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How to Do a Wash and Go That Lasts Up to 4 Days

Avatar • Jun 30, 2015

Can I just say that I’m super excited to talk about wash and go’s? They get such a bad reputation, but honestly I love them. I live in wash and go’s like 98% of the time — so much so that I have become completely inept at other types of styling. Heck, I tried to blow dry my hair a few weekends ago, and caught a hand cramp from holding the dryer after like 45 seconds. But I digress. Back to how I handle my wash and go’s:

1. I honestly should probably do more to prepare my hair for a wash and go. I typically only remember to pre-poo with coconut oil (hey Trader Joe’s) when I’m getting ready to shampoo my hair. I do like a 4:1 ratio between co-washing and shampooing: after 4 co-washes (usually every 5 days or so), the 5th is a shampoo. The only exception to this pre-poo/cleansing schedule is when my hair feels especially dry. Then I’ll pre-poo with a conditioner like TGIN Triple Moisture Replenishing Conditioner.

2. In the shower, it can look like a small beauty supply store if I go a little crazy or I’m trying out new products (gotta have your old faithful ready in case of a #productfail). I try to keep a lid on it and not try more than one new product at once, though. On a typical wash day, I’ll take in the following products into the shower with me (these are my tried and true A1 since day 1 faves):

  • Be Kekoa Be Clean Cleansing Conditioner: If you’ve seen my review or heard me talk about this product on Instagram, you know I call it Bae Clean. This co-wash is EVERYTHING to my hair. I’ve always advocated that good hair days begin on wash day, and this product just proves that. It has theeeeeeee most slip ever in life, kills frizz, smooths hair, and is super hydrating. It cleans the hair well, and gives your scalp a super cool tingle. I can seriously go on forever about this product if you let me.
  • Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask: It’s thick, it’s creamy, it’s dreamy. Seriously, I’ve loved this conditioner since my first jar. It’s super hydrating, smoothing, has great slip and conditioning, but contains enough protein to keep my hair strong between treatments. Everyone that’s bought it on my word loves it. Check out my review here.
  • DIY Mud Rinse: Here folks, is the secret weapon. If you have hair that is prone to frizz, has crazy shrinkage, or just needs a little extra encouragement, try this recipe for my bentonite clay mud rinse. Trust me.
  • Special Treatments: Depending on how my hair feels or what it may need (this hair color things has thrown me for a total loop), I’ll incorporate a treatment like ApHogee Keratin 2‑Minute Reconstructor (review here) or Roux Porosity Control Corrector Conditioner. The Aphogee I use to strengthen my hair and ward off breakage, while Roux is my go-to if my hair starts feeling rough and tangly at the ends. I don’t use them on every single wash day, just as needed for maintenance.
  • Leave-In: I always, always, alllllllllllllways apply my leave-in conditioner while still in the shower. I’ve mentioned this several places, but especially in my 7 Secrets for the Perfect Wash and Go video. Applying your leave-in (and curl definer) on wet hair “locks in” your curl pattern. Which leave-in I use changes depending on my mood (and compatible curl definer #teamnowhiteclumps), but Ouidad Whipped Curls (review here), Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Leave-In, and Soultanicals Mango Dip Detangling Slip (review and demo here) are three of my faves.

 
3. After I hop out of the shower with my leave-in, I head straight to the sink to finish styling. While I’m loading up the shower ledge with product for wash day, I drop off my curl definer of choice at the sink, along with some coconut oil (or whatever oil I happen to be enjoying at the moment). I take a small amount of oil and smooth it through all my hair, concentrating on the ends (because they are the dullest and lose moisture most quickly). Then I section a medium-sized row of hair at the back of my head off, and clip the rest out of the way. I take a generous amount (I’m heavy handed) of curl definer and apply it directly at the roots of the entire section. Then, in smaller sections I go through my hair with more curl definer, alternating between raking and smoothing to work the product through and encourage clumping. You can see it in action in this video. I experiment with other product application techniques (praying hands, rake and shake), but I find myself doing the rake and smooth because it feels the most natural and yields the best results. After I finish the back section, I take more hair down from the clip and define my curls the same way from the back all the way to the front of my head.

