by Elle of Quest for the Perfect Curl (pictured above)
When women used to tell me that they “couldn’t” do wash and go’s, I’ll be honest, I kind of gave them a side eye. After all, how can you not do a wash and go? Basically, it just means wearing your hair in the state of your natural texture. In my opinion, it doesn’t require a certain look, curl pattern or length that many women make the focus of this “style” (I don’t even really call it a style because slapping some gel on my hair isn’t styling it to me). However, there is one reason for not wearing wash and go’s that I do understand – tangles. As your hair shrinks in its natural state, your hair strands can become intertwined with one another and cause troublesome knots and mats, making wash and goes near impossible without dire consequences.
I too experienced this issue as my natural hair became longer. Before it began to hang in different directions, I had no issues with wash and go’s. I could even opt to use only conditioner or apply product to my whole head at once. However, as my hair grew, I noticed that my current technique wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to make some changes to avoid detangling for four hours and remain happy with my natural hair. I was always a “wash and go gal.” So opting for alternative styles on a regular basis was not an option. Once I implemented these techniques and tweaks to my wash and go routine, my tangle worries minimized.
1. Wash your hair in sections! If I wash my hair all at once, the curls go all over the place. Clip your hair up using a plastic or non-rust clip and shampoo/conditioner each section separately. I do four sections.
2. Lightly finger detangle your hair before applying product to reduce freezing knots in place. Of course, a full detangling session is most beneficial, but I don’t like to detangle my hair right before doing a wash and go because it breaks up my curls.
3. Apply your products in sections, especially if you have hair as thick as mine! Although, I can prevent frizz by applying product to my hair all at once, the product will not reach the under layers. Applying product in sections helps ensure your hair is thoroughly moisturized. The number of sections you need to do will depend on your length and thickness – I’m good with about eight sections.
4. Make sure you apply product at the roots. Most of my tangles form at my roots. Applying product to my roots makes them easier to work with. This will also help decrease tangling issues when you have shed hair. If you have finer hair, avoid using oils or heavy products.
5. Use a natural, alcohol-free gel. I know that some people are against gel. But when I try to use only conditioner, my hair experiences more shrinkage and tends to knot up like crazy because there is nothing holding my curl pattern in place.
These tips are obviously not the end all be all, but they definitely worked for me and have consistently over the years. Remember, you may need to do some experimenting with your own hair to find what techniques work for you, which is the frustration and fun of having natural hair.
Do you have any tips for decreasing tangles when you wash and go?
Elle is the owner and editor of Quest for the Perfect Curl, a collaborative YouTube channel and blog dedicated to promoting healthy hair through research and the sharing of information. A former product junkie, Elle promotes the importance of product ingredients, knowing your hair properties, and your climate when choosing what products to use on your natural hair. She also frequently explores healthy hair care practices and methods to achieve the “perfect curl,” which to her is big, healthy hair.