Max Hydration Method for Natural Hair went into great detail about the benefits of the Max Hydration Method and the best ways to incorporate it into your hair care regimen.
This article has been updated for 2023 with even more approved max hydration method products.
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The Max Hydration Method is a fantastic treatment for high porosity hair and helps you achieve curl definition on your hair.
However, in order for this system to work effectively, there are some ingredients you should avoid.
If you’re new to the Max Hydration Method, read the Max Hydration Method for Natural Hair before you read this article.
In addition to the Max Hydration Method ingredients to avoid, we will also cover the best products for each step of the regimen.
Max Hydration Method Ingredients to Avoid
The reason why you have to avoid these ingredients is because they have the potential to dry out hair and prevent hair from retaining moisture.
1. Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein/Peptides
This ingredient can dry out high porosity hair and type 4 hair. At the start of the regimen, it’s best to avoid this ingredient in your products.
2. Panthenol/Pro-Vitamin B5
Panthenol/pro-vitamin B5 causes build up and act like protein.
3. TEA (Triethanolamine)
I’ve covered this in a few previous articles. This is a drying alcohol that can wear down the hair strands after long-term use especially if it’s a product you leave-in your hair all day or overnight.
Ingredients with similar properties include MEA, DEA, etc.
4. Mineral Oil and Petroleum Jelly
Clogs the scalp and causes build up. It is also annoying to remove from hair without using a strong clarifying shampoo, which strips hair completely of moisture.
A similar but much healthier alternative is natural butters or products with natural butters as a base such as:-
For more natural butter options and recipes, check out Healthy Hair Care Series Book 5, Natural Butters for Hair: A Guide for Creating Recipes for Healthy Hair.
Silicones have their place in hair care when you want to flat iron or blow dry your hair.
However, repeated use in the long term will cause build up and prevent moisture from getting into the hair shaft, which means it can only be removed with a clarifying shampoo.
This is aka quart 4 salts and is another version of silicones, which dries out hair in the long term.
Commonly found in shampoos. They strip and dry out hair over time. This is counterproductive for the Max Hydration Method.
The common alcohols found in products – cetyl alcohols and stearyl alcohols are fine but other alcohols like isopropyl and ethanol alcohols can be drying to the hair.
Take a close look at the ingredients in your products before purchase. The lower the ingredient is on the list, the lower the amount of it contained in the product.
The first five ingredients are the most important to note. If one or more of the no-no ingredients are in the top 5, it’s best to avoid the product.
Below are recommendations for the best products to buy for each step of the max hydration method as well as links to where to buy these products:-
Approved Max Hydration Method Products
Max Hydration Method Step 1 – Clarifying
The clarifying process cleanses your hair and removes any impurities and build up in preparation for the rest of the steps.
A great brand of baking soda for this step is Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda.
If using baking soda throws off the pH balance of your scalp and causes itching, then switch to Castile soap and deep conditioner mixed with rose water instead.
More on this in the step by step instructions for practicing the Max Hydration Method HERE.
Max Hydration Method Step 2 – Cowashing Conditioners
These conditioners can also be used in diluted form as leave-in conditioners but dilute heavily if you decide to use them for step 4.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearalkonium Chloride, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice(Aloe Vera Juice), Honeyquat (Honey), Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Powder, Urtica Dioica ( Nettle) Leaf Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (Natural Detangling Agent), Silk Amino Acids(Natural protein), Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, (Eucalyptus) Globulus Leaf Oil, Phenoxyethanol ,Caprylyl Glycol , Sorbic Acid, Orbignya Oleifera Seed (Babassu) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Caramel, Herbal and Botanical Blend
Ingredients: Purified Water, Organic Aloe Vera Juice, Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Unrefined Shea Butter, BTMS (Emulsifier) Cetrimonium Chloride (Conditioner), Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B), Guar Gum, Citric Acid, Optiphen (Paraben Free Preservative), Fragrance and Inner Beauty.
Ingredients: Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Leaf Extract, Melissa Officinalis (Melissa) Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Yucca Leaf Extract, Rosa Mosqueta (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Theobroma Grandiflorum (Cupuaçu) Seed Butter, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Vanilla Planifolia Oil, Cananga Odorata Oil, Lecithin, Fragrance, Citric Acid.
