If you haven’t been playing along, I took the Maximum Hydration Method 7 Day Challenge (click here to learn more about MHM), and had some really amazing results so far on Day One & Two. The only problem was the frizz factor was worse than I’d hoped it would be, although the weather was pretty humid the entire time. For the most part the first three steps stayed the same, with the exception of toggling Step One’s clarifying rinse between diluted apple cider vinegar (ACV) and the option 2 baking soda rinse. Steps 4 & 5 gave me the most trouble, and took the longest time, so this is where I experimented the most. For these next few days I’ll only be highlighting the differences in my methods. For a complete rundown on each of the steps check out my Day One & Two posts.
I can safely say that using a spray bottle to apply the rinse is the easiest and most effective method. Each application uses about 4 ounces.
Instead of adding warm water, I chose to pour just boiled water (after I made some mid-morning tea, of course) into a mug and let the applicator bottle sit in there for five minutes.
This is when I started sectioning my hair differently. Instead of thinking about my hair in sections (left, right, crown) I thought of it in layers from the nape of my neck to the front of my head. It took FOREVER. I also decided to rinse these sections out individually, and roll them into little buns in the shower. The clay can be hard to rinse out, and this helped me make sure I was getting it really clean.
Remember when I was complaining about how the clay made my hair feel? By Day Three I’d begun looking forward to it. Because curly hair strands are naturally ridged, it is not actually supposed to feel smooth.
These are the steps where I’d been breaking the MHM ingredients rules. Miss Jessie’s Leave-in Condish actually contains denatured alcohols, which are drying. I picked up a bottle of Curls brand Blueberry Bliss Leave-in Brûlée, which doesn’t have any of the MHM no-no ingredients, but I stuck with Miss Jessie’s Multicultural Curls as my definer. MHM is a very hands-on process which calls for you to detangle and style with your fingers. My hair is pretty long, so pulling the product through to the ends is quite the workout on my arms. I took breaks. The definition of the curl comes from these steps. While you might have heard of Ouidad’s rake and shake method (pull each section, shake it, and release it), others might call it shingling. I like this term better, because it is more accurate. I like thinking of each section as shingles on a roof.
These pictures were taken before my hair was completely dry, which is why my roots look so much darker (also I need to get my hair color updated). I will say, that I did have a halo of frizz by the end of the day, and my hair felt sticky. I’m pretty sure it came from the new leave-in, so abandoned it, and decided to buy the products recommended by the creators of MHM.
Knot Today Leave-In & Kinky Curl Coiling Gel. I ordered them on Amazon, so it’ll take two days for them to arrive. Still, the results were enough to push me to the next day.
This time I decided to dilute Miss Jessie’s Leave-in Condish, according to the rules.
Today I got my eyebrows done at Ulta’s Benefit Brow Bar. I let the waxer fill in my eyebrows, which is always a little strange when I’m not wearing any other makeup.
You can see the frizz really well in the pictures, but this is the day that I realized I could separate my curls without losing the definition. From everything I’m reading the frizz comes from the curls clumping together. Despite the frizz, I’m still pretty stoked about how far up my hair is curling. In some places it’s all the way up to my scalp which usually doesn’t happen even after a professional Ouidad style.
Ugh by this day I’m so ready for this to be over. As much as I love the results, all the rinsing and application of products is incredibly time consuming. I am seriously not the kind of girl who spends so much time on her hair. Not to mention that even by the end of Day 4 I’m still getting more frizz than I’m happy with. If I have to choose between a better defined curl, and frizz, I’d gladly choose the pretty curls, but after all this work I really hope that I’m getting more than that.
Knot Today- diluted as per proper instructions
Kinky curl custard
I really don’t like the Kinky Curl Custard. It dries up as soon as it touches my hair, which I’ve read is simply casting the shell to hold the curl. I haven’t used a gel in a really long time, so I forget how my hair responds to it, but I’m pretty sure it’s never been like this. It leaves my hair brittle to the touch and crunchy for the entire drying process, but the curl definition is incredible. Once it’s completely dry, all I have to do is scrunch and separate. Even the frizz is better managed today.
This time I decided to try the conditioning overnight. It wasn’t a hair thing. It was a time thing. I had places to be on Saturday, and the entire process is easier when all you have to do is the clay rinse and the styling.
Kinky Curl Custard
This time I diluted the gel with water. The instructions didn’t say to do it, but after reading some of the reviews which claimed it works better for 3b hair when diluted, I decided to give it a shot. I also thought that my hair might be rebelling against the way I’m trying to combat the years of parting my hair down the middle. So I went for a side part. This was a mistake. I hate the way my hair falls in my face, so I’m constantly touching it. We all know that anything rubbing against curls may as well be a latex balloon.
