 2014 when Pinke Cube shared how to disprove the long-standing claim that 4c girls can’t wear a wash-and-go because our hair is too kinky.

Advantages of the Maximum Hydration Method

If you want the optimal wash-and-go, then focus on hydration, which is something the MHM method emphasizes. Hydration and moisture are key to keeping your hair healthy since they work hand-in-hand.

The Maximum Hydration Method helps to lift or raise up the cuticles of your hair, allowing moisture in. It also keeps your strands moisturized and prevents breakage.

The Maximum Hydration Method helps reduce frizz, making your curls more defined — a great way to show off the natural beauty of your coils.

Finally, this method may help you retain length by providing deep nourishment and strengthening the hair from root to tip.

Step by Step Maximum Hydration Method

To achieve maximum results, you need to complete this regimen every day for one week so that the hair cuticles can raise or lift up and absorb a lot of moisture.

The regimen can be done every three days after the first week, but no longer than that.

Note – these steps must be done consecutively. 

You will need a few ingredients and tools, and you should plan to spend a few hours washing and styling your hair.

Step 1: The Cherry Lola Treatment

In the tutorial below, skip to the 1:45 mark to see the Cherry Lola Treatment.

Video credit: TwinGodesses

The Cherry Lola Caramel Treatment should be the first step for anyone with low porosity hair. This will allow the hair to better absorb moisture by lifting the cuticles.

The Cherry Lola Treatment has a few variations, but the two key components are always yogurt and amino acids. Other ingredients you can add are greek yogurt, honey, molasses, coconut oil, and more. Feel free to leave out or substitute ingredients that don’t work for you.


2 cups greek yogurt (fat or non fat)

1 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp liquid soy amino acids 

1/2 tbsp raw honey

2 tbsp baking soda

1 tbsp unsulfured dark molasses

3/4 tbsp avocado

1/2 an overripe plantain or banana

1 egg (optional)


  1. Blend the ingredients you chose to use together.
  2. Then pour the mixture into a bowl.
  3. Apply the mixture (from root to tip) to your dry, detangled, and sectioned hair. Make sure each strand is saturated from root to tip.
  4. Put a shower cap on your head and leave the mixture in for about an hour (or up to 2 hours, depending on how your hair absorbs the ingredients).
  5. Rinse it out with warm water.
  6. Follow step 2 (clarify) below or use the Green House Effect. Instructions below.
  7. Continue with the rest of the MHM regimen but skip step 1.

How to do the Green House Effect

The Green House Effect (GHE) is a great way to promote healthy growth on their scalp. It encourages the use of shampoos, conditioners, and other products that are made from only natural ingredients.

The purpose of this technique is to stimulate hair growth by encouraging follicle activation through increased blood circulation while you sweat (body heat).

The Green House Effect not only helps your hair to grow, but it also keeps it moisturized. When you sweat, natural oils are released from your scalp, which can help keep your hair healthy and hydrated.

Not only will the green house effect make your hair feel softer, but it will help your dry and brittle hair.

  1. Applying a natural oil blend, butter to damp hair is key.
  2. Then, use a plastic bag or cap and tie it to your head.
  3. Place a satin or silk bonnet over your head before you go to sleep, and allow it to stay on your hair overnight.
  4. Then, continue the Maximum Hydration Effect regimen, but do not include step 1 – go directly to step 2.

Below you’ll find a link to mango butter and shea butter products.

Step 2: Clarify

The next step is to clarify your hair. This will remove any build-up or residue from any other products that you may have used.

What you need 

  • Spray bottle
  • Baking soda
  • Conditioner


  1. Mix ½ tbsp. of baking soda and 1/3 cup of thick conditioner into a bottle.
  2. Add 4-7 oz. of water and shake well until the baking soda is fully dissolved.
  3. Apply the mixture to your hair using sections.
  4. Let it sit for up to 30 minutes.
  5. Rinse thoroughly.

Step 3: Co-wash and Finger detangle

What you need


  1. Wet your hair and apply the co-wash evenly throughout.
  2. Use your fingers to work through any tangles, starting at the roots and working down to the tips.
  3. Cover your hair with a shower cap and use a thermal heating cap, handheld steamer, or sit under a hooded dryer for approx. 20 minutes.

Step 4: Bentonite Clay Rinse

What you need

Here you can get three clays!


  1. Mix everything into a bowl. If the mixture is too thick, add more water until you reach a thick but still liquid consistency. It shouldn’t be so think that it resembles cake batter.
  2. Apply to hair in small sections.
  3. Allow the mixture to sit for approx. 15 min with a shower cap.
  4. Rinse out thoroughly.

Tip: To use this product on your hair, think of it as you would a deep conditioner. When applying the clay mixture, apply it in thin, more manageable layers from the root to the ends of your hair, which will give you better results than one big glob.

