Lesson 7: Moderation is key
Overdoing any one thing will cause problems. You will have to experiment until you find the right balance between process and products.
My first attempt at being natural was a disaster. I knew very little and was doing a lot of things that were not good for my hair. The first mistake I made was to wash my hair every day. Every night my curls would get bombed by my pillow and I used a daily shampoo and conditioner to try and maintain a well groomed look. Next I tried the no-poo route when I decided that the shampoo was way too drying and for a period of about six months I used a popular cleansing conditioner instead. My hair looked like a fuzzball. Oil was another one of the overdone things. I experimented with using oil treatments and leave in oils. I found that pre-poo oils are fine but the oils in conditioner are usually enough to keep my hair healthy. The leave-in conditioner is key to set good curls. Once the curls eventually air dry they will last for a few days.
After months of experimenting with often conflicting advise I found a balance of a once per week shampoo and conditioner. A deep conditioner. A leave in conditioner. I set my curls and wear them for an entire week until wash day.
I had some success with the max hydration process but it did loosen my curls. I have never actually gone one full round with the max hydration process, which would be the recommended seven cycles. My view is that the results of the smoother hair is due to the extremes in Ph both acidic and alkaline. I also do not like the fact that the Cherry lola causes carbon dioxide. I found out the hard way that banana has seeds that can get stuck in your hair. Overall, I do not like the severity of the Ph and the sliding between these two extremes. I have adapted some of the max hydration and the specific steps that I do like and have been very happy with the results.
I have tried various natural smoothing things. From a coconut cream, okra gel, flaxseed gel, clay, rice flour, rice vinegar name it and chances are I have tried it. Some worked better than others but they are limited to the temporary effect of a conditioner.