By Hadassah Agbaps - August 09, 2014

My hair after using the Tightly Curly Method

Hi people, what's been on?

So the new buzz in curl definition is a method called the Maximum Hydration Method  which claims to define curls in hair with no visible curl definition such as Type 4 hair and hair with low porosity ( which makes it hard to keep the strands moisturised so products just sit).
In summary, for 7 days, you consistently infuse moisture into your hair morning and night.
For a lot of naturals dreading wash day, this seems like a lot of work. It may or may not be so depending on your hair and your current regimen.

So the question on most Nigerian naturals' minds is will it work???
Almost everyone seems to come up with one method or product that promises to define curls, abi?

There are about three popular methods for defining curls. We have the
- Curly Girl Method
- Tightly Curly Method and now
- Maximum Hydration Method

(P.S. Click on headings below for regimen directions)


This method of curl definition was developed by Lorraine Massey and shared in her book
Curly Girl: The Handbook. The basic principle was to eliminate silicones, petroleum products, sulfates and heat which we all agree causes more harm than good to our fragile curly hair.
So to eliminate sulfates, shampoos are not used at all. The hair is cleansed using a silicone free conditioner only such as VO5 Conditioners, Suave Naturals, Jessicurl Too Shea, Kenra, Tresemme Naturals etc.
 Leave In Conditioners or gels should never contain sulfates, silicones, alcohols, petrolatum, mineral oil and its derivatives. Suggestions include Kinky Curly Knot Today, Giovanni Direct Leave In etc. Gels include Ecostyler gels, Fantasia IC Hair Polisher, Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper and Kinky Curly Curling Custard.

PROS: This method worked because it eliminated products which coat the hair and prevents it from absorbing moisture. With the prevalence of junk petroleum and sulfate ridden products in the Nigerian market, this method helped start my hair on a healthy hair diet.
You can still follow your usual regimen...the only thing that really changes is skipping the shampoo step.
No heat means you avoid heat damage.

CONS: The downside to this method was overconditioning so my hair became mushy and too soft. There was also buildup due to the emoillents in the conditioner and the presence of hard water. So I modified it by clarifying with shampoo once a month.
No heat meant I couldn't have the option of straight hair if I wanted.....and freedom was why I stayed natural.

Does it work on Nigerian hair?
Yes it does. I noticed my curls weren't as tight as I thought they were and my curls popped. I noticed the same in textures different from mine. However finding the CG friendly products was another matter.
If your hair is very tightly coiled, it may not improve curl definition but will definitely keep it feeling softer and less stripped.


This method was developed by Teri LaFlesh and is shared in her book Curly Like Me. Her method is similar to the Curly Girl Method in that you use mainly a conditioner. It is different in that,
- you are allowed to use a shampoo but a sulfate free one. You can cowash if you prefer.
-there's a lot of combing/brushing with loads of conditioner (in CG method, fingerdetangling is almost exclusively)
-it isn't compulsory to trim your hair (it is in CG) and you can use moderate heat with a diffuser to dry your hair.
- no gel
The technique involves applying loads of conditioner to hair cleansed with a sulfate free shampoo or cowash and combing it through from tips to roots until the hair clumps visibly and the conditioner disappears.
To avoid damage from combing or brushing you need a conditioner that is thick with loads of slip. Teri refers to them as 'combing' conditioners. Recommendations includes Alaffia Coconut and Shea Daily Hydrating Conditioner, Aveeno Nourish and Shine Conditioner, Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Conditioner, Aussie Moist Conditioner, Tresemme conditioner.
Recommended brush is the Denman brush. However I have used a shower detangling brush with good results. The point is the brush should have very smooth bristles and be well spaced. It allows the hair to clump beautifully.

Does it work on Nigerian hair?
I'd say it might if your hair has some degree of porosity. If your hair has low porosity, the conditioner will just sit on top of your hair.

Does it define curls?
 Yes it does. My type 4b/c hair began to look like type 4a. However if you are in a constant battle with shrinkage, it can shrink your hair tremedously. My almost waist length hair shrunk to a small afro though I had lovely lovely curls.

Just two products are needed. Your cleanser of choice and a combing conditioner. No gels or even oils are necessary which I like so much.
The hair curls up nicely, feels soft to touch and isn't frizzy. No cruchiness like when you use a gel.

Oh my gosh!!! It takes time! My hand was in my hair for 45mins straight as I kept combing and brushing.

I don't like being wet for long so I had to comb outside the bathroom which was a bit messy as globs of conditioner were dropping everywhere.

If you have fine hair like mine, you will dread the comb or the brush. My hair is too fragile to keep brushing.
Surprisingly, I had little breakage but did see a lot of shed hairs....probably due to fingerdetangling almost exclusively.

If your hair is very thick, coily with low porosity,the conditioner may not provide enough hold to keep your coils in place.