Signs of progression

By now, all residual product should be gone from your hair and you can finally see how far you’ve come! Your hair will start to clump and curl at the tips, and gradually reach the roots, which is when you can achieve maximum hydration.

You will also notice your hair is shakeable and bouncy and feeling nourished. Maximum hydration does take time and patience, but the results will be worth it!

Step 5: Botanical Leave-In Conditioner

What you need


  1. Mix the conditioner with the water and shake until emulsified.
  2. Starting at the roots, apply the mixture using your usual technique (i.e. raking, smoothing, shingling, etc.) thoroughly in sections.

Tip: If your hair is feeling wet and slippery, that means the gel will dry softer, so take note.

Leave-in Conditioner Recommendations

Alikay Naturals Lemongrass Leave In Conditioner

4C ONLY Too Soft Leave-In Conditioner

Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength Leave In Conditioner

Mielle Organics Pomegranate & Honey Leave-In Conditioner

Soultanicals Hair Sorrell Knappylicious Kink Drink

Naturall Club Nourishing Avocado Leave-in Conditioner

Step 6: Botanical Gel

What you need

  • Botanical gel
  • Oil (optional)


  1. Begin at the roots of your hair, and then apply the gel in small sections using your regular styling technique. Continue this process until you reach the ends of your hair.
  2. Make sure that the product is evenly distributed on your hair. Your hair should feel slippery.
  3. Optional – Use a small amount of oil before or after gel. This is called the “L.C.O. Method,” and it helps to lock in the moisture.

Step 7: Stretching

What you need


  1. If you have time, allow your hair to air dry. If not, use a blow dryer with a diffuser and set it on the low setting. Do not touch your hair as it is drying to avoid frizz.
  2. While drying, carefully use your fingers to stretch and your coils from root to tip. This will help elongate the hair.
  3. You can also use clips or the Banding Method to help stretch and shape your coils for maximum definition.
  4. Before bedtime: tuck, and pin sections of your hair before bed.
  5. Start by sectioning your hair vertically into 4-6 sections (or more, depending on the length and thickness of your hair).
  6. Then roll each section, tuck it in place, and secure with a bobby pin.
  7. After you’ve rolled your hair in the direction you want it to fall, gently tie on a scarf.
  8. In the morning, simply shake at the roots to bring your hair back to life.

Helpful Tips

-Start this regimen on the weekend so you have ample time to get all the steps done.

-Take your time with each step and make sure that it is thorough and even.

-Be gentle with your hair and scalp when styling.

-The simplest method to follow this routine is to clarify your hair at night, directly after applying a deep conditioner. In the morning, rinse out the conditioner and continue with the subsequent steps.

-If you have high porosity hair, take fewer ingredients and spend less time on each hair step.

Maximum Hydration Method for High Porosity Hair

Video credit: Imperfectly Natalya


How do you know the maximum hydration is working?

You’ll know the method is working when your hair forms clumps, curls at the ends, and when your curls are still bouncy and moveable even when your hair is completely dry.

How often should you to the MHM?

The Cherry Lola Treatment should be done every two weeks, while the remaining steps of the Max Hydration Method should be completed weekly to keep hydrated and moisturized.

It is also important to clarify your hair once a month, or more frequently if needed, to remove product build up.


I had to listen to what my hair curls are finally ready to take in some moisture again!!!


- renee, Stylist Liaison

- renee, Stylist Liaison

“I truly couldn't have gotten through this without her knowledge, advice and support...after suffering from Hygral Fatigue and getting tons of advice @themestizamuse.”

“@themestizamuse: for ESSENTIAL information you will NEED TO KNOW in order to see results.”

See how easy the topics are to find on her page (a few posts screenshot)? There is no topic Verna hasn't covered.

- dominique P, wavy hair enthusiast


- dominique P, wavy hair enthusiast

“I have learned a whole heap of knowledge from @themestizamuse.”

Inspiring hair tutor, grateful for what she offers the Curly Community in authenticity, passion, and knowledge.

- zoe F, Producer & Host of The Curl Squad


- zoe F, Producer & Host of The Curl Squad

“I was so excited to embrace my curls and take better care of them. As I started to dive in, I immediately became overwhelmed with the information.”

I read books and tried doing things because "that's what I'm supposed to do," but it didn't always work and I didn't understand why. I'm so grateful for Verna and her blog. Her info. actually helped me understand more of the science of why some methods helped and what products or ingredients to use and why. Anyone that compliments my hair and wants to start a curly journey, I tell them to start here. My hair is so much healthier and I'm so happy with it.

- stephanie, Curly hair enthusiast


- stephanie, Curly hair enthusiast

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