Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Curly Girl's Guide to Wash N Go: When Curl Shape Matters

There are many curl defining, wash n go video tutorials out there. Due to my obsession with "the perfect" wash n go, I've watched most of them. This information overload has helped me figure out (both) what to do and what NOT to do. The wash and go is one of the few hair/texture styling that requires one to assess the characteristics of your curl/coil. Looser coils need to use different viscosity products, and different application techniques than tighter coils. Anywhoo, this is just a compilation of the findings I've gathered over the last couple of years about the ever so intriguing "search for the perfect coil".

Scrunching is a great Technique for Curly Girls with Different Textures

Yes, there is such a thing as an "awkward stage" hair length for wash n go's. I worked on my braidouts during that time. LOL!

Does your curly hair have residue or a film of product on it? Does it look limp, stringy, curls not as defined as usual? Does it look dull? Even natural hair products (butters, etc) can and will leave build up or a film on the hair shaft. Depending on what is left on your hair, you may need to determine what to clarify it with. I stick with apple cider vinegar mix or a shampoo with Sodium Lauryl Sulphate. I barely ever use shampoo. When I do use shampoo, I feel the difference in the moisture levels of my curly hair. My hair doesn't "hang" as low as it usually does because of the drying factor that shampoo brings. Also, it's harder to clump the hair together for wash n go's, as it is "squeaky" clean. The good thing about clarifying for a wash n go is the curl definition is excellent. If I don't clarify for my wash n go, my curls appear limp and lifeless. Probably those commercials for shampoos that correct limp and lifeless hair are simply bragging about cleansing the hair into submission!

Looser Curls Use Lighter Viscosity Product for Curl Definition
TRICK: Want to stretch your wash n go? While defining sections, place the completed section into a bantu knot for stretch. Once done with all sections, release each bantu knot and separate any clumps. Once the hair is about 70% dry, pull back into 1 or 2 or 3 bantu knots for about 10 minutes for an additional and longer lasting stretch. Curly hair responds to water. Water makes it coil up tighter. Working with partially air dried hair enables me to get a more permanent stretch. You can get a nice stretch on your wash n go when the hair is fully dry. Just band the hair into a low ponytail overnight.

Detangling for a wash n go. It's best to detangle the hair while doing a conditioner in the shower. This will help reduce the shrinkage that happens out of the shower. The water helps to "pull" down the hair as it temporarily breaks the bonds. Once you begin to detangle your hair out of the shower, and the hair starts to dry, it will coil up and give lots of shrinkage without the assistance of running water for stretch. Once the hair has been detangled in the shower, then secure it (two strand twists, or bantu knots) to avoid new tangles. When defining the hair for a wash n go, it's best to use fingers, but many tools can be used. I find that the denman brush (as well as the tangle teaser) gives a strong coil definition, as well as plenty of shrinkage. Also important is to detangle the hair BEFORE putting the eco styler gel on. The eco styler gel will immediately start to harden the hair upon application. The hair will be stiff, and not as easy to safely brush through.

Wash N Go's Using Conditioner Only is Highly Beneficial to Coily Hair
 Maintain your moisture levels. Most of the curly girls that are able to have "popping", shining curls are keeping their hair well conditioned. By now, you've probably heard of the tightly curly method or the curly girl method. Long story short on both of them, reduce or eliminate shampoos (and the need to use shampoo), and coat hair with conditioners. If your curly hair is constantly in a conditioned state, there is less risk of dry, frizzy, unmanageable hair.
TRICK: Want a quick wash n go? Prep your hair with conditioner while in the shower. Take a handful of eco styler gel in the palm of one hand. Rub the gel into both hands, and then spread that product on the top of your head, and then quickly put your head under the running water (in order for the eco styler gel to dilute and distribute evenly from the roots of your hair to the ends). Quickly move from under the running water so as not to wash all of the gel out. Help the process with your hands, moving and spreading the diluted gel from roots to ends. Next, twist the hair into a bun, squeezing excess product and water off. Leave the hair in the bun (or a few-depending on the length), while finishing off your shower. Once out of the shower, place a microfiber towel on the head, securing the bun and saturating excess water. Keep this on, while putting on clothes and applying makeup. When you take this down, the hair should be nicely coated with product, clumped throughout, and ready to go.


  1. Thats a great post! Very informative! Cant wait until im natural and rock some wash and go's!

    1. Thanks Naomi! It is pretty fun :o) Soon you'll be doing your wash n go's.

  2. Good tips girl. Got anything on stretching products for wash n go? I need a good moisturizing cream cuz the curls on crown of my head are tighter than the rest.