Once we have learnt how to treat and maintain our locks, we are all proud to be curly people – but it can take some time to get there. In fact, many of us went through some serious curly kid trauma until we (or our parents) finally realized what was needed to keep our hair healthy.
There are so many things to consider when working with a head full of curls, but while you’re still figuring out what curl type you’re tending to or what products work best for them, it can be a nightmare to get them to the point of looking and feeling good.
Health is the keyword when it comes to curls. Straight hair can be unhealthy but styled to appear like it’s well-nourished and hydrated.
Whereas with curls, their unhappiness is immediately visible and tangible because they’ll dry out faster than you can say coils, and they’ll lose their joyful bounce – the first tell-tell sign of sad locks.
Until we start doing some serious research into the subject, many of us don’t realize that our curls depend on constant hydration, let alone how to make that happen. This is why so many of us have gone through life experiencing hair care and maintenance as a literal pain.
Our hair is naturally fragile and sensitive, especially when it is dry. This makes everything from wash sessions and, particularly, combing and styling very unpleasant. Hence, all those childhood memories of crying or cringing our way through the daily hair care routine.
The sooner you can find an efficient, moisturizing product or treatment to bring that bounce back in your curls, making them feel silky smooth and wonderfully quenched at all times, the more you will come to love them again.
An Enhanced Wash-and-Go Routine for All Curly Types
One of the most frustrating aspects of finding the right treatments for our curls is all the rules and myths surrounding what is right or wrong for which curl type.
It is said, for example, that wavy type 2 hair would be weighed down by a leave-in conditioner, whereas kinky curls would be left looking and feeling greasy when treated to a wash-and-go routine.
The truth of the matter is, like with so many other things in life, it’s all about trial and error. What works for one 4c hair type, may not work for the other. There are, however, many YouTube videos and blogs that suggest that, kinky curls absolutely thrive on the wash-and-go.
If you have found that the wash-and-go works for you, but feel that your curls could still benefit from more hydration for that ultimate health and shine boost, let us introduce you to a highly efficient method that was first popularized on Black Hair Media in 2014.
Enter the Maximum Hydration Method: The Curly Community’s New Best Friend
Never heard of the Maximum Hydration Method until now but now finding yourself totally intrigued? Then keep on reading, because we’re going to fill you in on everything this super effective and wonderfully hydrating treatment entails.
Before we get into the details, let us just say that, just like all the most successful curl-care routines, this one requires a lot of time and patience too – so don’t expect immediate miracle results and be prepared to put in the hours. It’s going to be worth it, we promise!
The Maximum Hydration Method works best for people with low porosity hair – which can be anything from 1a to 2b straight or wavy hair, to tight 4b and 4c curls – and follows a five-step regimen that will strengthen, hydrate and stretch your curls, adding extra volume along the way.
Initially, it is important to follow these steps exactly, just so you can ensure what’s working for you and what’s not. Once you have gotten the hang of it, you can always personalize your routine somewhat, based on what your hair responds to best.
Two major signs to look out for to tell you that this treatment is doing the trick for you is a) your ends clumping and curling and, b) shakeable curls even once they have completely dried. So keep a lookout for these signs of success!
The Five-Step Guide to Maximum Hydration
Ready to dive into this revolutionary hydration method and let it work its magic on your own hair? Here is your five-step guide to making it happen!
Step 1: The Cherry Lola Treatment – The DIYer’s Favourite
So many of us are much happier creating our own, DIY hair care and beauty ingredients in our own kitchens than we are purchasing products. This makes step one of the Maximum Hydration Method – namely the Cherry Lola Treatment – a true DIYer’s favourite.
The Cherry Lola Treatment calls for all-natural ingredients, a blender and your own eagerness to create something healthy and nourishing for your hair. The Cherry Lola Treatment is, essentially, a smoothie for your hair, that will require the following ingredients:
- 2 Cups Greek yoghurt
- 2 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
- ½ tbsp raw honey
- 2 tbsp amino acids
- 2 tbsp baking soda
- ½ overripe banana
- ¾ tbsp avocado
- 1 tbsp unsulphured molasses
- 1 egg (optional)
This is the most commonly used recipe for the Cherry Lola Treatment, but a quick search on Google or YouTube will open you up to a whole world of alternative ingredients, should one of these not rock your – or your hair’s – boat.
The key players in this recipe are definitely the yoghurt and the amino acids, all the other ingredients can easily be substituted for your own personal preferences, as long as they have the same benefits as the original suggestions.
To apply this treatment, detangle thoroughly, then spread it on to your dry hair, making sure that it is coated from root to tip.
To avoid dripping the goodness all over your living room floor, put your hair up in a shower cap and leave it to penetrate for an hour and a half to two hours, then rinse it out thoroughly.
