Natural Hair

How to Achieve a Poppin’ Wash and Go Every Time!

January 22, 2019
A black woman pulling her naturally curly hair in the mirror

Wash and go’s are the perfect hairstyle to do if you want to show off your natural curl pattern. It has been my main go-to since starting my journey because it’s simple to achieve.

If you want to get the best results every time you attempt this style, there are important steps to follow in your regimen.

In this post, we’re discussing tips that can help you start achieving the perfect wash and go that’s defined, juicy, and long-lasting!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.


How to Achieve a Wash and Go

Freshly Cleansed Hair

Starting with clean hair is a must when you plan on doing a wash and go. If you have product build-up, then you can’t expect to achieve defined results.

Use a good-quality, gentle shampoo that will provide a thorough cleanse for your hair and scalp without stripping its natural oils.

Read this post: 6 Amazing Sulfate-Free Shampoos for Natural Hair to find the best options for your regimen.

Deep Condition

Deep conditioning is one step you should never skip on wash day! It provides the following benefits:

  • Restores moisture
  • Improves elasticity
  • Provides better manageability
  • Strengthens your curls
  • Melts tangles and knots

I recommend using heat while deep conditioning to help the product penetrate your strands more effectively. You can sit under a hooded dryer or use a microwavable cap.

Related Post: 10 of the Best Deep Conditioners for High Porosity Hair

Style on Wet Hair

In order to achieve a poppin' wash and go, make sure you apply your products to soaking wet hair.

If you want to achieve a defined, moisturized wash and go, then I recommend styling on soaking wet hair. I apply my products using the LOC method which stands for:

  • Liquid or Leave-in Conditioner
  • Oil
  • Cream

You want to make sure that you’re applying your products in small sections. Working in smaller sections will ensure that all of your strands are coated and you’ll be able to detangle easier.

It’s also good to keep a Flairosol bottle nearby so that you can rewet your hair when it starts to dry. Every section should be saturated before continuing the styling process. This will help you distribute your products evenly.

Use Gels for Definition

Adding a gel or custard to your wash and go's will ensure you achieve more definition and hold.

One product that’s a must for my wash and go’s is a gel. Gels can provide more definition and hold for your curls.

I apply my gel in small sections using the raking method. There are other techniques you can use such as praying hands or shingling. You have to find what works best for your curls and the look you’re going for.

One of my favorite gels is Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic. This aloe-based product provides long-lasting moisture and a firm hold for your curls without leaving them crunchy.

Related Post: The Best Natural Gels to Use for a Wash and Go

Air Dry or Diffuse

There are different ways to dry your wash and go and you want to choose the best method for your curls. You can air dry, sit under a hooded dryer, or use a diffuser.

While your hair is drying, it’s important to keep your hands out of it. Touching your hair can cause unwanted frizz and shorten how long your style lasts.

I enjoy using a diffuser to dry my wash and go’s. A diffuser is an attachment for your blow dryer that disperses heat without disturbing your natural curl pattern.

This method can provide more volume for your curls, combat shrinkage, and dry your hair faster. My favorite diffuser is from Conair and can be found on Amazon.

Maintaining Your Style

The way you maintain your wash and go throughout the week can determine how long it lasts.

It’s important to protect your hair at night by wearing a satin bonnet or sleeping on a satin pillowcase. These can help you retain moisture, keep your curls intact, and reduce frizz.

I also refresh my hair midweek if it needs a boost of moisture and use a lightweight oil to fluff out my curls.

You have to go through trial and error to figure out what your hair needs to keep your style looking its best!


Following these steps will help you achieve a wash and go that’s moisturized, voluminous, and defined. Remember that it’ll take time to perfect this style, you can’t expect to get amazing results after your first attempt.

Continue to practice and find the best products and techniques that’ll provide the wash and go results you’re looking for.

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6 Comments

  • Reply Consy January 22, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    Great tips. I agree with every single one! I think cleansing and deep conditioning well are the most important. Often times people don’t think certain products didn’t work for them but they cowashed their hair (for example). For me I preserve in a pineapple or loose bun and my bonnet or scarf. Ever since my hair has gotten longer they have become harder to preserve tho. I def cannot get a whole week but I also hate refreshing wash and gos lol it’s just so much manipulation and causes so many knots and tangles for me. I’m sure if I focused more on refreshing I could get them to last longer but I’m ok with it lol

    • Reply Madisen January 22, 2019 at 9:51 pm

      Thank you for reading sis! Yes, co-washing regularly will not give the results you’re looking for, and that goes for ANY natural hairstyle! People do forget that so I’m glad I included those in this post. Lol, I think mine is able to last long because my hair is short/medium-length but I honestly hope it continues to hold up well as my hair grows! Thank you for sharing sis!

  • Reply Jacqui August 31, 2019 at 2:38 am

    Thanks so much for this info.

    I understand now why my wash and gos, whilst good to start with, end up being full of flakes by day 3. I’m not pairing my gel and leave-in conditioner well enough.

    Lately I’ve stopped using leave in, which is probably quite unwise and I’ve been using all Cantu products (except leave-in) to achieve my wash n go’s (ie., their curl activator and curl custard) but as these aren’t completely working for me I need to invest in a better gel and go back to using leave-in.

    Really handy to know how to maintain the style over the course of the week.

    Thanks,
    Jacqui

    • Reply Madisen August 31, 2019 at 9:20 am

      Thank you for reading sis! Depending on the products I use for my wash & go, I don’t always apply a leave in conditioner either. I usually stick with creams since it provides more moisture for my curls. But yes, switch out the products and see what happens from there!

  • Reply Yonela Nkosi March 12, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    Loving the article! I use water and gel and my hair curls pop all day – but I quickly get tired of the crunchiness sometime during the day – which propels me to spritz my hair for a bit of moisture. Will try your method.

    • Reply Madisen March 13, 2021 at 10:33 pm

      Thank you so much for reading! I actually love having crunchy hair, haha, but I know some people use oil to “scrunch out the crunch” so maybe you can try that too! I hope this method helps you also.

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