The wash-n-go. A curly girl hairstyle that has eluded many 4C naturals for far too long. A style that ladies with looser curl patterns may unofficially can the wash-n-define. Since 4C hair is “too nappy” to define, we should just stop trying, right? But we are naturals. We’re notorious for our versatility, and we know how to make things work, from bad hair days to wet twists in the morning. Who’s to say we can’t make a wash-n-go work too? I’ll tell you who: No one. Today, we tackle the monster that is the wash-n-go and prove to the world that a 4C chick (if she wishes to) can rock it just as effortlessly as any other woman with curly hair.
The Wash-n-Go . . . to Sleep
If you do your hair right before bed, you don’t always have two to three hours of sleep to waste styling your hair. Instead, you should try the wash-n-go to sleep, a method based on Naptural85’s The Perfect Winter Wash-n-Go, and the only product you’ll need is your favorite cleanser or conditioner.
Section your hair into ten sections, five on each side, and coat your hair with your conditioner of choice. Once each section is coated in conditioner and twisted up, rinse out the conditioner in the shower and wrap your hair in an old t-shirt to absorb the excess water. Put on your satin scarf and go to bed. If you have an early start in the morning, and you want to ensure that your hair is dry, sit under the dryer for 15 to 20 minutes to speed up the overnight drying process.
The result in the morning is similar to a twistout, but without the hassle of washing, conditioning, detangling, and styling for hours. Altogether, the wash-n-go to sleep shouldn’t take you more than an hour to an hour and a half.
The Wash-n-Go . . . Dry
It has been drilled into our heads that a wash-n-go has to be done on soaking wet hair. According to Tamara Floyd of Natural Hair Rules, soaking wet hair is not necessarily a requirement for a successful wash-n-go.
Following Tamara’s method, section your hair into medium-sized twists and wash as normal. Rinse partially with warm water, followed by a shot of cold water to seal in the moisture. Wrap your hair in an old t-shirt until it is a little drier than damp. At that point, rake a generous dollop of your favorite gel into your hair by section, and style as desired.
I’ve noticed that the results of the wash-n-go dry can vary depending on the gel. My curls were more defined when I used Beautiful Textures Curl Definer Styling Custard, a gel that is more water-based. However, when I used my Clear Ice Ultra Hold protein styling gel, which is much thicker but less flakey, I ended up with a shrunken afro, so maybe there is validity to this soaking wet requirement after all. At least with this method, your hair won’t be dripping wet when you leave the house.
The Wash-n-Go . . . All in the Shower
The wash-n-go all in the shower is inspired by Naptural85’s Most Defined Wash-n-Go, and is the real deal wash-n-go. It is done in the shower on soaking wet hair and it requires minimum styling.
Section your hair and wash and condition as normal. Rinse each section under the showerhead, and while your hair is good and drenched, follow with a generous scoop of your favorite gel depending on how big or small your sections are. If you’re doing it in small to medium sized sections, a quarter-sized amount should be sufficient. If your sections are larger, you want to make sure the entire section is coated thoroughly. To stretch your hair, blow dry first with a diffuser, and finish it off with a concentrator, pulling your hair down and drying at the roots. Make sure you’re pulling your hair down, and not to the side so you’re hair doesn’t look like it was blown all over the place after you’ve finished.
If you’re aiming for that nearly unobtainable wash-n-define, this is the method to try. It shouldn’t take more than an hour and a half; the time will come with the drying. There may be some frizz, but you’re a 4C natural; you’ve learned to embrace that.
The Wash-n-Go . . . Screw it!
The wash-n-go screw it is the style that works best for me and my busy schedule. It began as a quick fix to a botched wash-n-define, hence the name. However, you may recognize it as a simple high puff. Yes, I consider a high puff a wash-n-go. It takes the least amount of effort and is perfect for the ladies who are always short on time. I usually resort to my wash-n-go screw it when I’ve “screwed up” on a wash-n-go, finger coils, or any style that requires a lot of effort. I also use this method when I need to wash my hair and don’t have time to style it, or if my hair is dry and lifeless and I want to quickly revitalize my curls.
If you find yourself in any of these scenarios, co-wash your hair as is (not in twists), combing the conditioner into your hair and letting it sit for a few minutes, and rinsing it out. While your hair is still soaking wet, coat you entire head with your leave-in followed by a generous amount of gel, making sure to smooth your hair in the front, sides, and back, and laying down those edges. Take a stretched out elastic band and pull your hair up into a high puff. Fluff it, pick it, add a little more gel if you want some semi defined corkscrew curls to show, and done! The quickest and easiest wash-n-go done on 4C hair!
These methods may not come to mind when you think of a wash-n-go, but as long as you can wash and go with as little hassle as possible, and still look fly, who cares how you did it, right? Either way, you’re a 4C natural who has finally conquered the wash-n-go, and it didn’t take you seven long days of maximum hydrating or seven long hours of curl defining to do it, either!