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6 Tips to Reduce Tangles and Knots on 4C Wash and Go’s

• May 21, 2015

In the summertime, I personally love the freedom of being able to wet my hair every other morning, without having to re-style my hair. However, the wash-n-go can come with a price for many of us, and that price is a horrible detangling session at the end of wearing it. If you are 4C and want to wear wash-n-gos this spring or summer, here are a few tips to help reduce tangles and knots:

1. Co-wash to create your wash-n-go; don’t shampoo

Imagine shampooing your hair completely loose. No sectioning. No braids. No twists. If you cringe just thinking about that, then you know where I’m going with this. Speaking from personal experience, shampooing your way to a wash-n-go may yield tangles galore, especially if you have fine, long, and/or dense 4C strands. Alternatively, co-washing your way to a wash-n-go with a slip-inducing conditioner can allow for strands to slide past each other and clump a bit. Another option is to use a purification masque, like DiscoveringNatural does in the following video, followed by a conditioner:

2. Fingercomb your strands BEFORE rinsing out the conditioner

This step is key to reducing tangles and knots because the running water (and conditioner) will help to lengthen the strands. Fingercombing then helps to remove shed hair and any small tangles. Depending on the length and density of your hair, this process should not take long if your hair has been previously detangled. (In other words, I do not recommend doing this on hair that is a knotted mess; that will just be asking for trouble.) Though Cynthiarf isn’t 4C, I find that this method she describes works really well:

3. Use gel to lock in the style (optional, but helpful)

Using gel is not so much for definition but for locking the 4C strands in place so as to reduce tangling. (Keep in mind that some gels can leave a white cast on top of certain conditioners. Read Jc’s How to Stop Gel From Flaking for more information.) NaturalMe4C demonstrates how to distribute the gel through 4C hair (starting at 1:35):

4. Don’t manipulate your hair afterwards

Once you’re done washing, leave your strands alone. Don’t play in your hair. Don’t pull at your hair. Don’t rub your hair. Manipulation after rinsing and setting your hair will just lead to tangles and knots.

5. Don’t wear your wash-n-go for too long

How long you can wear your wash-n-go without heading into tangle city depends on how fine, long, and dense your 4C hair is. (My maximum wear is around 3–4 days.) I suggest starting small and wearing your style for 1–2 days. Gradually stretch that period for the next few wash-n-gos until you have a good idea of what your maximum wear is.

6. … Or just fake the wash-n-go with a “dry” version

If you want the wash-n-go look without the wash (AND with more definition and length), check out Geri’s dry version, which lasted her five days:

How do you wear your wash-n-go?

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6 years ago

I’m so jealous of people who can do wash and gos. I’m majority 4a and wash and goes just don’t workout for me. I will continue to try though. Maybe one day it will click.

6 years ago
Reply to  Tabatha

I have 4a hair and the Anthony Dickey Wash and Go (there’s a youtube video on it) really works for me. I don’t get tangles or ssks when using his method and it only takes me 15 minutes from start to finish. And it really defines the 4a curl pattern without much work 🙂

6 years ago

Wash and gos do not work for me, either.

Hair Anomaly
Hair Anomaly
6 years ago

These are great tips! I wash and go my type 4 hair every day (yes, even in the winter). The key is to perform a gentle detangling of the hair throughout the entire process, from the moment water touches the hair, throughout the wash and condition process, and during product application. I’ve developed a nice scalp massage/finger shimmy move that works out tangles and removes shed hair. After I rinse the conditioner, while my hair is drenched with water, I add a little leave in, then add a bit more water to work the leave in through thoroughly. Finally I add… Read more »

6 years ago

What a timely post! Wash n gos work for this 4c woman. I need them in the summer because once that humidity hit I ain’t twitsting nothing. My hair stays puffy and fro‑y all summer long and I just go with the flow and enjoy my fro at its finest. The wash n go fro is one of my favorites because of the shrinkage and how it showcases your true texture. Plus now that I have a tapered cut tangles rarely happen and I’m taking full advantage while it lasts lol. I’m going to be experimenting with various techniques all… Read more »

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