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Can You Successfully Wash and Go Long 4B/4C Hair?

Avatar • Feb 23, 2014

loo1

LEFT: Straight almost WSL hair (shot from July 2012). RIGHT: Shrunken, un-combed, damp hair (January 2013).  Shrinkage never ceases to amaze me.  Hair eventually shrinks to EL once dry.

By Chinwe of Hair and Health

Back in January 2013, I took down my set of jumbo twists and tried Cynthiarf’s daily wash-n-go regimen for kinky hair.  Wait!  Hold up.  Yes!  Wash-n-gos on my almost waistlength (at the time), 4b/4c hair.  Following is how it all began, how it went and whether I would ever do it again …

This was back in January 2013 and prior to that month, the last time I recall wearing a wash-n-go was when my hair was around shoulder-length or maybe a little longer than that.  It’s a well-known reality that once your kinky hair got past a certain length, wash-n-gos would become the enemy and bring about mass destruction in its path.  (Okay, that last bit is a tad dramatic but I digress.)

In January, though, I was kind of forced into wash-n-gos.  My jumbo twists had gotten fuzzy, I had undergone a serious surgery and the idea of doing my usual twist routine was not an option – physically. So, it was either experiment with Cynthiarf’s method OR get braid extensions, the latter of which I did not have the money or physical energy to do.  So, I picked the former.  I will admit that I was extremely frightened of getting knots and tangles considering my length and shrinkage.  (See EXHIBIT A — the above photo.)

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After allowing hair to dry some.

To my surprise, the regimen worked out well, and by “well,” I meant without the anticipated matted disaster I was almost certain would happen.  I experienced very little knotting and tangling due to Cynthia’s daily finger combing method to remove shed hair.  (The method really only took me about 10 minutes daily tops.) It also helped that my hair was thoroughly detangled prior to the jumbo twists (hence hardly any tangles when starting the routine).  I kept this regimen going for two weeks until I was able to go back to my regular twisting routine.

Since that January, I have kept the wash-n-go as a viable option for the summers, especially when I just want the freedom to have water hit my hair and scalp daily.  However, the massive shrinkage does still scare me, so you won’t really catch me going overboard. I avoid the following when opting for the wash-n-go:

1) maintaining the wash-n-go routine beyond a few weeks,

2) touching my hair in its shrunken state

3) skipping more than one day between finger combing sessions

4) using shampoo during the routine.

Although the knots and tangles are minimal,  the majority of them do occur in the back where my hair is finer so I have to give that area special attention. (Hence, if you have long AND fine 4b/4c strands, I would personally recommend that you be extra cautious if you want to try this method.)

loostr

Stretched wash-n-go (via braids I did not allow to dry all the way).

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Wash-n-go after air-drying throughout the day.  (I swear I can enter a shrinkage contest.  Where’s the application?)

What I probably love most about this method is that it has given me a sense of comfort and confidence in handling and wearing my hair in its completely shrunken state.  Never did I think that would be possible past shoulder length!  Additionally, I like that each day of the routine leads to my hair becoming easier to finger comb.  I believe Cynthiarf alludes to why (as well as why this method works for our hair in general) in this response to her youtube video …

cynrf

So, look forward to the wash-n-go making another appearance at some point this summer!  For those who are interested in trying her method, here is the link to her video tutorial.

Ladies, have you tried Cynthiarf’s method? Does this change your view on wash and gos?

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About Chinwe

Healthy hair care tips and more! http://www.healthyhairbody.com

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sam
sam
6 years ago

I couldnt do wash n gos even if i wanted to id probably end up playing with my hair and it gets tangled.

lv
lv
6 years ago
Reply to  sam

I have learned by biggest problem is me–HIHS. I cannot keep my hands out of my hair

chalise
chalise
6 years ago

i’d thought that wash n gos were not for me either but i revisited them following a flat iron stint. they work well in my son’s 4b/c provided i leave in conditioner, but his hair is still short (about 2–4 inches). glad to see this post. i’ll be keeping it as an option. for his hair i opt for twists, as you do, but for my own I wash n go everyday 🙂 my hair’s never looked or felt better.

Jo
Jo
6 years ago

My hair reaches my armpit when stretched. I tried a detangled wash-n-go this morning and had to deal with a tangled mess tonight. Tangles = me being impatient = breakage :/

Eesh
Eesh
6 years ago

Is there any way to embed this video? I cant see it from my country (Canada) would love to see what it involves. Share the love please!

Brittany Lingard
6 years ago

I feel like if I figured out how to master the wash n go I would love it. After I wash my hair I love how it looks. So I figure I would like a wash n go I tried only 2 times lol and both times it looked horrible.

Check out http://www.curlskinksfashion.com for fashion & natural hair

Caramelcurls
Caramelcurls
6 years ago

First off Chinwe, your hair is GORGEOUS!! I have 4a/b hair and I’m not brave enough to try a wash n go at this point, over 2 years in. I just don’t want to risk the tangling and or knots. I used to do them when I had a TWA. Currently, my hair seems to stay healthy and better moisturized in a stretched state.