Ingredients: Aqua (purified water) with *rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) oil, *nettle (Uritica dioica) oil, *thyme (Thymus vulagris) oil, birch leaf (Butela alba) oil, *chamomile (Anthemis nobilus flower) oil, *clary (Salvia sclarea), *lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), *coltsfoot leaf (Tussilago farfara), *yarrow (Achillea millefolium) oil, *mallow (Malva sylvestris), *horsetail (Equistetum arvense) oil, *soybean protein (Glycine soja), cetyl alcohol (plant derived), stearalkonium chloride
Ingredients: Water, *Tea Tree Oil, *Peppermint Oil, *Eucalyptus Oil, *Nettle Oil, *Thyme Oil, Birch Leaf Oil, *Chamomile Oil, *Clary, *Coltsfoot Leave, *Yarrow Oil, *Mallow, *Horsetail Oil, *Soybean Protein, Cetyl Alcohol (Plant Derived), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Trace Minerals, Citric Acid (Corn), Sodium Hydroxymethglycinate, Grapefruit Seed (Citrus Derived)
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice Powder, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Laurus Nobilis (Bay Laurel) Leaf Extract, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Leaf Extract, Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Althea Officinalis (Marshmallow) Root Extract, Origanum Vulgare (Oregano) Leaf Extract, Cymbopogon Flexuosus (Lemongrass) Extract, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Leaf Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Lecithin, Cinnamal, Citral, Eugenol, Geraniol, Citronellol, Limonene, Linalool, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua) infused with Equisetum Maximum Lam (Horsetail), Mentha Piperita (Peppermint), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary), Laurus Nobilis (Bay Leaf), Ocimum Basilicum (Basil), Arctium Lappa (Burdock Root), Althaea Officinalis (Marshmallow Root), Origanum Vulgare (Oregano), Cymbopogon Flexuosus (Lemongrass), Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme), Salvia Officinalis (Sage) and Urtica Dioica (Nettle); Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour, Soy Lecithin, Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate OLD INGREDIENTS: Water infused with Lemongrass, Nettle, Burdock, Kelp, Marshmallow Root, Horsetail, Basil, Bay leaf, Oregano, Rosemary, Peppermint, Sage and Thyme, Aloe Vera Juice, Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Avocado Oil, Letchin, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour, Fragrance, Propylene Glycol (and) Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua) infused with Equisetum Maximum Lam (Horsetail), Mentha Piperita (Peppermint), Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary), Laurus Nobilis (Bay Leaf), Ocimum Basilicum (Basil), Arctium Lappa (Burdock Root), Althaea Officinalis (Marshmallow Root), Origanum Vulgare (Oregano), Cymbopogon Flexuosus (Lemongrass), Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme), Salvia Officinalis (Sage) and Urtica Dioica (Nettle); Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour, Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.
Ingredients: Mangifera indica (mango) fruit extract* ulmus fulva (slippery elm) extract, althaea officinalis (marshmallow) root extract, cymbopogon schoenanthus (lemongrass), cetyl alcohol, behentrimonium methosulfate, citric acid, phenoxyethanol
Ingredients: Organic mango extract, organic slippery elm, organic marshmallow root, organic lemongrass, cetyl alcohol, behentrimonium methosulfate, citric acid, phenoxyethanol, and natural fragrance.
Ingredients: Distilled water, Cetearyl Alcohol, BTMS (mild emulsifier), 100% Unrefined Shea Butter, 100% Organic Coconut Oil, Cupuacu Butter, Calendula Extract, Chamomile Extract, Organic Raw Honey, Paraben Free Preservative, Fragrance (Phthalate Free)
Ingredients: Distilled Water Botanically Infused with Certified Organic Blue Malva, Nettle, Horsetail, Slippery Elm, Oatstraw, Chamomile, Coltsfoot & Marshmallow Root, Certified Organic Aloe Juice, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Flaxseed Gel, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Cocoa Butter, Broccoli Seed Oil, Crambe Seed Oil, Pro-Vitamin B5, Guar Gum, Algae, Coconut Nectar, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Natural, Fragrant & Essential Oil Blends, Potassium Sorbate, Black Willowbark Extract, Citric Acid, an extra pouring of soulistic flava & LOVE!
