chi cherry lola
Coils are clumping/popping a lit­tle bit.

Before the Max­i­mum Hydra­tion Method (MHM), there was the Cher­ry Lola Treat­ment, devel­oped in 2009 by nat­ur­al hair blog­ger Cher­ry Lola.  (As a mat­ter of fact, the MHM incor­po­rates a vari­a­tion of this treat­ment as its first step.) Because of its effec­tive­ness at reduc­ing frizz, this treat­ment grew in pop­u­lar­i­ty from 2009 through 2012. Not much has been said about it since then, but with its resur­fac­ing via the MHM, I decid­ed to give it a try for the first time.

Some back­ground: What is the Cher­ry Lola Treat­ment?

The orig­i­nal recipe con­sists of:

2 parts yogurt – for con­di­tion­ing prop­er­ties
½ part bak­ing soda – to make the hair porous
½ part liq­uid amino acids

The first two ingre­di­ents each have a spe­cial pur­pose. The yogurt acts as a con­di­tion­ing base while the bak­ing soda helps to lift the cuti­cles. At the time the treat­ment was devel­oped, the pur­pose of the liq­uid amino acids (AAs) was not known.  Rather, the point of this exper­i­men­tal con­coc­tion was to see if these AAs would have an effect on the hair.  Ulti­mate­ly, Cher­ry Lola expe­ri­enced a reduc­tion in frizz and an increase in mois­ture absorp­tion.  It was essen­tial­ly serendip­i­ty, and soon after, numer­ous oth­er nat­u­rals real­ized the same ben­e­fits.

How was my first Cher­ry Lola Treat­ment?

Though I have known about this treat­ment for a few years, the skep­tic in me nev­er saw the need to try it.  After all, my hair and frizz go hand in hand and I have come to accept that.  How­ev­er, my recent curios­i­ty in the MHM opened the door to my first expe­ri­ence with the Cher­ry Lola Treat­ment.  You see, I am too lazy to per­form all the required steps of the MHM, but the lat­ter treat­ment was right up my alley.

Over the years, the Cher­ry Lola Treat­ment has under­gone mod­i­fi­ca­tions, but I want­ed to try the orig­i­nal ver­sion.  I went to the source — Cher­ry Lola’s blog — for my first treat­ment.

cherry lola treatment

I mixed Silkience Hair Care Silky-Smooth Con­di­tion­er (from the local dol­lar store), bak­ing soda and Brag­gs Liq­uid Amino Acids togeth­er.  I applied the con­coc­tion to dry hair, as direct­ed and allowed it to set for 25–30 min­utes. After the time was up, I rinsed my hair thor­ough­ly and co-washed with Tre­semme Nat­u­rals.  Imme­di­ate­ly after co-wash­ing, I noticed that my coils were clump­ing and retain­ing more mois­ture than I antic­i­pat­ed.  My hair felt as though it was giv­en a super intense, mois­tur­iz­ing deep con­di­tion­ing ses­sion.  (Ulti­mate­ly, the clump­ing was very short-lived but the mois­ture reten­tion con­tin­ued.)

chi before after
(LEFT) Before the Cher­ry Lola Treat­ment. Old and dry braid out. (RIGHT) After the Cher­ry Lola Treat­ment. Hair is retain­ing more mois­ture than usu­al.  Hair also feels strong.
chi braid out
Fresh braid out.

What’s more? My hair felt strong as if I had per­formed a pro­tein treat­ment as well.  Now, this was an inter­est­ing addi­tion­al ben­e­fit that hadn’t real­ly been dis­cussed much (if at all) by oth­er nat­u­rals.

Why are the liq­uid amino acids essen­tial to the Cher­ry Lola Treat­ment?

Cher­ry Lola was cer­tain­ly on to some­thing when she spec­u­lat­ed that the exter­nal appli­ca­tion of liq­uid amino acids may be great for hair health.  After some research myself, I came across a 2007 study on the uptake of amino acids by hair.  You can cer­tain­ly read the full ref­er­ence below, but what struck me were these find­ings:

“A hair con­di­tion­er incor­po­rat­ed with [the amino acid] ala­nine improves hair sur­face hydropho­bic­i­ty [i.e., eas­i­er comb­ing] of bleach-dam­aged hair. His­ti­dine and pheny­lala­nine [which are both amino acids] improve ten­sile strength. Pyrroli­done car­boxylic acid [an amino acid deriv­a­tive] was proved to be effec­tive to improve col­or-reten­tion of dyed hair.”

Inter­est­ing indeed!

So, what are my final thoughts?  While I don’t see myself incor­po­rat­ing the Cher­ry Lola treat­ment into my reg­i­men, I do intend to use it once in a while.  On the oth­er hand, I am more intrigued with adding liq­uid amino acids to my con­di­tion­ers.

Oshimu­ra E, Abe H, Oota R. “Hair and amino acids: the inter­ac­tions and the effects.” Jour­nal of Cos­met­ic Sci­ence. 2007 Jul-Aug;58(4):347–57.