4. After I’m done applying product (wash day from beginning to end + applying leave-in and definer takes me 1 hour total), I typically air dry unless I’m in a tremendous rush. Because I live in LA, I have the luxury of generally nice weather and won’t freeze to death if I leave home with wet hair throughout the year. But if I want to diffuse, I follow the steps outlined in this video. Wash day and applying product takes me about an hour, but air drying is pretty much an all-day thing. To me, air dried results last longer (because there’s no manipulation from diffusing), so the payoff is better. My wash and go’s can last 9 days (I’ve had the pleasure of 9 day hair before and it was pretty awesome), but I try not to take it past 5. I work out regularly, which means my scalp needs to be clean, and I have scalp psoriasis that I’m managing. Plus, my hair loves water and keeping it hydrated is super important to length retention, preventing breakage, and maintaining my curl pattern. The more you do wash and go’s the better you get and the better your hair responds.

You can rock a wash and go for as long as you like, or convert it into another style (like a twist out or puff) whenever you want to switch it up. I choose to just start over fresh. Just remember to moisturize (with a spritz, lotion, or cream) at night before bed, and keep your curls protected! If you need some ideas on how to sleep on wash and go curls at night, check out my wig net pineapple, and 2015 nighttime routine.

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Ladies, what is your long lasting wash and go routine?

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About Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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Tabatha
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Tabatha

I wish that I could do wash and goes.

tracena barnwell
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tracena barnwell

For me it would be six days but I use kinky curly custard with knot today leave in, those help me achieve that 5dats or more wash n go styling

Robin
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Robin

I could comfortably go 5 days, but I don’t do that anymore. Daily workouts = at least one water wash a week for my scalp. I don’t usually have to moisturize at night. If I did, I’d end up with product buildup in the morning, and it’d get worse and worse with each nighttime application of cream/oils/etc. The things I add to my hair after a shampoo wash (leave-in conditioner + moisturizer/sealant) are enough product on their own. Besides, putting product on my hair before bed means product will seep into my satin pillowcase, which means it’ll end up on… Read more »

LBell
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LBell

I recently cut my hair so that I could go back to doing WNGs. I had to face the fact that with my hair type — fine mostly-4b coils — I can’t keep doing wet styling and keep length at the same time without a chemical process. Since I’m well and truly done with chemical processes…snip snip snip! I love my new short cut and my WNG is drying as I type… What helps my WNGs to last longer: — Using conditioners/washes that encourage coiling (for me that means cones) — Applying gel in sections to soaking-wet hair — Air-drying… Read more »

Hair Anomaly
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Hair Anomaly

Finally, a fellow 4b with fine spirals who understands the struggle…hair too fine, curly, and porous to manipulate for protective styling for whom wash and gos work well up to a certain length.

I can retain length with my wash and gos for now, but I know that I am reaching the point where I’m going to have to either cut or blow out and straighten my hair.

Shak75
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Even at the hair length that I’m at, I stick with my wash and gos (after trying other things that honestly have not worked for me). My wash and gos last a week. I’m sure I can go longer and simply refresh it especially since I’m not doing a lot of manipulation during the week, but I need to do my full routine at least once a week or I will start losing some strands!

Serene
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Serene

I have multitexture hair, mostly 4a/4c with parts of 3c. I can make my wash and go’s last for three days at most .After that my hair would be very dry. Also, since I have very high shrinkage hair after applying the conditioner and gel, I put my hair in braids to dry and go to sleep. I do braids at night instead of thq pineapple method. By day three in this summer heat, my hair needs more moisture. At times I find it really weird that my hair can look very much like 4c hair until I add condition… Read more »

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