Wash-n-Go Fails on Natural Hair

Wash-n-Go Fails on Natural Hair

Some of us (naturalistas) love the wash-n-go hairstyle for our natural hair; while others see it as the bane of their existence. A wash-n-go isn't as easy as it sounds because one doesn't just simply 'wash, and, go' as the name implies. This particular style means that you are working to define your own natural pattern with little to no manipulation using certain techniques and products. In order to master the wash-n-go on your natural hair, especially for those of us with coily, type 4 textured hair, it comes down to some details.  

There are some key issues and solutions to mastering the wash-n-go style that we will tackle here. Once you've gotten this down, you're going to be a wash-n-go wiz!

1. Start with clean hair. You might find that your hair might not absorb product the way it used to. This could be because of product build-up. If you do co-wash only or use commercial products, the issue comes down to no matter how much you 'wash' your hair, it isn't clean. Co-washing is a controversial topic and we discuss its issues here. For some, it's a great way to refresh their hair between shampoos.

Start with clean hair when doing a wash-n-go on your natural hair

We recommend that whenever you start any new product line, including Wonder Curl, that you should do a clarifying shampoo followed by a deep conditioning treatment. What the clarifying shampoo does is remove everything from your hair, that's all the product build-up as well as your hair's natural oils. That's why you want to use a good deep conditioner like our Restoring Hair Treatment, right after. This will put the moisture back into your hair and get your hair ready for a wash-n-go. (Note, if you use products with natural ingredients that are water-soluble, you can do clarifying shampoos every few months.)

2. Hair isn’t moisturized, or it is dry and damaged. Maintaining moisture in your wash-n-go comes from using good moisturizing products that will seal in the moisture and keeps your hair hydrated. When looking for a good moisturizer, you want to look out for ingredients that include emollients. Emollients are your oils and butters that will seal in moisture that’s blended with water or a liquid such as aloe vera. This makes a creamy product which infuses moisture with sealing power.

Try using our Moisturizing Hair Pudding or Sealing Hair Butter. I like layering one of these products over my hair first and always when my hair is wet for a wash-n-go. The Moisturizing Hair Pudding has a pudding-like texture which adds more moisture to your hair. The Sealing Hair Butter is much thicker and emollient-rich which is great for sealing the water (moisture) in your hair.  

What you want to do first is section your hair, make sure it’s wet and apply your moisturizer over that section. Using your hands to smooth down the cuticle until your hair is completely covered with the product and your hair feels soft.

3. You’re not achieving any curl definition. Curl definition happens when your curls clump. If you’re finding that you’re having a hard time getting your curls to clump, it could be because of reasons 1 & 2 above, or it could be that you’re not using the right type of styler and/or technique. One without the other renders your natural hairstyling to be a colossal waste of time, and no one wants that!


I like to layer my products one after the other and then use my fingers to rake the products throughout my hair. Right after you apply your moisturizer to a section of your hair, you want to immediately follow with a good styling product. My preferences are either the Curl Control Styling Lotion or the Get Set Hair Jelly depending on how much volume I want to get in my hair. The Curl Control Styling Lotion gives you a softer hold and that 3rd day hair on day 1 which so many of us love. The Get Set Hair Jelly gives you much more definition and works wonders in humidity. 

4. Dreaded shrinkage! Shrinkage comes with curly hair territory. I say that shrinkage is just your curls forming, but no one likes excessive shrinkage. Shrinkage is most noticeable on type 4 textured or tightly coiled natural hair, with type 4c hair having it the worst. 


Tips to combat shrinkage are:


  • Make sure your hair is moisturized, and you’re employing the proper techniques and using products that will elongate your curls such as the Get Set Hair Jelly. 
  • As your hair is drying, after it’s about 80% dry, you can use your blow dryer to stretch out your curls. 
  • At night, you can put your hair into braids, twists or a bun to stretch your natural hair out. 

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5. It’s time for a trim and/or haircut. If you have lots of single-strand knots, split ends or breakage, you’ll find that you will have a hard time getting your curls to form or clump. Breakage is a sign of dry, damaged hair. Dead ends (those frayed ends of your hair) need to get cut before they create more damage to your hair. How much to cut is up to you and your stylist to decide, but any good hairstyle starts with a good trim. 


    The way your hair is cut will also make a difference in how your style will look. There are different methods to cutting curly hair and this will come down to preference. There are methods that aim to achieve maximum volume, others that can help to remove some of the bulk to your thick natural hair. The type of style you want is completely up to you. Just make sure you maintain it. 

    Wash-n-goes no longer have to elude us. With the above tips and practice, your wash-n-no will quickly turn into a ‘girl, where did you get your hair done?’ 

    Check out some of our tutorials on achieving the perfect wash-n-go on different hair types.

    A super defined wash-n-go on low density hair. 

    Get volume on your type 3c natural hair.

    Let us know if you do wash-n-goes or if you don’t in the comments and why.  

    5 reasons your wash-n-go is a wash-n-no


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    1 comment

    I haven’t done wash and go but want to try. My problem is that I have perm on the ends of my hair., mostly at the top since I’ve been letting my hair grow out. I really do not want to cut it now as it would be too short but I am trying to let it grow out.

    Eleta Cook

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