A Scientific Analysis of the Max Hydration Method for Type 4 Hair

ms deekay max hydration method

Ms. Dee Kay (pictured above)

The max hydration method (mhm) makes a big bold promise of getting type 4c hair to get its natural coils into clumped up curls. Are you curious? Here is my analysis of the method.

What is the max hydration method? 

The author of the method, Pinke Cube sent me some notes on the method. She is active on black hair media so do go there if you want more details. Here is a video of mhm afficionado, Ms.Dee Kay explaining part of the method in a few soundbites. Although, there are different versions of the method, she is explaining what is regarded as a routine for a regular user.

What other versions of the method exist?

I am going to be lazy here and tell you to click on the previous link to black hair media. I also believe an e-book will soon be available with further details. The one major addition that I can say is that a modified Cherry Lola treatment is recommended for beginners. If you do not know what that is………here it is.

Does the max hydration method work?

There is evidence that the method works although the group number is small (about 10)  – testimonial page. There is a lot of emphasis that for success, this method has to be done regularly and consistently – repeated daily/ every 2-3 days. Additionally, a curly girl route is recommended with an elimination of products containing sulfates and silicones. MHM advocates say that using a standard shampoo/conditioner does not replicate the results.

Should I be concerned about the high pH of the baking soda? Will it relax my hair?

Baking soda dissolved in water has a pH of around 8/9 and certainly while I do recommend that the mild acid to neutral range (5-7) is better, pH on its own is not sufficient to relax hair and hair is pretty resistant to change within the pH 4-9 range – (jog your memory)

Does baking soda or ACV actually clarify?

If you are a high/heavy oil user then the likely answer is no. I base my answer on my previous mini study of baking soda/ACV cleansing. If you are only lightly oiling on occasion and washing your hair daily as required in this method then maybe your result will be different.

Can this method damage my hair?

Generally, I’m not in favor of daily washing; as it introduces the hair to a lot of handling wear and tear. Additionally, there is one study that has linked prolonged hair wetness to damaging the inner cuticle cement that holds the cuticle layers together. However, many people are able to daily wash and still continuously grow long hair, so you have to analyze the long term effects for yourself.

Each cuticle is made up of several layers
Each cuticle layer is ‘glued’ with a fat layer/cuticle cement in yellow

Does hair really get more hydrated than normal with the max hydration method?

There is no study done to show the level of water in the hair before and after the max hydration method. Ultimately, hair has a limited amount of water that it can accept and it will generally reach this limit within 15 minutes of immersion in water. I do not believe that hair gets more hydrated, but what I think is possible is that the moisture levels in hair are not allowed to drop far down and balance out with humidity. The hair is almost constantly surrounded by water with a regular washing cycle combined with the use of a leave in conditioner and gel layer to further prevent moisture loss between the cycles. 

Are there any downsides?

If you are lazy like I am, this method is not for you. You have to be ready to spend quite a bit of time washing your hair and if necessary, overnight conditioning, steaming and the baggy method can come into play. I do not have the will to sit with conditioner on my head for more than 10 minutes, so count me out. However if playing with your hair for hours is your thing……this method will give you satisfaction.

What about shrinkage and long hair, will it still work?

This method requires you to embrace your shrinkage fully. This is generally true for curl enhancing methods. I have not seen anyone with particularly long hair use the method, so I cannot tell you how well it works for long 4c naturals. Here is Pinke’s own video, she has longer hair than Ms. Dee Kay

Here is another video from Protective Princess who was suggested as a long 4c natural by Pinke. She discusses in depth shrinkage, knotting, tangling and curl clumping.

So will you be trying the max hydration method?