Mlle Batifole
Mlle Batifole
6 years ago

Chinwe, your hair is gorgeous and it’s great you found a method that works for you! That being said, I must ask: why is there such a fixation on achieving a successful wash and go? Seriously? Why is there article after article on wash and gos? What is the root of all this? I have been natural for four years. When I started my natural journey I relied on the wash and go. But after awhile I had too many tangles. I then moved on to just keeping my hair stretched when washing and letting my hair dry stretched. I… Read more »

Mary in Md
Mary in Md
6 years ago
Reply to  Mlle Batifole

I would not characterize the desire for 4a/b/c naturals to master the wash & go as an obsession. There are many reasons we want to know if it can be a viable option for us. (1) We want to wear our natural curl pattern without sacrificing the health of our hair. (2) We want the flexibility to leave home before our hair dries and have a look that we are ok with presenting to the world, without waiting for braided, twisted, banded or threaded hair to dry. (3) We want to wear our hair in an out style without going… Read more »

LBell
LBell
6 years ago
Reply to  Mary in Md

I agree with all of this and I’ve been bigging up cynthiarf for a couple of years now, mainly because I was such a HUGE skeptical know-it-all in the beginning and she managed to convince me (and convert me). 🙂 Simply put, I love the ease and freedom of WNGs…so much so that when I BC’d for the fifth time in early 2010 I was ready to keep my mostly-4b hair TWA-length for the long haul. I had been natural for 15 years by that point and had done pretty much everything I wanted to do with my hair. I was… Read more »

Bridget J.
Bridget J.
6 years ago
Reply to  Mlle Batifole

Let me first say that I mean this is a nice way, but acceptance is the key word here. Please accept the fact that there are naturals who would like to have the option of a wash and go. Not all naturals, but some.

tina
tina
6 years ago
Reply to  Mlle Batifole

You hit the nail on the head. What really are they trying to prove. They’re over rated

Mlle Batifole
Mlle Batifole
6 years ago
Reply to  Chinwe

You’re welcome and the compliments are well deserved 🙂 I’ve always enjoyed your other articles and I certainly did not want my question to be an insult towards you. Or any wash go ladies!! My last wash and go was borderline traumatic because several sections of my hair were so tangled (even though I just lovingly detangled my hair!!) that I had to cut those sections…so after that I stuck to stretched out styles. Thank you for your kind response. I certainly understand the need for different hassle-free hair styles/routines. 🙂

jl
jl
6 years ago

a wash-n-go is nothing but a tangled fro for me. They look cute on type 3 hair maybe a few 4a because their hair clumps into spiral curls but I don’t have the type of hair for a wash n go. its not even a wash n go because I have to detangle, moisture and seal my hair if it gets wet or it will turn into a tangled tumbleweed. I tried it back in the day and it just have me knots and breakage. Even if i combed it out and put gel in it, it doesnt come out… Read more »

Tyler
6 years ago

Wow, I have to say that IS the most extreme shrinkage I’ve ever seen.

Tyler
http://www.onelittleblackdress.com

Bumper1959
Bumper1959
6 years ago

I have yet to see a ‘wash and go’ on mid length to long 4b/c hair (my hair type by the way) that I personally think looks attractive or appealing. I’d rather put the extra work in and have a style I can live with. When I had major surgery I just left my hair in twists until I had the energy to deal with it. With the ‘wash and go’ you have to ensure you finger detangle it at least every other day, which still sounds like a lot of work to me.

MimiPanda
MimiPanda
6 years ago

a wash and go doesn not mean “Curls” it means wash and go with whatever your pattern is, therefore anybody can do a wash and go. But, regardless of what hair type you are, if you realise a wash and go actually means “wash and tangle” (you are essentially working with your hair at MAXIMUM shrinkage) you may want to give up and try again some other time. i don’t think i’ll ever try it though, there are various patterns, densities and strand thicknesses all over my head and they don’t all go from loose to coily or coil to loose in… Read more »

Aileen
6 years ago

This article is actually a pleasant one it assists new the web people,
who are wishing in favor of blogging.

Mazeratie
Mazeratie
6 years ago

I’m the exact opposite. Wash-n-go is ALL I ever do b/c I don’t see the point in wasting all the time setting my hair when I usually don’t get up with the desired result. The extent of my styling expertise is the occasional puff. But everyone has their go-to style and has to learn what works best for them. Online tuts and articles can act as guidance, but no one will truly know what works for you but you.

Deedeemaha
Deedeemaha
6 years ago

I was thinking that because 4 b/c hair shrinks so much, rather then do a wash and go on my 14 inches of hair, I would prefer to cut it. Maybe cut 4 inches off. I would only do this if I want to wash and go often. Or I would just wear it and not worry about breakage like they did in the seventies.

NubianPrize
NubianPrize
6 years ago

I have 4a/b hair & I just use shampoo, Knot Today, & KinkyCurly Custard. I get a lot of little spiral curls. So far haven’t tried any other method
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/016.JPG[/img]

C in Colorado
C in Colorado
6 years ago

Beautiful hair. 4a/4b hair is truly wondrous when you think about the seemingly infinite coils and twists in each strand. (Imma ’bout to get all
string theory quantum physics‑y up in here!)

