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?