Natural Hair

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

January 22, 2019

Wash and go’s have been my go-to style since returning natural. However, I had no clue how many steps it took to achieve one. I thought it was as simple as putting water on my hair and then -boom- I’m done, but nope!

There are certain steps you need in your regimen if you want to achieve a wash and go that lasts.

I feel like I’ve finally perfected my wash and go and now I’m more confident to share these tips with you. Here are tips you can start practicing so you can achieve a poppin’ wash and go every time!

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How to Achieve a Wash and Go

Freshly Cleansed Hair

Freshly cleansed hair and a clean scalp are a must-have when you plan on doing a wash and go. You can’t expect to achieve defined results if you have product build-up!

Make sure you use a good-quality cleanser. If you use a shampoo that leaves your hair tangled and dry, then you won’t be able to achieve your best results when styling.

Invest in sulfate-free cleansers that won’t leave your hair feeling stripped. A good step to do before shampooing is a pre-poo treatment. I talk about pre-pooing frequently on here, and I believe this step is necessary to have in your regimen.

Related: Sis, You Need to Pre-Poo! Here’s Why.

Deep Condition

It doesn’t matter what style you plan on doing, you should ALWAYS deep condition regularly. This step is necessary if you want healthy, natural hair. Deep conditioning helps to restore moisture, improve elasticity, provide manageability, and strengthen your curls.

While deep conditioning, I’d recommend using heat so the product can penetrate your hair more effectively. I don’t leave mine on longer than 30-45 minutes. Trust me, I know sometimes you feel like skipping this step because you’re not in the mood, however, your hair will benefit from deep conditioning.

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.

This step will vary for every natural, however, I have to apply my products on soaking wet hair if I want my wash and go to be defined and moisturized. I follow the LOC method when styling. If you don’t know what LOC means, it stands for:

  • Liquid or Leave-in Conditioner (adds moisture)
  • Oil (locks in moisture)
  • Cream (prevents moisture loss + adds definition/hold)

You want to make sure the leave-in conditioner you use will provide plenty of moisture. Water (or Aloe Vera Juice) should be the first ingredient in your product for this to happen.

Apply a Sealant

After applying a leave-in conditioner, you want to follow up with your oil of choice. The oil you use will lock in the moisture your leave-in conditioner provides for your hair. If you want to achieve a wash and go that lasts, then it’s important to find an oil that’ll help you retain moisture.

I don’t always use oils when I do a wash and go — it depends on how my hair is feeling!

Use a Gel/Custard for Hold

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

For the last step in your regimen, you want to apply a gel or custard. This will provide more curl definition and hold for your wash and go. I believe using a gel/custard is important for achieving my wash and go’s. I can’t see mine lasting long without one!

When I apply my gel, I use the rake method. I work in small sections to ensure I get the product on every curl before moving on to the next one. There are other methods you can use such as the praying hands or shingling method. You have to find which one works best for your curls!

One of my favorite gels to use for my wash and go’s is Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic. It provides a long-lasting hold and is very moisturizing. I’m able to use this gel as a one-and-done product and still achieve great results. You can find a list of my favorite gels by checking out my blog post below:

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

Air Dry or Diffuse

Thankfully, air drying doesn’t take long for me since I have high porosity hair, however, I know it can be a pain in the butt for others! While air-drying your wash and go, keep your hands out of your hair!

If you continue to touch your hair while it’s drying, it can cause unwanted frizz and shorten how long your style will last. Another option if you don’t like air drying is using a diffuser. I’ve been using a diffuser more often to dry my wash and go’s. I find that using a diffuser provides more volume for my style and also lessens the amount of shrinkage I have.

I purchased my diffuser off of Amazon. The blow dryer came with a diffuser attachment and different heat settings. You’re able to adjust it to whatever your hair likes! I always use the lowest heat setting.

Maintaining Your Style

Maintain your wash and go throughout the week by keeping your hair moisturized and protecting your hair at night.

Once you finish air drying, you should’ve achieved a poppin’ wash and go! Of course it’ll take time to perfect this style, however, these tips will ensure you’re on the right path.

Maintaining your wash and go throughout the week is important and can affect how long your style lasts. For me, depending on the products I use, sometimes I don’t have to refresh midweek. At night, I put my hair into mini pineapples and wear a satin bonnet to protect my curls.

The next morning, I may spray it with some water and then use oil to fluff it out. This does a great job of keeping my curls defined and soft. You’ll have to go through trial and error to see what your hair needs throughout the week.

Following these tips will help you start achieving a wash and go that will last more than a couple of days. You have to remember everything takes time and you won’t get perfect results overnight. Continue to practice and find products + techniques that’ll provide the results you’re looking for.

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  • 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.


    • 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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