Let me start by saying, don’t let my title mislead you. I don’t believe there is a one size fits all wash and go. There are too many curly hair variations for one thing to work for all curly girls. That being said, I am going to share my favorite wash and go routine that works best for my hair.
I am biracial and grew up with my white mother. Bless her heart, she did her best trying to keep my hair up, but it proved too great a challenge for both of us combined. Growing up, I spent summers with braids all over my head and the rest of the year with a miserable, knotted bun. Dealing with my hair became a chore which caused me to dread hair care, and avoid it completely, when possible. When I tell you I didn’t even know what a wash and go was until last year, I’m sadly telling you the truth.
In early 2018, I worked at a job that had two other curly girls (one 3b/3c and the other 4a), and both of their hair always looked great. They had gone to a curly hair specialist and came back with haircuts to die for, and their curls were poppin’. Not going to lie, I was a little jealous. Right then and there, I decided I had to get in with this woman and pray that she can transform my dry, damaged curls. Her earliest appointment was six months out! You know what they say though, good things come to those who wait. Needless to say, I stocked @faithincurls Instagram praying for an earlier opening in her schedule and finally lucked out. I have type 3C curls, usually (by usually, I mean always) on the drier side, and my stylist not only cut my hair and did a wash and go, she actually took the time to teach me how to do everything myself at home. After a year of trial and error, I finally found what works best for me and my curls.
Wash And Go Steps
If only the “wash and go” only consisted of those two steps, I’d have a lot of extra time for activities. My routine starts well before I actually wash my hair.
Step 1: Finger Detangle
I do whatever I can to prevent breakage. For me, the best way is to detangle my hair with my fingers only, no comb! I usually but some hair oil on my fingers and just gently and slowly pull apart any tangles. This makes it so when I do fully detangle later in the wash and go, it is much easier and less breakage happens. Sit back, relax, watch an episode of your current Netflix binge-worthy series, and glide through those curls!
Step 2: Pre-Wash Treatment
Once I have done as much as I can detangling without any brushes or combs, I always use a ‘pre-wash treatment’ of some sort. My current favorite and the one I will be using regularly going forward was actually a Christmas gift from a fellow curly girl. For super detailed instructions on how to use this specific hot oil treatment, click here. Once the treatment is fully melted and ready to go, I put it all over my hair and scalp. Once it’s covering every strand, its shower cap time. I always use the cheap dollar store caps since any treatment or mask I use is going to ruin it anyway. I tried buying a nice cute one, but after one hair mask, I just threw it away anyways. With the cap on, I massage the treatment into my scalp for a few minutes and overall let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
Step 3: Wash and Condition (or Co-Wash!)
Now, it’s finally time! Once the treatment has sat on my hair long enough, the next step is to wash my hair. I always go for DevaCurl when it’s in the budget, but on a month where I might not have as much to spend, Maui Moisture is a super affordable product perfect for curly girls! The Maui Moisture can be bought almost anywhere, even Walmart and is generally less than $7 per bottle. For most wash and go’s, I use shampoo and follow with conditioner. Once a month, I use a co-wash instead. Hair is always the first thing I do in the shower, that way I can put the conditioner on and let it sit while I complete all other shower tasks.
Step 4: Hair Mask
I found that I get the best results with my wash and go when my hair is super moisturized. And what better way to ensure that than by doing a hair mask! Again, anything DivaCurl is what I usually go for but love trying new masks. For this step, just use whatever your favorite mask is. The photo above shows some of my current favorites. Let it sit for whatever amount of time the directions say.
Step 5: Curling Cream
Similar to step 4, you will need to do some trial and error to see what curl cream works best for you! As of lately, I use Cantu coconut curling cream. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s highly moisturizing! Who wants dry, frizzy curls after spending the time to do the wash and go? You can use the raking method or praying hands while separating the hair into small sections. I’m definitely partial to praying hands. Just be sure to get your cream on every piece of hair!
Step 6: Hold it together!
Once the hair is fully saturated in moisturizing cream, its time to secure the goods. For this step, I do not stray from using the tried and true Arc Angel Gel by DevaCurl. Since I work in the beauty industry, I always have access to a CosmoProf card, meaning I can buy salon sized bottles at the price of the smaller ones usually sold by retailers. I always buy my gel in bulk! Use 2-3 pumps and spread evenly through your hair. For best results, flip your head over and scrunch while upside-down. I usually put a little extra on my front sections, as I am prone to frizziness there first.
FINAL STEP: Dry
If you’ve made it this far, you’re on your way to amazing hair! Most curly girls who do wash and go finish with a diffuser… I am a fan of the good old air dry technique. It can obviously be a little inconvenient, but it works well for me. Be sure not to touch your hair until its fully dry to prevent frizzing. Once completely dry, I like to put my fingers in my hair, near the scalp, and give it a good fluff!