Yes, things can get a little messy following the Cherry Lola Treatment, but we can assure you, this is a mess you’ll be happy to make: it’ll leave your hair feeling soft and hydrated, reduce frizz and make it a dream to detangle – no pain, no fuss.
Step 2: Clarify with a Homemade or Store-Bought Product
The next step is all about removing any excess build-up from styling products, hard water and the like. It will help to restore your hair’s natural pH balance, giving it a welcomed boost that will leave it feeling and looking rejuvenated and refreshed.
In this step, you have the option to use a store-bought product or going the homemade route once again. Here are our recommendations for either choice!
- Apple Cider & Vinegar Mix: Fill a 1:1 ratio of apple cider and vinegar into a spray bottle and give it a good shake. Apply it to your hair and leave it to penetrate for 30 to 60 minutes.
- Baking Soda Mix: For this DIY option, fill 1/3 cup with your favourite conditioner and add one and a half tablespoons of baking soda. Give it a good stir, then massage it into your hair. Cover with a shower cap and leave it to sit for ten to thirty minutes.
- As I Am Curl Clarity Shampoo: Made with nourishing coconut, amla and tangerine, this clarifying shampoo comes highly recommended by the curly community. It leaves your hair more manageable and beautifully moisturized.
- OGX Clarify + Shine Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo: sulphate-free and made with apple cider, this shampoo will get rid of unwanted oil and leave your hair balanced and with a natural shine.
Step 3: A Cleansing & Conditioning Co-Wash
A lot of shampoos have the tendency to strip our hair off their natural oils, which is the last thing we want. This is why co-washing has proven to be an excellent alternative, especially for natural curls and hair types.
Co-washing allows you to thoroughly cleanse your hair without having to worry about any adverse effects, whilst leaving it conditioned and therefore, silky, smooth and hydrated.
You’ll find plenty of co-wash choices from some of your favourite brands, which will have the desired and lasting benefits on your hair. Here are some of our favourite product choices for you to try:
- Cantu Natural Hair Complete Conditioning Co-Wash: As one of the most popular hair care brands for naturally curly hair, Cantu is always a brilliant choice. Infused with natural butters and oils, and completely free of sulphates and parabens, it will leave your hair cleansed and moisturized.
- Aunt Jackie’s Curly and Coils Moisturizing Co-Wash Cleanser: this nourishing, deep cleansing and penetrating co-wash conditioner is enriched with flaxseed, avocado, coconut and apple cider vinegar, offering a triple-action formula of cleansing, conditioning and growth-enhancement.
Step 4: Treat Your Hair to a Clay Mask
You may have thought that clay masks only work a treat on your face, but they’re just as good for your hair. Thanks to bentonite clay’s antimicrobial properties, it has a great effect on dry, flaky and irritated scalps. It softens, soothes and moisturizes both the hair and the scalp.
As is the case for most of the steps of the Maximum Hydration Method, you can choose between buying a product that doesn’t require any additional ingredients or preparations, or you can make your own version of a clay mask.
For the store-bought option, we recommend Belleza Solutions’ Pure Bentonite Clay – it is all-natural and simply requires you to add water and form a smooth paste.
If you’d like to make your own mask by adding extra ingredients, we suggest Fuller’s Earth Calcium Bentonite, to which you can add olive or coconut oil, honey and/or amino acids.
Step 5: Start Your Styling Process
Now that you have gone through all the preliminary steps of the Maximum Hydration Method, it’s time for the final process: styling your hair with your favourite products.
To keep up with the theme of ultimate hydration, it is, of course, very important to choose styling products that are equally quenching and moisturizing, and staying clear of any that could cause dryness or flakiness.
We suggest you try a good leave-in conditioner, followed by a quality gel or crème. If you are new to either product, not to worry – here are our top recommendations:
- Moroccanoil Intense Curl Cream: for the final step of the styling process, use the fabulous Moroccanoil curling cream infused with luxurious argan oil. If desired, use a diffuser to work all this nourishing goodness into your hair.
- Garnier Ultimate Blends 3-in-1 Hair Mask & (Leave-In) Conditioner: available with four different scents/ingredients, namely banana, coconut, aloe vera and papaya, this 3-in-1 formula is a great choice that works across all hair types.
Simply add a small amount to the lengths of your hair after you’ve rinsed out your clay mask.
How to Incorporate the Maximum Hydration Method into Your Usual Haircare Routine
If you were starting to wonder whether this method is meant to be followed on a daily basis – not to worry!
For the best possible results, the Cherry Lola Treatment should be followed every two weeks, whereas the rest of the steps should be practised once weekly. Welcome to a new dawn of beautifully hydrated hair!