Mastering my Wash and Go: A Natural Milestone 7 Years in the Making
In 2008 I was in the full swing of being natural. Experimenting with everything from twists, braid outs, straight hair, to the ever-popular and often practical wash and go. I would apply a leave in, quickly smooshing it through four voluminous sections of my incredibly thick and very curly hair, or leaving in literally every precious drop of my detangling conditioner without washing it out. My hair would be big, soft, and kind of defined for a day or two, but when day three rolled around, the dryness and tangles would begin to return hardcore. After transitioning from an ill-advised texturizer in 2009 and being natural again here in 2012, I think I’ve finally cracked the code of the ideal wash and go after lots of trial and error. Here are a few things I’ve changed in my routine that have made a wonderful difference in helping me achieve a defined, moisturized, and relatively tangle-free wash and go (that lasts a full week to boot! )
1. Start with a well moisturized foundation
I make sure that I cleanse my hair before every wash session now, usually once a week for a wash and go style and every two weeks when I’m doing a protective style. I use either a sulfate free shampoo, cleansing conditioner, or my new favorite, shampoo bars. I then deep condition with a silicone free conditioner for at least two hours. Happy, well conditioned hair leads to longevity of my wash and go since moisture retention is increased from the very beginning of my styling session.
2. Moisturize and seal
This crucial change in my styling routine is probably the one that I credit most to finally being able to rock a successful wash and go. After applying my leave in to about ten sections of hair in order to ensure even distribution of product, I go back and seal my hair with a nice emollient butter, such as avocado, hemp, or sweet almond. I used to use oil to seal, but I find that the weight of a butter helps to provide a buffer and decrease single strand knots from forming because of my hair rubbing against my clothes, as well as keep my hair smooth and moisturized longer. The butter also helps to decrease the slight crunch I get from the use of my stylers and my hair is touchably soft.
3. Apply Styler of choice in small sections
Two gels that I have been loving lately are Curl Junkie Pattern Pusha and Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic. These medium hold gels help to “freeze” my curls into place and my hair stays full and defined throughout the week, no need for restyling. Applying to small sections helps me to concentrate the product and make sure no strand is left behind!
4. Nightly/Daily maintenance
The pineapple has been a lifesaver for me at night. Before, I would smush and wrangle my hair into a bonnet with some of my scarves, and wake up with a Frederick Douglass-esque mullet that called for tons of shaking. Now before bed, I use my trusty satin covered, straight out of the 80’s scrunchie to gather all my hair into a high ponytail on top of my head, cover with scarves and a bonnet for good measure, and go to sleep. This method prevents any smooshing, and leaves my hair with tons of volume, keeps some of the frizz at bay, and also prevents shrinkage due to the high ponytail. I usually don’t have to do anything as far as daily maintenance until day five, when I start to gets a tiny bit of dryness and flyaways. I use a very light oil, like jojoba or camellia on my nape and over my hairline and canopy to add shine.
That’s it! A few simple changes have made all difference to me being able to enjoy wearing my hair in a wash and go! I’ve been enjoying them so much this summer that I’m already plotting and thinking how I can tweak my routine to carry them into the Fall and Autumn! Come check out my YouTube channel for some fun hair chat as well Curlypad! Happy wash and gos ladies!