I took these shots after being at a BBQ all day. You can see my hair has held up pretty well even with all the grabbing I did. Still I don’t love the way the gel feels in my hair, even diluted. The gel casts so quickly I don’t get a whole lot of time to style or place the curl. My hair does curl all the way to the tip now, and it feels much healthier. It doesn’t shake all in one clump. Day Two was definitely my best hair day so far, but considering the weather, that’s not the fairest assessment.
By the end of Day Six, though, I’m ready for this to be over. Seven days is a long commitment to spend so much time on my hair. I’ve thought about giving up so many times, but day by day I’m am watching my coils change for the better. Would I do it all over again? Well you’ll have to wait until my next post to find out!
In my next post I’ll recap the MHM Seven Day Challenge, deliver the verdict on whether or not is was worth the trouble, and post side by side shots of Day 0 and Day 7 so you can decide for yourself if the MHM Seven Day Challenge is right for you.
I decided to start the Maximum Hydration Method on a Friday to avoid having to worry about dropping my daughter off at school with a shower cap on. It was a LOT of work. I have pretty strict Monday-Friday rules for myself. I write a scene a day up front, and then I use whatever time I have until school pick-up for errands, or chores. I made sure I ran through my own usual process so I could fairly assess the before and after. I had an hour and half to gather all the ingredients, which included things that sounded hard to find like, Bentonite clay, and liquid aminos. Between Whole Foods and Harmon, I found every single thing at a $50 price tag when all was said and done. Well, I did flub a bit on the applicator bottles. Why did I think 4 oz travel bottles would work? Probably because I was rushing. If I had to do it again, I would have prepped by hanging onto empty conditioner/shampoo bottles. Luckily I did have a couple hanging about, and the applicator tips from my too-small bottles fit them. I could have saved about $10 by planning ahead.
Once all the ingredients were procured, and the kids were back home doing homework, I got to work.
MHM Step One: Detangle and Cherry Lola
The Cherry Lola Treatment is a strictly Day One product. Once the 7 day cycle is complete you’re free to repeat it as often as every two weeks. I used half of the recommended baking soda, because this is an intended abrasive, and other curly girls have reported a potential disruption of curl. I also added an entire TBSP of avocado, because I didn’t have a 3/4 TBSP and I figured it couldn’t hurt. Oh, yeah, and I got to eat the rest of the avocado! Bonus yum! In my house bananas don’t last long enough to become overripe, so, at the suggestion of one of my friends, I baked a plantain in the toaster oven at 300 for 30 minutes. It worked to achieve the consistency the Cherry Lola Treatment requires, but I can tell you, after frying up the other half, it wasn’t sweet. Still, a couple slices double fried made excellent tostones! Bonus yum 2!!
My favorite part was detangling my hair. I never do this on dry hair, because it stretches my curl straight. Not completely straight. It’s about as straight as you can get a sheet of paper after you’ve crumpled it into a small ball. No matter how hard you push or press, without heat, it will always have creases. The same holds true for my hair getting detangled by a comb. It was like watching the balloons inflate for The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The circumference of my hair was stupendous. I couldn’t help but to take a selfie break. This needed to be documented. I should also mention, seeing the magnitude of my mane was a bucket lister for my husband. Bonus Dreams Coming True!
I combined the ingredients easily into the Ninja Blender Large Carafe until it looked like a kale smoothie. I didn’t bother trying to pour it into an applicator bottle. Instead I took the pitcher into the bathroom, and scooped it out as I saturated my hair with it. Definitely messy!! Be prepared to clean the tub afterwards.
The first thing I’ll say is that my hair did NOT like this combination of being detangled, and then coated with goop. Some of it started to frizz rebelliously, and it felt like it would never feel completely wet. I just kept applying it root to tip until it was all one big mass that I could wind into a bun on the top of my head. I covered it with saran wrap, and used a bandana to cover the edges.
I stored the rest in a mason jar in the fridge. I think I have enough left for two more applications, but I’m not really sure how long this kind of mixture can be stored.
Meanwhile, I prepared and bottled the rest of the rinses. I decided that I’d alternate ACV rinses and the option 2 baking soda rinse. Both were easy to prep. I used an old leave-in conditioner bottle to store the option 2 baking soda rinse, and still had about 4 ounces left over. Well, well, well, travel-sized bottle. One of you has served a purpose. The ACV rinse is all liquid, so I stored it in a 6 oz bottle I found, which an applicator tip fit on perfectly. *Note* Since writing this I have already completed some of the MHM cycle, and have since learned that the best practice for this rinse is a spray bottle.
The clay rinse is slightly more complicated. If I’d bothered to read the directions more clearly, I would have seen the recommendation was to use an old 32 oz shampoo/conditioner bottle. It wouldn’t have mattered, because I didn’t have one of those, but I feel like I would’ve tried harder to source one. I mixed the conception in an old ricotta cheese container. It’s supposed to be a liquid consistency, but I left it a little gloppy. I figured I’d have to add water to it when I used it the next day, and would handle it in the moment.
