I just can’t do a good wash & go to save my life! Do you do them? How do you do yours, what process?
As someone submitted as a natural hair problem a while ago, a wash-n-go isn’t really a wash-n-got for many naturals, myself included. My process isn’t the simplest out there, but it works well for me, which is good because it’s pretty much the only hairstyle I can do. Here’s what I do and what I use:
1. Pre-poo. If my hair is feeling particularly dry, and I don’t have an insane amount of product already in it, I’ll start off with a pre-poo using Cantu Shea Butter Leave In. I ONLY USE THIS when I know for sure I’ll be washing with a sulfate shampoo; conditioners and no-poo shampoos will not remove this product from your hair due to all the silicon in it. (If you’re against using products with silicon in them, avoid this at all costs; you can use any oil or water based moisturizer to pre-poo). I’ll wet my hair, either in the shower or with a spray bottle in sections (9 times out of 10 I go for the spray bottle to save water). Then, in sections, I apply a generous amount of Cantu, then comb it though with my Denman brush, detangling. Since my hair is so curly, I comb it out 2 or 3 times during the entire process to make sure the product is getting in and around all my strands really well, and to make sure that my curls are as defined as possible in the end—when it curls up, it’s kind of hard to work with, and detangling helps me manage. I usually only do this step about once a month.
2. Wash. I wash my hair once a week with a sulfate shampoo to remove all the stuff I put in it over the course of 7 days. As I’ve said before in an entry here, I don’t really care about shampoo as far as brand is concerned. Right now I’m using Herbal Essences Color Me Happy shampoo because it smells good, I caught it on sale, and I needed something to try and love up on these lazy color treated ends of mine (note: I recommend using products for color treated hair all the time, even if your hair isn’t colored, because they’re supposed to have extra conditioners and nourishers to care for colored hair. surely that can’t hurt uncolored hair!) I don’t co-wash my hair very much because it usually comes out looking a limp, funky tragedy. When I do, it’s usually because my hair is an extra special mess or I tried a hairstyle that failed and I don’t have time for my full wash routine.
3. (Deep) Condition. I deep condition my hair once a week. I usually use a mixture of my favorite conditioner, which is Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Conditioner, and whatever oil I happen to be using at the moment, or a mixture of my favorite conditioner and an expressly formulated deep conditioner. Two that I’ve tried and liked (or at least didn’t hate) are Darcy’s Botanicals’ Deep Conditioning Mask (which I didn’t hate but wasn’t too impressed with) and Shea Moisture’s Deep Treatment Masque (which I actually really liked). Whatever else I use, my Trader Joe’s is always the staple. After rinsing the shampoo from my hair, I slather on my deep conditioning product/s while my hair is very wet (the product usually soaks up the water very quickly) and again comb it through in sections with my Denman brush (if I already detangled during my pre-poo, this next detangling is very quick and easy on the hair, so I don’t worry much about breakage or excess shedding. This may not work well for everybody, but it works for me).
When I’m too lazy to deep condition or just don’t feel like I need it, I take my Trader Joe’s conditioner, use as regular, and rinse out (I have a special bottle of TJ’s Nourish conditioner that I use only as a rinse-out that I’ve boosted with flax seed oil, honey, and a little lemon juice. I finger comb it through my hair while in the shower, WHICH I HATE DOING BECAUSE IT TAKES FOREVER).
4. Rinse & style. After rinsing well with warm water, I always follow with a cold water rinse to seal the hair cuticle and (supposedly) add extra shine and sheen to the length of my hair. I actually don’t know that this makes a difference on my hair, but I read it somewhere once and have been doing it ever since, just in case. I wring my hair dry as best I can, then wrap it up in a towel to let it soak up the excess water. I don’t worry about frizz, because I’ll wet my hair with a spray bottle again. Then I section my hair and get ready to start applying my products and comb it out one more time. Those products are, always in this order:
- A Leave-In. I take a section and wet it with my spray bottle—to get the best curl definition, I HAVE to apply product while my hair is wet. Not sopping and dripping, but more than damp to the touch. The moisturizing products I put in my hair help to lock in the moisture, helping to make the curls look as much like they do when they’re wet as possible. I’m currently using Kinky-Curly’s Knot Today. I put it on my hair and comb it through quickly with my Denman.
- Moisturizer. Next, I apply whatever moisturizer I’m using on top of the Leave-In. Right now, I am in absolute and total love with Syd & Mea’s Finishing Slick, which I reviewed here. It’s amazing (the winner of my Syd & Mea’s giveaway loves it too–read her review here!). When I don’t have that, I use Karen’s Body Beautiful’s Butter Love. It works just as well, but I much prefer Syd & Mea’s.
- Holder. The last step is a product to give my curls a little hold and help fight frizz (though the Syd & Mea’s Finishing Slick does a GREAT job at minimizing frizz on its own for my hair). A gel, a pomade, something like that. I don’t use a lot, because I’m afraid of it drying hard and ending up looking like a Jheri Curl. My favorite holder is Fantasia IC Gel with Sparklites for Color Treated Hair, but right now I’m using Darcy’s Botanicals’ Curling Gelly. I only use an itty bitty teeny tiny bit.
Now my final step depends on what typed of curls I want to have. If I want a finish that is more afro than coily curls, I just fluff the section, shake it out a bit, and let it do what it does. But I usually prefer a finish with longer, more defined coils, so what I do is comb the section through once more with my Denman to smooth it all out, then rake my comb my fingers through the section. This will cause the curls in my hair to clump up, latch on to each other and form bigger, more defined curls.
So, it’s not really a wasn & go. It’s a wash, do lots of other stuff, and THEN go. Hope this helps!