I tried a wash and go style. Once. After “achieving” not so desirable results I swore off wash and gos; I figured they just weren’t for me. However, recently my interest has been re-peaked – I blame Instagram. It all started when I researched and wrote “What is the “Curly Girl” Method?”. I was curious and excited about trying the style again.
The first time I did a wash and go I used Kinky Curly Curl Custard on freshly washed hair. Looking back now I know my technique was awful which is why my results were, too. I basically slapped the product on my hair randomly while it was dripping wet and left the house. Back then, I barely knew how to care for my natural hair let alone achieve new styles with products I had not researched or studied. I should have known better.
In my quest to perfect the wash and go natural hairstyle I have learned some new tips and tricks I plan on trying next time.
To make sure that your curl cream or custard “works” and is completely “activated” make sure that your hair is CLEAN and free of any product residue. This can affect how the products work on your hair and make the difference in total curl definition. Make sure you condition the hair well, too, because the gels used for wash and gos can be drying to the hair.
The best definition for any natural style is achieved when the style is done on soaking wet hair. To get the most definition from your curl pattern and “freeze” or “hold” it, which is what a wash and go essentially is, your hair should be soaking wet when you apply the product. Often hair will start to dry before you style each section. If this happens, re-wet the hair with fresh water from a spray bottle.
I usually wear twists and twist outs. My main goal when I twist (set) my hair for a twist out is to achieve maximum definition while keeping my hair flexible and soft in case I want to style the hair once the twists are taken down. A wash and go needs hold. Most products used for wash and go styles are gels or have a gel base. These are ideal to achieve a successful wash and go.
If some parts of the hair do not curl to your liking you can use your finger to coil the hair in small sections. Make sure the coils match the size of your other natural curls.
Wash and gos can be left to air dry but if you’re like me, you want to try (we all know how unpredictable natural hair can be) to set your hair before you leave the house so there are no mid-day surprises. The most effective way to dry your hair when you’re rocking a WnG is to diffuse it. Drying with a blow dryer will NOT give you the same results so invest in a diffuser if you want to properly dry your wash and go.
For maximum volume, flip your head over and diffuse it upside down. Make sure to focus on the roots since that is the part of the hair that retains the most moisture and takes the longest to dry. Be sure to keep it at a low temperature to avoid damaging the hair.
You can wear your wash and go style for multiple days but you must protect it at night. It is important to avoid manipulating the curl pattern and that the curls are not smashed while sleeping. The best way to sleep with a wash and go is to pineapple the hair. If you can’t bring it all to the top of your head, make several high ponytails or use a large elastic headband (as pictured) before securing your hair with a satin scarf or bonnet or sleeping on a satin pillowcase.
If you pineapple your hair, the next morning you should be able to take it down, shake it out, fluff your curls and go. If the curls need refreshing, spritz your hair with a curl refresher and/or fresh water. Try not to saturate the hair.
While these “tips” may seem a bit excessive, I prefer to style my hair once for the week and not have to worry about it. Taking really good care of your hair on wash/style day allows you to do this.