Max Hydration Method Step 3 – Bentonite Clay
The clay step in the max hydration method detoxifies the hair and scalp and enhances curl clumping.
Max Hydration Method Step 4 – Leave-in Conditioners
The leave-in conditioner step of the max hydration method aids detangling and promotes continuous moisture and hydration in hair.
Ingredients: Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Garcinia Indica (Kokum) Seed Butter, Butylene Glycol, Rosa Canina Fruit (Rosehip Seed) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Allantoin, Melissa Officinalis (Melissa) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Leaf Extract, Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Leaf Extract, Yucca Leaf Extract, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lecithin, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.
Ingredients: Aqua (purified water), *aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, *helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, *glycine soja (soybean) seed extract, *betula alba (birch) extract, *malva sylvestris (mallow) extract, *achillea millefolium extract, *chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, *equisetum arvense extract, *lavandula angustifolia (lavender) extract, *rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, *salvia sciarea (clary) extract, *thymus vulgaris (thyme) extract, *tussilago farfara (coltsfoot) flower extract, *urtica dioca (nettle) extract, citrus grandis (grapefruit) extract, cetyl alcohol, tocopherol (vitamin E), Panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), citric acid, phenoxyethanol, natural fragrance. *Certified Organic
Ingredients: Organic mango extract, organic slippery elm, organic marshmallow root, organic lemongrass, cetyl alcohol, behentrimonium methosulfate, citric acid, phenoxyethanol, and natural fragrance.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua, Eau), Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Orbignya Oleifera (Babassu) Oil, Mauritia Flexuosa (Buriti) Fruit Oil, Copaiferi Officinalis (Balsam Copaiba) Resin, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharinum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract, Betaine, Hexylene Glycol, Honey (Mel, Miel), Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Hexapeptide-11, Citric Acid, Fragrance (Parfum), Phenoxyethanol, Benzoic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycereth-2 Cocoate.
Max Hydration Method Step 5 – Hair Gels
Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe Vera) Gel, (Agave) Tequilana Stem Nectar, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary), Leaf Extract, Fragrance (Parfum), Color Additives, Botanical Blend.
Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Prunus Amygdalus (Almond Oil), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Fragrance (Parfum), Color additives, Botanical Blend Ingredients
Ingredients: Purified water, organic vodka, organic guar gum (natural plant based), organic sweet orange oil, organic lemongrass oil, organic olive oil, organic apple cider vinegar (raw, unfiltered), organic green tea, organic sage herb, organic bilberry leaf, xanthan gum (natural gum), organic patchouli oil, organic primrose oil, organic thyme oil, organic rosehip oil.
Ingredients: Chamomile (matricaria recutita) extract (aqueous), yarrow (achillea millefolium) extract (aqueous), Certified Fair Trade shea butter (butyrospermum parkii), aloe vera leaf gel (aloe barbadensis), agave nectar, panthenol, coconut oil, apricot fruit and ylang-ylang flower extracts, guar gum, xanthan gum, phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, citric acid.
Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis(aloe vera gel), deionized water, macadamia integrifolia (macadamia) seed oil, persea(avocado) gratissima seed oil, simmondsia (jojoba) chinensis seed oil, prunus (sweet almond) dulcis oil, ricinus (castor) communis seed oil, behenetrimonium methosulfate and cetearyl alcohol(BTMS), camellia (green tea) sinensis, ulmus (slippery elm) eulva, ascorbic (vitamin C) acid, tocopherol (vitamin e), d-panthenol, phenoxyethanol/caprylyl glycol(optiphen), sorbic acid, scent.
Ingredients: Botanical extracts of horsetail, marshmallow root, neem leaf, nettle leaf, olive leaf and slippery elm root in purified water, organic green tea extract, aloe vera, agave nectar, pectin, lavender, lemon, and lime essential oils, natural fragrance.