Once all the products were prepped and bottled, I took some time to clean up. Then I cooked dinner.
It was over two hours later when I washed it off in the shower.
MHM Step Two: Deep Condition
The MHM Method offers you a few options here, all of which involve 2-3 ounces of conditioner mixed with 4-6 ounces of water in an applicator bottle. The difference in the options has to do with length of time to keep the conditioner in, and the temperature of the conditioner you use.
Option 1 is to apply the conditioner mixed with temperate water, to your soaking wet hair, and leave it in overnight under a shower cap.
Option 2 is to apply the conditioner mixed with warm water (or tea), and then sit under a steamer hood (if you have one) for 15 minutes.
Option 3 is the same as option 2, just without the steamer hood, under a shower cap for 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can sit in a hot shower and let that function as a heat source, but that may be a big wasteful for some folks.
I picked option 1 for Day One, just to give my hair the extra oomph. I mixed 4 ounces of water with 2 ounces of conditioner in an applicator bottle, and applied that to my still soaking wet hair after I’d turned the water off. I tried the saran wrap and bandana method, but it didn’t hold up to couch cuddling with my honey. I swapped it for my go-to overnight hair wrap from back when I was plopping my curls on the reg— the Curly Hair Tee. The recommendation is to seal in the heat with some kind of plastic shower cap, I think, but I couldn’t deal with it overnight.
Remember how I told you in the last post, how I chose the FaceValues Tea Tree Oil Conditioner? Before you run out and purchase it, let me first warn you that the ingredients DO include Tee Tree Oil and spearmint. Either of these ingredients will make your scalp tingle, but the combination is pretty intense. Personally, I didn’t find it to be horrible. In fact, since it’s allergy season, the aromas actually helped keep my sinuses clear, which I found to be a major plus. I could see others, particularly those with low pain tolerance, or sensitive scalps, being really uncomfortable with it. My husband did his best to tolerate my minty-fresh scent, but I know it wasn’t the most fun for him either.
Going to bed was NOT the end of Day One.
In the morning I rinsed the conditioner out of my hair. I’d read that the best method was to pour water over your hair with a pitcher. I tried it, and found that my hair was incredibly soft and easy to detangle with my fingers BUT I ended up using my detachable shower head to make sure it was all out of my hair. Either way, my back was very unhappy afterwards. Bending over for long periods of time stinks. Don’t forget to stretch!
MHM Step Three: Clay Rinse
I admit, this time I was also not paying much attention to the rules. Instead of thinning out the goopy clay mixture, I used the same scoop and saturate method I’d used with the Cherry Lola Treatment. Again, very messy. I vowed not to do that again, as I washed the tub after application. This was another back breaker too. the recommendation was to NOT pull it into a huge mass, but I didn’t listen to that either. It was so messy I couldn’t imagine being able to apply this AND try to coil it. A better solution was required. Either way I wrapped it into a shower cap and left it for 30 minutes, but 15 minutes is the minimum.
I rinsed this off in the shower. It was a little unnerving because my hair was so clean it was actually squeaky! I confess that I never let my hair feel like that, because it feels like it would get too dry, and then too frizzy. The other thing was how easy it was to detangle with my fingers. The squeaky feeling usually comes with extra tangly coils, but this was the exact opposite. Everything felt soft and clean. While I was still in the shower I separated and clipped my hair, starting from the nape of my neck, in sections. Part of my goal is to reshape the way my curls fall, so I could get rid of the part in my hair, so I chose to define these sections as Bottom Layer, left and right; left side; right side; crown, left and right; front of head.
MHM Step Four & Five Leave-in & Curl Define
This part is kind of tricky, because the mirrors are so steamy after a shower. Letting the hair clips full of hair drip, I toweled dry and got dressed, and opened the door to let the steam clear. This step is to apply your MHM approved Leave-in conditioner, and then your curl definer (whether it’s a gel or a cream) section by section. Do not apply the leave-in to your whole head, and then do the definer. I did this bent over for the two bottom sections, and the side sections. The crown section and the front of my head section I did while standing straight up (my back was killing me.
Let it dry. Don’t touch!
Letting it dry without touching it was so hard. I was dying to see the results! For one, the curls had started forming much closer to the root, and they were spiraling fully! I think I may have used more curl definer than I needed to out of habit, which is something I’ll need to work on. I think it would have been even softer to the touch had I toned it down. Even so, Day One of MHM gave me my one of the best hair days of the entire year. The weather was good for it too, no humidity or excessive heat. My husband said it looked like I’d come home from Ouidad, which is high praise. If this is it what Day One does, I can only imagine how this will look by Day Seven!!! What do you think?
In my next post I’ll take you through Day Two, the pitfalls and the successes, and we can both see what if there are any curl gains to be won!