I have never really gotten the hang of a wash and go. I mean, I would do it and go through the steps as I saw them done on YouTube channels – and at first it would look good – great curl definition and all – but by the end of the day I would end up with a curly moppy frizzy hairball. Seriously. But lately I have really been enjoying the second and third-day look of my wash and go’s! I love how my hair feels, and even better, I found a routine that works – for ME! I’ll share…
I don’t want to say that coloring my hair was the secret key to softer, more defined, and much awesome(er) hair. But it would seem so by the way EVERY style has turned out. Well, but every style I mean these wash and go’s I’ve been wearing for an entire month. I have never in my whole natural hair journey, even wanted to sport a wash and go for a month, let alone the day after it fully dried! So this is very different for me, and I must say, I’m experiencing hair utopia.
It is important to pause for a minute to remind my awesome readers that what I am about to describe works for my natural strands, and that this method, although I encourage you to try it, may not work for yours. I tried many (many) wash and go techniques that I copied right from the pages of YouTube. And although those ladies had their routine down, and their hair looked fantastic, the same exact routine did not make my hair look that good. I had to tweak the routine to fit my hair – and it did take a couple of years to finally find a technique that works well for me.
With that being said, here are a few things I have learned that contribute to my lovely wash and go’s:
The more conditioned my hair, the better the wash and go.
I have not shampooed my hair in a month. Oh, just untwist your mouth and stop giving me the side-eye; I am going to shampoo it as soon as I get home from my weekend trip! But I have been co-washing every week for a month. Even though I never use anything but sulfate-free shampoo’s, I was still noticing that my hair was not as moisturized and conditioned as it could be. It was after getting this color that I decided not to use shampoo every week so I wouldn’t strip or fade the color. My. Hair. Feels. Awesome.!!!
I use a cleansing conditioner to co-wash, a conditioner to rinse out, a deep conditioner to strengthen and moisturize, and then a leave-in conditioner to keep the moisture locked in. This is some kind of conditioning I have going on! But my hair is much (much) softer. This makes it easier to manage and requires less product to make it do what I need it to do.
I have even tried conditioner-only wash and go’s, using conditioner instead of gel. Talk about a SOFT and FLUFFY (NON-frizzy) curl!
*for a list of my conditioners, head on over to my new Natural Hair Color Care Routine page.
Wash at night and Go in the morning.
I know… but to me a wash and go has never been a wash and…go. Instead I spend just as much time raking, smoothing, and shingling small sections of my hair as I do twisting it for a twist out; and I twist my hair at night to let it set for a twist out the next morning. Getting up an hour early in the morning to do a wash and go got old real quick, especially when the style ends up poofing out during the day until looking like a mad cotton ball explosion after work.
In any case, I finally figured out that my best wash & go’s aren’t really wash and go’s at all; they’re actually wash & [twist] sleep, wake up, and then go the next morning. I go through my normal wash day routine and then smooth in my gel or conditioner section-by-section. But I don’t just shingle and move on, I twist that section and move on to the next. When I’m done with my whole head I have several medium-sized twists all over my head. I then put on a plastic bag / cap over the wet twists, throw on my sleep cap, and hit the hay! When I wake up the next morning, I slip off the plastic and my hair is still wet. I untwist v e r y c a r e f u l l y and leave the hair alone. No separating, no fluffing, no scrunching – just untwist and go. My hair has all day to dry completely. By the end of the day I can separate the dry sections and then pull my hair up into a pineapple. The next morning I shake my hair out and it is dry, stretched and curly. I’ve been so happy with these results that I don’t even know what to do! Don’t worry, the video is coming!
A well moisturized wash and go is a happy wash and go.
So when I first started this wash and go tour, I didn’t want to add too much moisture to the actual wash and go because I was afraid it would decrease the effects of the gel. Yep. smh… But then I realized that a little moisture was important in counteracting the harsh hold of some gels. There was a trial and error period when mixing some gels and moisturizers would cause flaking… like I said, an ongoing experiment. For a year I gave up on the wash and go and only wore twist outs and updo’s.
Finally I discovered flax seed gel and realized that with this homemade gel I could add my own oils and whatever I wanted to make it work for my hair. I found that coconut oil goes really well with flax seed gel and we’ve had a blissful partnership ever since! I use the LOC [log] method when applying products to my hair: Leave-in conditioner (usually in the form of aloe vera juice or one of my other two favorite leave-ins), coconut Oil, and the flax seed Gel.
Why coconut oil? Because coconut oil is one of the only oils that actually deposits moisture into the strand, not just seals moisture. Plus, I get a bit of protein protection, as well – like a two-fer. So I don’t have to worry about a creamy-based moisturizer before applying my flax seed gel (especially since the flax seed gel is also moisturizing) because the coconut oil is enough to keep my hair nicely moisturized and provides long-lasting moisture until my next wash. My curls look and feel much better!
Get the most out of a wash and go by stretching it out.
The pineapple. Just a few months ago just the thought of a pineapple when speaking of natural hair was enough to bring a frown. I could not figure out how to get the hair to lay down after wearing it up all night. I would rather wear the shrunken wash and go than have the porcupine wash and go look because it wouldn’t lay down. yes, it was quite an ordeal! But I kept trying different ways to do the pineapple, and finally figured out that for me I needed to take the hair down in the morning before my shower and pin it down to help shift the direction while the steam from my shower helped the roots lie flat.
So I get the stretched awesomeness of the pineapple, and get it to lay in the right direction for the *bomb* stretched second-day hair! Now I can relax when I hear the word pineapple! LOL Even if the fruit-named hair stretching method doesn’t work for you, find a way to stretch your dry wash and go… you will love the longer-lasting results.
When a wash & go turns into a wash & went, twist it up.
Need just one more day for your wash and go before you [co]wash? I get like that, too; and Lord knows there are evenings when I look at my hair and just know it needs to be washed and redone but I can’t even conjure up the energy to do it. This is when I grab a good creamy moisturizer and twist it up. I do NOT comb my curls unless deep conditioned and under running water; so I grab & twist with a bit of moisturizer rubbed into my hands. This way I’m not disturbing the curl that is still hanging on, and in the morning I have a great defined twist and go. There, one more day and a twist out!
It is a great feeling when you find a routine the works for you. I have been ecstatic with the results of my last five wash and go’s. I’m even more impressed with how my hair has thrived. It pays to give your hair tender loving care – getting to know your hair means that you can figure out what it needs in order to be its best!