Hair healthy? Check! Products on point? Check!* Congratulations, you are ready to move on to Process, the third ‘P’ in our 5 P’s of Mastering the Wash & Go. Follow these guidelines and you’re only steps away from earning your PhD (Perfect Hair Day) in the Art of the Wash & Go.
- Start with freshly washed, detangled hair. When your hair is wet, cleansed, and free of build up, it is most receptive to moisture. If you wash your hair and still feel that there is build up (indicated by a waxy feeling, flaking, etc), you may need to do an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse or other safe clarifying treatment.
- Work on wet hair. And we mean wet, not damp. Keep a mister close by so that you can add more moisture as needed. We love the Flairosol Mister for it’s continuous spray, ease of action, and sleek design.
- Apply product in small sections. The tighter your curl pattern and the thicker your hair, the smaller the section. If in doubt, go with about a 1″ section. Use clips to make sure you don’t lose track of your spot.
- Start with moisturizer. Once you determine which moisturizer is the best fit for you (see our previous post), apply that product before anything else touches your hair. This will get your curl to ‘pop’. Make sure you can easily rake your fingers through from scalp to ends. If you hit snarls or tangles, gently loosen them.
- Create a curl ‘cast’ with a defining product. For most this will be a gel, like Just Gel, defining serum, like Hold Up, or, in the case of coarse, resistant hair, a very sticky butter, like Emollience. And, yes, you do need some sort of cast-creating product if you want your Wash & Go to last for more than a few days.
- Ribbon Your Hair. This is perhaps the most obscure, but also the most important step. Applying your defining product is the moment to ensure that your curl families (or ribbons) are grouped in their natural formations. Smooth through the 1″ section in vertical subsections with two fingers. You’ll see the ribbons appear like strings on a harp as in the picture above. Simply smooth the defining product through each ribbon from root to tip.
- Dry carefully. You have options, depending on your lifestyle and hair type. T-Shirt Towel material (such as the new Moxie Versa-towel, coming soon to our website and available in store) is best, as it dries without frizzing the hair. You can also air dry, diffuse dry (with medium settings) or hood dry (best).
- Do not Disturb! Whatever you do, do not mess with your curls until they are fully dry! This includes sleeping. If you must go to bed before your hair is dry, ensure that your hair is protected with a satin bonnet.
You’re done! Now it’s just about keeping your awesome curls alive with the last 2 P’s: Practice and Protection. Remember, Rome was not built in a day. Becoming a Wash & Go Pro takes time. If you have less-than perfect results on your first attempts, learn from your mistakes and move on. As far as Protection, treat your hair like a delicate thread that tangles easily. Protect it from friction with non-snagging materials like satin, and use techniques like pineappling to supplement your night-time routine. You got this!
*If not, you can read our previous two posts to get those steps done.
Does this sound familiar? You watched ALL the Youtube demos, read ALL the blogs, and followed ALL the instructions, but your Wash & Go is still a fail? The good news is that it’s not you, it’s your product. Despite the glut of ‘curl friendly’ products on the market, finding the ones that work for you can be a very time consuming and expensive process. Your hair, like you, is unique. Assuming that all curly hair is the same or even that all ‘4C’ hair is the same is about as accurate as saying that all hair is the same. Clearly, it’s just not true. Just because your favorite Youtuber has hair that looks like yours doesn’t mean that her holy grail products will work for you.
But don’t get discouraged by failure. Just because you haven’t yet mastered the Wash & Go of your dreams, doesn’t mean it’s out of reach. You just need products that actually fit your hair type. Any Natural, regardless of curl pattern, can rock a Wash & Go. And, believe it or not, finding your perfect match is more a matter of science than luck. Following this simple method, you can hone in on your core products AND achieve the curls of your dreams without losing your mind or busting your budget.
- Find your Perfect Moisturizer
While a good gel or sealant may be a useful tool in your wash-and-go routine, the key to popping the curl is honing in on the right moisturizer. As in most things, it’s best to work methodically, not impulsively. Buying a product off the shelf without doing your research is like trying to find your dream house by throwing a dart at the map. You might get lucky, but the odds are against you. If you can first target your neighborhood, your chances of success improve exponentially. So what type of moisture ‘neighborhood’ should you live in? Normal to oily hair needs a lightly moisturizing definer, such as Sweet Poof or Mane Tame, that relies on proteins to rather than a full fledged moisturizer. Normal to dry hair can vary in compatibility and may prefer a highly humectant, water-based moisturizer, like Oasis Moisture Gel, or crave a creamy combination of oil and water, such as Everyday Leave-in. Dry, thick hair inevitably needs a rich and possibly layered combination of butters, oils and water. You’ll know when you see the right fit. Your curl shape will be consistent, your hair will feel silky and smooth, and your individual curls will separate easily into defined clusters.
- Create a Curl Cast
Now that your curl is defined and moisturized, lock in that shape and seal out frizz with a compatible defining product. We use Hold Up Defining Serum for most of our clients, from high to low porosity, when we need a very strong hold. Just Gel Styling Concentrate is preferable for those that prefer a softer feel or have more flake-prone hair. Always apply the gel or serum of your choice immediately after the moisturizer, keeping hair wet while you work. While moisturizer can be raked through the hair in 1″ to 4″ sections, we recommend ‘ribboning’ the defining product by smoothing it along each individual curl family. (We’ve demonstrated this technique in a number of videos, but you can check it out here for a quick overview). Coarse, resistant hair types that tend to feel hard even without a gel should skip this step and move on to Step 3 as a film forming gel will provide limited benefit while making the hair feel even harder and more brittle.
- Seal It In
For most, this step is an optional finishing step as defining products can usually sufficiently seal the cuticle for Wash & Go’s that will naturally expire in a week or less. On the other hand, it may be essential if your hair is incompatible with gels and/or has a coarser texture. Our preferred sealant for very thick hair is Emollience, which is sticky enough to group and hold coarse hairs in a unified curl, providing a flexible cast, moisture, and shine in one step. For finer hair types, this step can either be skipped altogether or performed with a lighter oil, such as Twist Mist or Hair Bling.
And the good news is, if you do it right, you shouldn’t need to continually re-moisturize your hair throughout the week. When you have products that fit, they do the job on Wash Day and keep your curls moisturized, shiny and defined until the next one rolls around!