If used on children, I don't think they have the patience for all the combing....not because it hurts but because of the time it takes to comb and separate clumped sections.

It's not my favorite method but like the CG method it can fit into your once a month or bi weekly regimen.


This method was developed by Pinke Cube a member of Black Hair Media. I first got to know about it on and then read a summary on TheKinkandI.

We all know how soft and curly our hair is when freshly washed and how it disappears when it is dry right?!
Well this method is designed to infuse the hair with so much moisture that it hardly has a dry moment.
For 7 consecutive days you clarify and condition in the morning and before bed.
It is similar to the CG method because you'll avoid products with sulfates, petroleum derivatives, silicones and alcohols which dries out the hair. In addition, you also avoid products with emulsified oils, aloe vera gel/juice and glycerine because they dry out some naturals' hair.

The night before, you clarify with baking soda (if you have low porosity hair) or with Apple Cider Vinegar ( if you have high porosity hair). Then you deep condition your hair and apply a shower cap overnight.
In the morning, you rinse out the conditioner, apply a clay treatment such as bentonite or rhassoul clay, wait for 15mins then rinse out. You then apply your leave in conditioner and seal with a gel.
If you shower early in the morning and again in the evening, this shouldn't be tedious unless you come back home dead tired!
 Since you detangled the night before with the D.C. you should have less tangles by morning which improves within the 7 days of the regimen.

Recommended leave ins available in Nigeria include Kinky Curly Knot Today, Jessicurl Deep Treatment, Kinky Curly Tiny Twirls, Giovanni Direct Leave In.

Recommended gels are Kinky Curly Curling Custard, Giovanni L.A. Natural Styling Gel, Flaxseed gel, CurlyGirl Silky Custard.

 For a DIY gel check here.
Source: here

So will it work for Nigerian hair?
I should think so because the reason our Nigerian natural hair is dry is because we don't moisturise our hair enough.
Seriously, I see improvements in texture and softness of clients' hair at the salon when they come regularly for their D.C., clay treatments and pH balancing treatments in addition to using recommended moisture balancing products at home.
Assuming these treatments are done daily, I will agree that maximum hydration will be reached faster and once it has been attained, hair care from then on will be easier.

My hair is well hydrated that is why with little effort my curls pop. Whenever it gets dry from being in a protective style, I follow a similar regimen with overnight D.C. and gentle cleansing to get it back on track.

The Maximum Hydration Method is worth a try if it is difficult to keep your hair moisturised.

-You get to use good quality natural hair ingredients with little chemicals in them.
- Your hair is kept in a moisturised state which improves the health of your hair.
-Daily detangling helps remove shed hair and makes the hair easier to manage in the long run.

-The constant daily manipulation may wear out your hair increasing breakage especially for fine porous hair. Let's not forget hygral fatigue from constant expansion and contraction  of the hair fibre.
-It is time consuming. If you are a working mother, this routine can be hard to pull off. MsDeeKay has some suggestions on how to make it easier.
-Products recommended can not only be hard to get but are expensive.

So there you have it!
The common curl defining methods in use and their feasibility in Nigeria and on Nigerian natural hair.

The summary of all the methods are
- use the right pH balanced products for your hair
- moisture, moisture, moisture
- keep those curls together


If you've tried any of the methods listed, don't hesitate to share!

Till I spill again,
Live Beautifully. Naturally.

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  1. Thanks for the post, I recently tried the maximum hydration but I cannot keep up with doing it for 7 days straight. My hair did get soft, a little on the mushy side and my curls did pop but I did not like the shrinkage that accompanies it. I might try it again in the future. I cant wait to try the curly girl method.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience with the MHM, Awa. Seems your hair became overhydrated! Try a light protein treatment with youghurt.
      I agree that 7 days washing may be a bit much. My lil tip is you can try a modified Curly Girl Method as your normal regimen then do the Maximum Hydration Method once a month just to maintain moisture levels.

  2. Thanks for all the info on one page! I always wanted to know a summary of all these methods. They seem like a lot of work though, mainly cos of all the hair wetting. Maybe when I'm fully natural it won't seem like work but for a transitioner like me wet hair makes me heave deep sighs ( and that's just once or twice a week for me sef)

    1. You're welcome. I'm glad I was able to help.
      Lol! You're hydrophobic too....yay! Happy not to be!
      Maybe when you're fully natural, you'd have figured a way to combine the three methods while minimizing 'wet hair' time.

  3. Heck no. All this work because of what? Don't worry, my curls don't need to pop. By the time you walk outside, the sun will take care of that moisture anyway.

    Tenks but no tenks!

  4. I'm considering cowashing till the end of the year to see how my hair likes it. I will clarify monthly and do acv rinses weekly to reduce buildup. I nominated you for Sunshine Blogger Award. Here's the link to the post Enjoy!

  5. This was very helpful and informative πŸ™ŒπŸΎπŸ™ŒπŸΎ


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