Max Hydration NO NO Ingredients – MHM FAQ

Hi luvs,

Happy Wednesday :)  Today I would like to share some information concerning the ingredients we avoid in the Max Hydration Regimen AKA “NO NO Ingredients”.

The first thing most people do once they learn of the Max Hydration Regimen, (myself included…) is to look into their product stash and see if there are any products that would be compatible with the regimen. In my own experience, although my cabinet was full of natural hair products…I realized really quick that none of the products were fit for the regimen.

A lot of people often wonder why some products are recommended in the Max Hydration Regimen, while others are not. What’s the rationale? It all comes down to the ingredients in the product and how they affect the hair, especially Type 4/kinky/ low porosity hair.

Those following the Curly Girl Method are already aware of the basic No Silicones, No sulphates rules. But the Max Hydration regimen goes even further:

There are two criteria that are taken into account when looking at product ingredients:

  •  The ingredient does not cause build up. Which over time, will prevent the hair from absorbing adequate moisture levels.
  • The ingredient does not dry out the hair and prevent it from retaining adequate moisture levels.

For a full list of the recommended products you can check the Max Hydration Recommended product list.

I have also compiled a couple of lists which you can find below:

Some people look at the products on the list and will often say…. “I’ve already used some of the products on the list before and it didn’t work for my hair!” Trust me…I understand!  I also used Kinky Curly Knot Today and Kinky Curly Curling Custard about 4 years ago prior to starting MHM and while I loved Kinky Curly Knot Today as a conditioner, I never had the same results with Kinky Curly Curling Custard as I’m having right now after incorporating the Max Hydration Regimen. I actually had an old jar of KCCC that was left over from years ago buried under my product stash LOL.

The reason the recommended products work so well with The Max Hydration Method is a combination of using products with the best ingredients for your hair, incorporating a regimen that allows your hair to sufficiently absorb and retain moisture plus effectively sealing that moisture in.

Below is a list of the ingredients to avoid in the Max Hydration Regimen and a brief explanation of why:

Salts and sulphates
TEA-triethanolamine and other ethanolamines(MEA, DEA,etc):

  • A drying alcohol derived from ethanol, forms lye salt in water based products and dissolves certain types of hair after long term use (like wearing a product with this ingredient on your hair for the whole day and overnight, or using it daily).

Hydrolyzed wheat protein/ peptides :

  • Bad for low porosity hair and most kinkier Type 4 hair.

Panthenol/Pro-Vitamin B5 :

  • Builds up and acts like protein.

Glycerin& Propylene glycol :

  • Pulls moisture out of hair cortex in dry conditions, glycerin is also astringent.

Mineral Oil and waxes :

  • Builds up and is difficult to remove all residue without shampoo.

Polyquats :
Just another version of silicones.

  • High amounts of quaternary salts build up on the hair as well, although this is primarily an issue for those in a co-wash only routine. Still we look out for it when it becomes excessive.


  • Builds up, can’t be removed without sulphate shampoo.

Denatured and drying alcohol:

  • Drying to the hair.

Salts and sulphates (Except the ones with Stearic or Cetyl) 

  • Drying to the hair, sodium hydroxide or any form of lye or hydroxide/ NaOH: Lye, dissolves hair after long term use.
  • potassium sorbate, or phenoxyethanol are ok at the end of the list as they function as preservatives.

Ingredients to take note of caution for sensitivities:

  • Aloe vera juice and Coconut oil. Both can leave the hair feeling hard even though they aren’t official No-No ingredients. Aloe is okay in gel, since it is going to dry and form a cast, but some may even be sensitive to that.

I know most people find the Max Hydration Regimen quite restrictive when it comes to products but I think another way to look at it is…this should serve as a challenge to those who create hair care products, to start offering a wider product selection on the natural hair market place. The market should include products that cater to the sensitivities and needs of Type 4 Hair especially Low porosity/Kinky and 4c hair. I think the Max Hydration has opened an opportunity for this and I look forward to the time when there will be a wider selection for us tightly coiled naturals.

There are some people who are currently doing the regimen while using products not approved on the list. Although, this is not recommended, depending on the state/condition of their hair, hair porosity, their hair type, texture, density etc they may still be able to get good results. I would only recommend this as a last resort for those with no choice whatsoever and have no access to the recommended products due to their location. For absolute best results with the Max Hydration Regimen especially if your hair is chronically dry, low porosity, kinky, 4c I would highly recommend sticking to the Max Hydration Recommended product list. That being said ultimately, everyone has to make the best choice for their own hair and lifestyle accordingly.

Good luck on your Journey to Max Hydration and Happy Hydrating :)

Much Love & Blessings,



11 Responses to Max Hydration NO NO Ingredients – MHM FAQ

  1. Simplysan says:

    Hi, I have a question about glycerin. If it pulls the moisture out of the hair in dry condition, is it ok to use it in humid weather ?

