The term “wash and go” left me confused in the past. It seemed elusive, created by the gods and goddesses who created the curly girl method before my time. I’d see it written on the blogs and curly sites and think to myself, “what is this… and am I doing it right?” It made me nervous, too. My curl anxiety radar on high alert, I’d wonder, “where should I be going after I wash? How does one just wash and just go? What about all the steps in between my wash and dry!? Surely my curly brothers and sisters had not found some magical shortcut to eliminate the hydrating, sectioning and meticulous application needed for my plumped juicy curls!? Had they? I needed to get in on this magic!
Luckily I get to work with dozens of curly coifs on the daily and I have made some real peace with the term wash and go.
So what does it mean…really? The simple answer is, it’s personal! Every curly interprets this differently! Whew!
I personally think of it like I have since I was a kid as just “doing my hair.” Every couple of days, I treat my expanded curls to a familiar routine which involves dragging myself into the shower with at least an hour and a half to “do my hair” from start to finish. My routine always depends on the condition that my curls are in to start with. How dry/tangled are they? Have I been in a bun for two days? Is this four day hair? These things determine the amount of product I will use and how much time I will spend fighting *cough cough* to detangle as I wash.
I wash twice with small amounts of cleanser, followed by a serious round of raking with conditioner, and finish by using my WET brush to smooth my situation to perfection. WET brushing is always optional, but I have used a similar tool since I was eleven to clump and smooth with my conditioner in. I typically leave a very small amount of conditioner in and trickle rinse some extra water in before I clip my hair up.
I do my hair at my bathroom sink and use my mirror. I section, and clip, and work from the bottom up. I apply a moisturizer, followed by more water, and then seal with a gel of my choice. I repeat this in every section.
Sometimes I blot and scrunch certain sections. I always shake and finish by sitting under my hooded dryer on high for around 15 minutes, sometimes taking breaks in between for child wrangling or makeup. Get yourselves a hooded dryer, people! It allows you to coffee sip and phone flip to your heart’s content! My hair is usually about 75% dry when this is all finished and I air dry the rest of the morning. It’s rare, but I may diffuse a little after this, if I’m feeling extra spicy.
So basically a “wash and go” for me means completing a full moon cycle from wash to dry. This enables me to get solid multiple-day curls. Yep, it’s work but I try and learn something new each time I do my hair. Have fun with it curl-friend and don’t sweat the terminology!