Ingredients: Aqua (Purified Water), VP/VA Copolymer, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Fragrance (Includes Essential Oils), *Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, *Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, *Betula Alba Extract, *Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) Extract, *Achillea Millefolium Extract, *Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, *Equisetum Arvense Extract, *Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, *Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Extract, *Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Extract, *Tussilago Farfara (Coltsfoot) Flower Extract, *Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract. *USDA certified organic.
Ingredients: Organic flaxseed, purified water, marshmallow root, Jojoba oil, organic olive oil, Natural Aloe Vera, Amla Brahmi, Panthenol, Calendula, Phenoxyethanol, witch hazel.
Ingredients: Botanical infusion of water, horsetail, chamomile, nettle and marshmallow, organic aloe vera juice, agave nectar extract, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), pectin, citric acid, potassium sorbate, and natural fragrances.
Ingredients: certified organic aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, certified organic pelargonium graveolens (geranium) essential oil, certified organic rosa rubiginosa (rosehip) seed oil, certified organic ethanol (sugar cane alcohol), Non-GMO Xanthan Gum, chondrus crispus (carrageenan) gum, organic fermented grain extract
Ingredients: Distilled Aqua, Organic Linum Usitatissimum (Flaxseed), Organic Urtica Dioica (Nettle Leaf), Organic Althaea Officinalis (Marshmallow Root), Organic Ulmus Rubra (Slippery Elm Bark), Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sodium Lactate, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Organic Agave Nectar, Pro Vitamin B5, Lactobacillus Ferment, Phthalate-free Fragrance, Xanthan Gum, Organic Irish Moss (Carrageenan) Chondrus Crispus.
Ingredients: Distilled Water, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Sodium Carbomer, Castor Oil, Vegetable Glycerine, Stearylkonium Chloride, Olive Squalane, Centrimonium Chloride, Pthalate-Free Fragrance, Gluconodeltalactone, Sodium Benzoate, an extra scoop of soulistic flava and LOVE!
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Polyquaternium-69, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Panthenol, Polyquaternium-11, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Alcohol.
You can also make your own gels with a variety of ingredients shared in the following related articles:-
- 4 Homemade Hair Gel Recipes for Natural Hair
- Best Tips for Homemade Hair Gel for Natural Hair
- 10 Benefits of Homemade Gel for Natural Hair
Ingredients: Deionized Water, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (BTMS) Cetearyl Alcohol, Prunus Dulcis (Almond) Milk, Prunus Dulcis (Almond) Oil, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia (Macadamia Nut) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Ulmus Fulva Bark Extract (Slippery Elm), Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil/Hydrogenated, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Honey, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbic Acid, Scent and Love!
Ingredients: Deionized water, behentrimonium methosulfate and cetearyl alcohol, persea gratissima (avocado) oil, oryza sativa (rice) bran oil, aloe barbadensis leaf, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, ternifolia (macadamia nut) seed oil, sorbitol, camellia (green tea) sinensis leaf, oryza sativa (rice) milk, rosa canina (rose hip) seed oil, cetearyl alcohol, ceteareth 20, slippery elm (ulmus fulva) bark, phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, sorbic acid, scent and love!
Ingredients: Organic Aloe Juice infused with Organic Marshmallow Root, Argan Oil, Castor Seed Oil, Shea Butter, Manuka Honey, Behentrimonium Menthosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Lauric Acid, Beeswax, Carnauba Wax, Cetrimonium Chloride, Cellulose Gum, Ginger Extract, Phenoxyethanol Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Citric Acid, Fragrance
Where To Buy Max Hydration Method Products?
If you live outside the US/UK/Canada areas, you might have a challenge getting a lot of these products. In this case, I highly recommend:-
All the options above offer low prices and competitive shipping fees.
Max Hydration Method: Before & After
Below is a video collage of my results as well as some other great videos showing the Max Hydration Method on various hair types:-
If you have any questions about trying out the max hydration method, ask them in the comments section.
Abi is a curly hair expert, researcher, product tester, and author of the highly-rated Healthy Hair Care Series. She is also the founder of Ade Ori Hair Care, Healthy Natural Hair Products, and Natural Oils for Hair & Beauty. HNHP has strict editorial standards and ensures all the information on Healthy Natural Hair Products is the best for natural hair care. Learn more about our Editorial Policies
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