Now let's skip ahead a month into the school year. My hair was taking a beat-ing! I fell off my summer regimen and fell back into the trap of braiding, heavy manipulation, and product buildup. The mess that got me searching for the Curly Girl Method in the first place was slowly making its way back into my life.
Desperate for a solution, I looked back into the Maximum Hydration Method (which was starting to gain popularity). After doing some heavy research (and I mean heavy research!) I realized that this method wasn't as bad as I had earlier anticipated. From what I've learned, this method was a stricter Curly Girl Method for type 4, low porosity naturals- two things I both acquired. Once I collected all my items, I was prepared to take on the Max Hydration Method!
*Note: Days are referred to how many times one completes the whole 5 step cycle. On the site, they recommend not to exceed three day without completing a full cycle. So with that in mind, a seven day cycle took me almost two weeks to complete.*
Pre-Pre-Step: Shampoo for the last time!
One step I think the Max Hydration Method missed is clarifying with shampoo before starting the method. Whenever one starts a CG Friendly regimen, it's always important to clarify with shampoo for the last time to remove silicones and any excess buildup. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), baking soda, clay, and conditioner do NOT remove silicones and grease from one's hair. With that in mind, I use Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo to remove any excess buildup and to start off on a clean slate.
Pre-Step: Cherry Lola Caramel Treatment (1 hr)
The preparatory step for this method involves a Cherry Lola Caramel Treatment. Although it sounds delicious, I would not recommend eating it! One completes this step once every two weeks or however often as one pleases. I completed this step once and left it on my hair for an hour before rinsing. My recipe goes as follows:
- 2 cups of Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp of avocado
- 1 tbsp of honey
- 1 tbsp of molasses
- 1 tbsp of ACV
- 1 tbsp of baking soda
Now although they recommended adding bananas and soy aminos, I did not add bananas to my mixture because bananas always have a way of attaching themselves to my kinks and ain't nobody got time fa dat! As for the aminos... If I can't find multiple uses for a product, then I don't buy it.
The reason I quoted "clarify" is because Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and baking soda (BS) do not really clarify the hair. Read this article to understand why. On the other hand, both can remove light buildup but can not break down oils or silicones. Anyways, I was pretty skeptical about using baking soda on my hair because of the high pH and the unknown long term damage it might inflict. But, after reading PinkeCube's stance on the whole matter here and doing my own research, I realized that baking soda could actually benefit my hair. I found it interesting that we address high porosity problems by using ACV to close the cuticles but what if one has low porosity? How do we address that? In any occasion, one can use either an ACV rinse (1:1 ratio of ACV and water) or a baking soda rinse as I chose to do. My recipe goes as follows:
- 1 tbsp of baking soda
- 1 tbsp of honey
- 7 oz of water
For this multipurpose step, I alternated between Tresseme Naturals and Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner. Although they recommend that one dilutes the conditioner if it's too thick, I rarely did.
After rinsing the ACV/BS rinse, I greenhoused with the conditioner over night by layering a satin bonnet and a beanie over a plastic cap.
In the morning after I rinsed out the deep conditioner, I applied my clay wash for 15 minutes while I took a shower, brushed my teeth, and did other miscellaneous activities to pass time. For this step I used Redmond Bentonite Clay I purchased at Whole Foods because I couldn't get my hands on the popular Aztec Bentonite Clay that everyone uses. My recipe goes as followed:
- 1 cup betonite clay
- 1 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- 2.5 cups of warm water
- 3 tbsp of ACV
Step 4 & 5: Leave In and Gel
After rinsing out the clay, I then applied a leave in of choice (I bought Giovanni Direct Weightless Leave In but I didn't like it because it was too light so I switched to using Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner as my leave in) followed with my homemade flaxseed gel. My recipe for my flaxseed gel goes as followed:
- 1/3 cup of flaxseeds (I preferred a thicker mixture but if you want a lighter hold, use 1/4 a cup of flaxseeds)
- 2 cups of water
Boil the flaxseeds until they create a mucus-like film and then drain in a container (I used a cut pantyhose to drain the gel). After I let it cool, I transferred the contents to a empty soap pump that I purchased at the dollar store so it would be less messy to apply to my hair.