Have you tried the Cher­ry Lola Treat­ment?  What has been your expe­ri­ence?


Empow­er­ing women of col­or to break bar­ri­ers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin.

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13 Comments on "My Experience With the Cherry Lola Treatment (the Precusor to the Max Hydration Method) On 4C Hair"

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[…] Low Poros­i­ty hair has tight­ly bound cuti­cle lay­ers that lay flat. This type of hair repels mois­ture but on the pos­i­tive side also tends to hold in mois­ture well once its been able to be absorbed in the hair. This hair is prone to build up from excess pro­tein so stay away from prod­ucts with a lot of pro­tein and stick to dai­ly con­di­tion­ers with humec­tants such as glyc­erin and hon­ey. Steam­ing and deep con­di­tion­ing hair with a pro­tein free deep-con­di­tion­er is a per­fect way to open up the hair cuti­cles and allow mois­ture in your hair. Lighter oils… Read more »
Gina B.
I have to chime in as a nat­ur­al low poros­i­ty girl. I start­ed using this treat­ment as an exper­i­ment a few months ago (I know … I’m late to the par­ty), BUT I have to share my per­son­al results, as they might be help­ful for some­one. I col­or my own hair and I had pre­vi­ous issues with get­ting full cov­er­age and extreme resis­tance from some strands — or entire areas — due to my low poros­i­ty. When I read about the Cher­ry Lola treat­ment, I decid­ed to try it imme­di­ate­ly before col­or­ing to allow for max­i­mum absorp­tion into my fol­li­cles.… Read more »

What’s your rou­tine for colour­ing please? I’m very keen to cov­er those irri­tat­ing greys.


I love this treat­ment! Here’s anoth­er infor­ma­tive video on it

A Simple Thing

I’m exper­i­ment­ing with (cheap) home­made pro­tein treat­ments, but liq­uid amino acids over here is about the same price as a com­mer­cial pro­tein con­di­tion­er. I’d rather cut out the faf­fery, but I am intrigued by the results you got and the evi­dence for it…


I would nev­er put bak­ing soda on my hair…especially not to make it more porous…smh. Actu­al­ly when you think about it the rea­son peo­ple think this treat­ment works is because the bak­ing soda makes the hair more porous…therefore you think your hair is receiv­ing a lot more moisture…but its not.…you’ve just made your hair more thirsty…therefore it sucks up more need­ed mois­ture. As for sis in the pic I’m glad it worked for her…but it seems to me she could’ve got­ten those same results with some nice conditioner…or kinky curly..

Dee Hines
From my under­stand­ing, the MHM/Cherry Lola was cre­at­ed for low poros­i­ty hair types. Mak­ing low poros­i­ty hair more porous would then actu­al­ly make it clos­er to nor­mal on the spec­trum, not high poros­i­ty and thirsty. I haven’t don’t either treat­ments but I have con­sid­ered doing them because I do have low poros­i­ty hair and it takes more than just a good con­di­tion­er for my hair to feel well mois­tur­ized. It takes con­stant con­tact with water or and deep con­di­tion­ing with a show­er cap for sev­er­al hours before my hair even feels wet. But once it’s mois­tur­ized I can leave it… Read more »
I tried the Cher­ry­Lo­la treat­ment maybe twice and didn’t notice any major dif­fer­ences in my hair. Plus I feel about liq­uid aminos the same way I feel about avo­ca­dos and eggs: They do my insides good so I’m not going to waste them by putting them on my out­sides and then rins­ing them down the drain. :) I wouldn’t say that Cher­ry­Lo­la was the “pre­cur­sor” to MHM either. If any­thing might take that title, it could be the bak­ing soda con­di­tion­er treat­ment (2 parts con­di­tion­er, 1 part bak­ing soda). That par­tic­u­lar band­wag­on was big­ger than CherryLola’s, if I recall cor­rect­ly. I hopped… Read more »

Thanks for shar­ing and clar­i­fy­ing the *mis­take* part lol


*top 5 of my list of biggest nat­ur­al hair MISTAKES.


But that is your hair,maybe you are not low poros­i­ty? Your hair prob can not take a cher­ry lola treatment,or bak­ing soda for that matter…blame it on not know­ing your hair poros­i­ty. Back­ing soda has been proven to help the hair,to lift the cuticle,its not harm­ful.


Of COURSE it’s my hair…I was talk­ing about MY expe­ri­ence.

Also, I have done that whole float-a-hair-in-a-cup-of-water test sev­er­al times over the years and I have yet to see it sink below the sur­face. I don’t pay atten­tion to poros­i­ty.


Yes! I’m def­i­nite­ly going to try this. I’ll be putting the liq­uid amino acids into my hair care arse­nal. How­ev­er, I’m hes­i­tant about adding them to my con­di­tion­ers and oils. Are there any side effects on the prod­ucts they’re added to? And does a per­son with nat­u­ral­ly high poros­i­ty need to use the bak­ing soda? (If my cuti­cles lift any more, my strands will dis­in­te­grate.)

So glad to have this site to come to!