    • Ms.Dee Kay says:

      Hi Simplysan, The issue with glycerin is even when living in humid climates you would have to follow the weather constantly to make sure the dew points are ok. Your hair can also be affected by thermostat temperatures and levels of humidity in different buildings, you spend extended time in. Because it gets really complicated and too much of a hassle we say avoid it completely unless its in your rinse out then you can try to work with it. I hope this helps :)

  2. neuyogi says:

    I actually attempted to post this on the maxhydration website, but it was never posted despite my two attempts. maybe the comment will get better luck here since it has to do with the same topic:

    Thanks for posting the list here in a central place. However, even with that I am sure people will ask about specific products because the recommended products have some of the nono’s and that makes it confusing. e.g we all love tresemme prices but i clicked on the recommended tresemme above and these are the ingredients: Water (Aqua); Cetearyl Alcohol; STEARAMIDOPROPYL DIMETHYLAMINE; BEHENTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE; Brassica Campestris/Aleurites Fordi Oil COPOLYMER; Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Extract; Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Extract; Fragrance; DIPROPYLENE GLYCOL; POTASSIUM CHLORIDE; Lactic Acid; DISODIUM EDTA; DMDM Hydantoin; PEG-150 Distearate; CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE; LAUROYL LYSINE; METHYLCHLOROISOTHIAZOLINONE; METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE.

    I changed all the ones I thought were bad from the list above as well as not so good from MsDeekay’s post on “is tresemme naturals drying for your hair?” This is confusing because it has more questionable ingredients than the 2 negatives from Dima’s question about fruit of the earth gel.
    So as much as I love tresemme price and some of the cheaper options above, i am too scared to try it. For now, I am using KKNT and KKCC until things are clearer to me on identifying bad products and how the lists above are made.

    That being said, I love this method and all your research so far. Thanks again.

    • Ms.Dee Kay says:

      Hi neuyogi,
      The way the websites are set up Pinkecube over at Max Hydration website and I on my website over here have to approve the comments manually. Therefore, it may take some time until we get through all the comments and respond, however we do try to get to all comments with a few days of them being posted.
      I understand your concern about the ingredients. Other factors that are taken into account when approving a product include the position of the ingredient on the list and how many of the no no ingredients are on the list.
      So for instance for the approved Tresemme you have above
      The CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE are a specific fraction of coconut oil palm oil fatty acids. Not an official no-no but its a proceed with caution to those sensitive to coconut oil and it is also all the way at the bottom of the list. The behentrimonium chloride is a quat salt. It was decided that quat salts can be given a leeway, since we clarify with this regimen unless there are too many at the top of the list. All silicones are still a no. The PEG-150 is down the list. The Methylchloroisothiazolinone (mild toxin) is a mild toxin but does not affect moisture levels. Their other products are not recommended because they do have so much salts and alcohol at the top of the ingredients list.
      I’m not sure about Dima’s question about fruit of the earth can post it here if you want me to go through it as well. I hope this helps you understand how the list is made. As it stands KCKT and KCCC are on top of the recommended list for MHM however because of availability and price points other conditioners/gels with better price points have been added according to the criteria above. Not all the conditioners and gels on the list are the same based on formulation, some are better than others. Others may not be the best but are still acceptable. Pinkecube does ultimately hope to come out with a product line which will fit the exact criteria she is looking for in a conditioner and gel for MHM. Thanks for bringing this up and I hope I clarified it for you :)

  3. Sharleen says:

    Hi, So I am from Cape Town South Africa and I have started this MHM journey. I sourced all the products and eveneverything for the Cherry Lola caramel treatment. I am busy with day 2 of the treatment. day 1 was ok, just I made flax seed gel and I think i maay have mixed it wrong or something cause my hair was super crunchy when it dried. I also had alot of shrinkage. This is ok as it was day 1 and I am a 4C (or 5a as I like to call it lol) My query is with regards to conditioner. I am using the TRESemme Naturals Radiant Volume Conditioner which we also have down here. Only problem is, Last night I just looked at my ingredient list on the tresseme bottle and it differs to the oneyou have. I am now not sure if my ingredients are ok for the method. would you be able to tell me? They are:

    Water, stearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, caprylic/ capric triglyceride, stearamidopropyl dimethylamine, fragrance, caprylyl glycol, aspartic acid, distearyldimonium chloryde, lauroyl lysine, benzyl alcohol, citric acid, alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, cymbopigon schoenanthus extract, citrus aurantium dulcis.

    • Ms.Dee Kay says:

      Hi Sharleen,

      Welcome to the MHM Journey :) I do know quite a few South African ladies doing the regimen, glad to see you joined in as well :)
      The flaxseed gel does take some trial and error to get the right recipe that does not feel as drying or crunchy. Do play around with the recipe and try to find other recipes. I’ve heard adding oils does help. LOL 5a :)

      I did look into the ingredients for that conditioner you’re right this version is different and not approved. But I do know that it is quite hard to find the approved versions over in SA so if you cant you can proceed to doing what you’re doing. I do know a lot of ladies that are out there doing the regimen and are just improvising with what they have due to it being hard to find the approved products.

      I wish you all the best on your journey to hydration :)

  4. neuyogi says:

    Thanks you did! Happy hydrating.

  5. Yayou says:

    I am french and I really want to try this method…the thing is that I just don’t know where I could find coconut or soy animo since I don’t know what it is :( is it soy sauce ? I can’t buy anything on the net but I can find anything organic in Paris so if you could give me the name of this ingrédient in french or at least an explanation of what it is I would be so happy! I also wanted to know if I need to do a shampoo before the cherry lola caramel treatment because I haven’t washed my hair since a month ( I am rocking box braids and I deeply hate the sensation of extension weighted down by water, it gives me headaches)

  6. Ivi says:

    I have the same problem as Yayou above. I’m Brazilian and couldn’t find any of the aminos listed. And I’m not able to buy it from US at the moment.
    Do you know what kind of product I can use as a substitute for it?

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