 Sometimes I ponder our use of the word “shrinkage” when the natural/default state of some of our amazing hair textures is in fact tightly coiled.  Maybe we should speak of “lengthage” (lol) to describe when we straighten or stretch (heat or heat-less methods) our hair’s regular coils?  Don’t know if I’m making any sense 🙂

lablooplah
lablooplah
6 years ago
Reply to  C in Colorado

good point lol

Always
Always
6 years ago

Today I did a wash and go on my 3c to 4c twa(mostly 4a/b) and my mother didn’t like it but I bet if I had some looser texture she would of thought different

CommonSense
CommonSense
6 years ago

She should use a thick leave-in conditioner and while in the shower use the product and pick it through from root to tip with a pick. The coils/curls will be more defined. But it has to be a good and thick leave-in conditioner!

lablooplah
lablooplah
6 years ago

I think I have 4c hair (i say i think cuz this hair typing system is so confusing to me) I have tiny ringlets, smaller than 4a ringlets, and this is the dominant curl pattern on my head apart from some larger coils on some parts, and i still do wash and goes. Usually i get the most compliments when i do a wash and go than anything. But i dont think anyone who wants to grow out their hair with kinkier hair should do it. But who knows?

NubianPrize
NubianPrize
6 years ago

Did I miss something? She mentioned using a product 7 then said it’s formula changed, But what was the product?

Maitriyi
Maitriyi
6 years ago

For the past year, I’ve been doing WNGs, which have saved my hair. This is going to be a long post, but hopefully it will help the skeptics. A bit about my hair: I have dense, coarse, very tightly coiled nappy 4abc (yes, all of it, lol) hair that shrinks 75 percent of its length. My hair always *looks* like a TWA, even though it varies in length (past nose in the front, chin-length on the sides, parts of the nape reach past shoulder). My hair is low/normal porosity; the individual strands are fine. From a distance my hair does… Read more »

chalise
chalise
6 years ago
Reply to  Maitriyi

wow reading this i felt like you echoed my regimen to a tee. i love what you said about the purpose of the WNG. I do my detangling just as you described, under the water fall of the shower every day. i just use my fingers and target bunched sections, and i smooth the conditioner into my hair, running my fingers down the clumps to encourage cohesion and unity. i remove any tangles i feel using my fingers only. I do this everyday because my second day hair is usually dry and the curls misshapen, but i don’t mind, because… Read more »

Gurlll
Gurlll
6 years ago
Reply to  Maitriyi

This is what I’ve been trying to tell people. I’ve been doing wash n gos my whole time natural and I have 4B/4C hair. In my opinion, 4C hair doesn’t exist, and is just 4B hair, but I won’t go into the details … While I don’t wash, condition, and detangle my hair everyday. I do it every week/2 weeks/or a month. And then I do the same method. I shampoo,condition,finger detangle, air dry and let it go.… My hair has thrived. It’s below BSL in the back and APL in the front and that’s only 3.3 years of hair growth…… Read more »

tolu
tolu
6 years ago
Reply to  Gurlll

I want to know what you mean by “4c hair doesn’t exist” because I know than when wet my hair (crown area) could be considered 4b because it’s looser but as soon as it dries it is waaaaaaay kinker and tighter than 4b hair. I’m not attacking you or anything, I just want to know what you mean?

Maitriyi
Maitriyi
6 years ago

By the way, I’m SO glad you posted this. You’ve really helped dispel a lot of the misinformation circulating on Youtube (and even here) about what natural hair can and cannot do. You hair looks gorgeous and you’ve proven that wash-and-go, done PROPERLY, does work and that one need not be a slave to protective styling. My hair shrinks just like yours (maybe more, lol). 🙂

NubianPrize
NubianPrize
6 years ago

I just use two KinkyCurly products : WEN fig, knot today( or Kimmaytube mix), & Curl Custard in spring & summer & call it a day. NO WAY, JOSE IN THE WINTER ! I get wonderful little 4a curls even tho I,too, have conundrum hair . It can look like 4 a, b, or c depending on what I put in it or WHAT MOOD IT’S IN !!

curlyBlue
curlyBlue
6 years ago

What is a sealant? I see that term all the time and Im still confused as to what it does, what’s its purpose, if my hair needs it if so where can I get it.

Ellie
Ellie
6 years ago

WOW. I love your shrinkage. I think it’s beautiful, God gifted us with versatility ^^

Gloria
Gloria
6 years ago

I love your video, it actually encourages me to keep doing wash and gos because I am very busy and it is a low manipulation hairstyle for my 4b hair.

Hannah
6 years ago

Ohhhh I love her texture, such tight curls plus lovely and long!

Jei
Jei
6 years ago

Thank you for this~! My hair is super thick and I’ve always had trouble with tangles and wash n goes once it got past the twa phase. Seeing your video makes me want to give it a go again. I second what someone said about shrinkage. I don’t understand why it gets so much hate. How many other hair types are so versatile- from short crop like styles when wet to bra strap and beyond lengths when stretched. It’s like magic (and a lot of fun to play with ^^)

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