Today’s guest post is by Judith, a fellow Harvard alum and long-term transitioner, so show her some love!
Remember the popular Drake parody “Wash N Go’s Don’t Work On Nappy Hair” on YouTube? Well, according to the Maximum Hydration Method, it CAN work. To get a curl pattern, you simply have to follow a multi-step process to achieve it…
But wait, what happened to 4c hair not having a natural curl pattern, and that being okay? What of the movement to embrace 4c hair as it “naturally” is – clump-free and all?
If you’re even somewhat involved in the online hair community, you have probably heard about the Maximum Hydration Method and how it has been sweeping the natural hair community by storm. In short, the Maximum Hydration Method, or MHM, touts the steps recommended to achieve maximally hydrated hair.
It is mostly targeted at those with type 4c low porosity hair because of the belief that such hair types have the most difficulty holding and keeping moisture. In fact, the creator of MHM – Pinke Cube of BlackHairMedia.com, argues that the reason why some naturals have trouble creating clumped uniformed curls is due to the lack of moisture. Now, this thought is not without some controversy as it has many implications for what desirable healthy hair is supposed to look like, especially among type 4c naturals who struggle to fit the archetype.
Some believe that the MHM feeds into the natural hair hierarchy or hairtype desirability; there is no secret that looser hair patterns receive more love in the natural hair community than tighter/nonexistent curl patterns, as evidenced by the types of natural hair blogs and YouTubers who seem to get the most support, or even the types of “kinky-curly” weaves we tend to buy. Even among those with the kinkier hair types, many of us seem to be biased against hair that cannot clump or hold a curl. Does the MHM provide us a legitimate excuse in the form of “maximum hydration” to seek out clumped curly hair without shame of “betraying” ourselves as proud nappy naturals?
And then there are some of us who do see the health benefits of MHM: moisture. How can one debate with that? Moisture is a good thing in the natural hair community. MHM is not a method directing you to put damaging heat or chemicals to “tame” your natural tresses. Rather, it is positioning you in the best possible way to receive the most moisture into your delicate strands, because without moisture, our hair is more likely to experience breakage, which is universally unacceptable across all hair types. Therefore, MHM is about hair health, and it just so happens that clumping is a visible effect and marker.
So what are the real implications of MHM for 4c natural hair?
Is the fact that it is so popular among type 4 naturals an indication of internalized bias against kinky hair? Or could it be that we just want healthy hair even if it takes us a bazillion steps to reach there? Which is it and what does it mean for those of us with puffy clouds of hair with no visible curl pattern on a healthy hair journey?