A good wash and go routine can be the difference between tangled, matted hair, and healthy, hydrated, happy curls. Despite its name, there is much more to it than just “washing” and “going.”
Even so, it doesn't have to be overly difficult! So, we have put together a guide to help you build a wash and go routine as a beginner.
We will be covering the following:
- Cleansing and conditioning well to lay the perfect foundation for your wash and gos
- How to can find compatible product combinations
- How to apply products to best suit your hair thickness and density
- How to maintain your wash and go between washes
- How to protect your curly hair at night
- Our best tips for extra volume, definition and length
Cleansing and Conditioning For Your Wash and Go
The success of your wash and go, relies on effective cleansing and conditioning. When you cleanse your hair you remove product build-up and create a blank canvas for your products to follow.
The first of these products will be a conditioner. This is what will replenish the moisture after using your shampoo. It will also improve the elasticity of your strands and enhance the definition of your curls.
It's up to you whether you cleanse your hair with a shampoo alone. You might also choose to use a clay wash such as the Organic Rhassoul Clay Hair Wash to detox your hair. This is great if you have excessive buildup and need a curly reset and extra definition.
When it comes to conditioning your natural hair, you can use a rinse out conditioner like the Avocado Smoothie Conditioner, or a deep conditioner such as the Cocoa Joie Deep Conditioner depending on how your hair feels.
Either way you want to make sure to incorporate a lot of water when working your conditioner into your strands.
How to find compatible product combinations for your wash and go styles
Your styling technique is important for long-lasting hydrated wash and go styles. Your product combinations play a key role in ensuring that your styles are not affected by flaking, tangling or anything else that can reduce their longevity.
You can't always tell how your products will react with each other. A good rule of thumb is to use products of the same brand as they are usually tested to work well together. Another quick check you can do is to rub the products that you like to use together between your palms.
If they mix well, then you should get smooth, flake-free results. However, if you see any bobbles or lumps appear when you mix the products together, then it may be a sign that they will also create flakes in your hair when they dry.
Only one of them has protein or glycerin and so they work well together.
How to apply products to best suit your hair thickness and density
Now that you have found a product combination that you like, you want to apply each product in the best way to suit your curls. For example, you may choose to use less product if you have finer, or low density curls. Whereas, you might be more generous if you have coarser, high density curls.
The way you apply each product may vary too. If you have looser curls, then techniques such as the Praying Hands Method or using a wet brush to distribute your products may work well with some squishing or scrunching.
Whereas, if you have tighter curls and coils, then techniques such as raking may be more effective in distributing your products, along with the Shingling Method for more definition.
These are not hard and fast rules. There is no telling how your unique curls will respond to each method. An important part of establishing the best wash and go routine for you, even as a beginner, is to experiment and see what suits you best.
You may use a combination of all the methods above such as smoothing in your leave-in conditioner with praying hands. Or, raking in your curl cream or curl gel and shingling with a mousse. Try different methods and different combinations to see how your results vary.
How to maintain your style between washes
How you choose to maintain your wash and go can depend on how much time you have between wash days. If you cleanse and condition effectively on wash day, you may find that your hair is not dry, but that your curls have lost some definition.
In this situation, you may choose to wear your hair up in a puff or in a bun until your next wash day. Or, you may choose to refresh by re-applying your styling products. Good products do refresh with water and so all you’d need is a Continuous Mist Spray Bottle to revive your curls.
Working in sections can help you to achieve the best results, especially if you have multiple different hair textures, or if certain areas of your hair react differently to different styling methods. Experiment with both to see which is more sustainable as part of your routine.
How to protect your hair at night
At night we can toss and turn which causes our hair strands to tangle together or snag. When wearing wash and go styles, your hair is even more susceptible to breaking or tangling as each strand is loose, and is therefore weaker than if it were twisted or braided.
This makes it all the more important to protect your natural hair at night with a satin bonnet, and one with straps that can secure it all night is even better! Alternatively you can use a satin pillowcase or a satin scarf to pull your hair up into a pineapple.
For shorter styles, a bonnet should suffice but for longer styles a pineapple and a hair scarf may be more appropriate. Sometimes it can be a challenge to get your hair to lay flat after sleeping with it in a pineapple and so this avoids your hair sticking up in the morning.
Of course, it comes down to personal preference and so feel free to try each of them or a combination of them to see what maintains and protects your curls most effectively when you sleep
How to dry your wash and go
Once you have set your curls to your liking, it's time to dry your wash and go. Your hair is smoothest and most defined when it is wet, and so you do not want to introduce frizz as your hair dries. This makes air-drying one of the best ways to dry your wash and go styles but it can take a long time.
To speed things along you can try any combination of plopping, diffusing or sitting under a hooded dryer. Plopping involves wrapping your hair in a curl towel to soak up any excess moisture. You don’t need to squeeze or rub your curls with the towel.
Diffusing your curls means drying them with a hair dryer but with an attachment that will diffuse the airflow so as not to blow your curls around too much and create frizz. It is particularly effective at drying your roots as the diffuser attachment can help the air to reach your scalp.
You can diffuse your curls as well as sitting under a hooded dryer to ensure that your hair dries from root to tip. A hooded dryer allows your hair to dry from all angles and with very minimal effort or movement. Whichever you choose, drying your hair to about 80% dry will ensure you still have hydrated curls.
Our best tips for volume, definition and length
Wash and gos are not all created the same. You can have more defined wash and gos. You can have more voluminous wash and gos. You can even have stretched wash and gos and more!
So, we have some additional tips for you to get the type of wash and go that you want.
For more definition, you want to make sure to incorporate plenty of water when you are applying each of your products, and you may want one of these products to be a stronger hold gel such as the Sweet Hibiscus Curl Defining Gel. This will hold your curls in place for longer, especially if you don’t break the gel cast.
For more volume, you want to separate your curls and may choose to brush through them when applying your styling products for a fuller look. If you choose to style with a curl cream without any hold, such as the Curl, Please! Curling Custard, you will get softer bouncier curls with more volume but less definition.
For a longer look, you can try stretching your curls with a diffuser or with our satin scrunchies. You can try the Tension Method and pull your curls gently as you dry them with the concentrator attachment on your hairdryer for a more stretched look.
Or pull your hair up into a unicorn horn and secure loosely with scrunchies for 10 mins on dry hair. Then let your curls loose, fluff and go.
So let's recap:
To create the best wash and go routine, especially as a beginner, you want to make sure that you cleanse and condition effectively. Then you want to find a compatible combination and application method for your styling products.
Once you have set your curls, you want to make sure that they dry from root to tip and that you can maintain and protect them between wash days.
Which tips will you be using on your next wash day?