A step-by-step guide to help you nail the look every single time.
Wash-and-go’s are a popular natural hairstyle for a reason—who doesn’t want moisturized and super voluminous-looking curls? But when it comes to discovering the right combo of products and techniques that work for you, it can be challenging. That’s because it really depends on your individual hair texture and needs, so you should play around with your routine until you figure out what works for you.
It took me a while to find a wash-and-go routine that worked for my curls, so below, I’ve detailed my step-by-step guide in case you’re in need of some general tips to help you fine-tune yours.
Step One: Pre-Shampoo Treatment
This step is optional, but if your curls tend to get dry like mine, I’d consider adding it into your routine. A super-hydrating mask not only protects your hair from drying out during wash day, it also makes it easier to detangle your hair before you shampoo and condition.
Depending on what my hair needs, I’ll either do a quick pre-shampoo mask for about 15 minutes before I hop in the shower or, if my curls are in need of some major TLC, I’ll go to bed with an overnight mask in my hair and start the wash process in the morning. (I wear a shower cap to bed to prevent any residue from ending up on my pillow.)
Step Two: Cleanse your hair
Kicking off wash day with clean hair is a must-do for everyone. I gently detangle my hair before rinsing the treatment out of my hair. Then, I take a couple squirts of shampoo and work up a lather, focusing on my scalp to remove product build up.
Step Three: Work in a conditioner
Conditioner is the ultimate multi-tasking hair product—it works to soften your curls, detangle your hair, and smooth out your texture, making the styling process a breeze.
For this step, I’ll usually separate my hair into four sections before working the product through each section; this helps to ensure that every inch of my hair is fully-saturated in product.
Step Four: Detangle your hair
Then, I reach for a detangling brush—the conditioner provides enough slip to make the process a breeze. I comb through my hair, starting at my ends and working my way up to my roots to prevent potential breakage.
Step Five: Deep condition your hair
Because my curl pattern is thicker, it can be difficult for moisture to penetrate my hair. So to ensure that my hair is fully hydrated, I work in another deep conditioning treatment while my hair is wet and sit under a hooded dryer for about 15 minutes before rinsing out the mask.
Step Six: Layer on a styling product (or two)
You want to add in your styling products while your hair is still wet for more defined curls. The order in which you layer on your gels and creams depends on your unique texture, so it’s going to take a little bit of trial and error. I usually add in a curl cream for some additional moisture and apply a lightweight curl gel before gently finger-coiling my hair for added definition.
Step Seven: Dry your hair
If I have time, I’ll air-dry my hair, but most of the time, I’m in a rush, so I’ll spritz on a heat protectant and diffuse my hair on low-heat. Afterwards, if I notice spots on my hair that could use some sheen—usually my ends—I’ll gently work in a light oil.
Step Eight: Maintain your look
You don’t want to expose your curls to the elements for too long without adding a hydration boost; on days where you want to restore definition, moisture, and volume, spray a curl refresher on your hair and then finger coil the pieces that look a little limp.
When you’re going to bed, loosely plop your curls into a ponytail on top of your head and make sure to sleep in a silk or satin bonnet to keep your curls in tip-top shape.
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@naomielizee
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