My Wash and Go Routine - Step by Step

Monday, May 02, 2011

My favorite go-to style is the wash and go. For me its really easy to do and provides a great base style to other styles I try out on my hair. When the weather was colder, I didn't like to leave the house with my hair still wet - so I would do my wash and go in the evening, diffuse-dry my hair, and then use the multi-pineapple method to preserve the wash and go curls until the next day. This worked out fine for the colder months, but now that temperatures are warming up I enjoy the fact that I can just do my wash and go fresh every morning and allow my hair to air-dry throughout the day.

To get my wash and go "curly fro" look, I usually follow the routine outlined in the steps below. 
It may seem like a time-consuming process, but it's really not. Now that I have the routine down and I'm more confident in choosing products for my hair, the styling part of the process (after the co-wash in the shower) takes about 15-20 minutes or less. I do everything in sections now that my hair is a little longer and thicker. Styling and manipulating my hair in sections helps to ensure that I evenly distribute product in my hair and it also helps to cut down on the tangling at the roots that would happen before I started to working in sections.

Step 1: Divide hair into manageable sections.
Before getting into the shower, I finger-part my hair into 5 sections that help to isolate the various zones of hair textures that I have on my head (3 sections in the front, 2 sections in the back). Isolating my texture zones into these sections allow me to handle and style each section according to how the texture in that zone behaves with styling product. These 5 sections are the sections I will keep my hair in as I co-wash and style it. I use large plastic claw clips to hold each section in place.

Step 2: Fully saturate hair with water
When I first get in the shower, I stand under the shower for a few minutes in order to give my hair the chance to become fully saturated with water before touching or manipulating it in any way. I have low porosity hair, which means it takes a little longer to become fully saturated with water/moisture.

Step 3: Apply co-wash conditioner(s) and finger-detangle hair section by section.
On my first go-around on each section, I first apply my favorite smoothing and detangling conditioner (Curl Junkie Smoothing Lotion) and then I use my palms to gently smooth the section of hair in a "praying hands" motion to release any shed hairs. I also lightly "rake" the hair with my fingers while it is saturated with conditioner and while it is under the running water to gently detangle that section. When I feel like the section is free of tangles, I continue to run that section under the shower to rinse the remainder of the smoothing lotion out using the same rake and smooth method I described before. After I have finger-detangled, I then apply my favorite co-wash conditioner (Oyin Honey Hemp Conditioner) in my second go-around on each section. I smooth in the conditioner on each section and secure the section with the claw clip, and then I leave it in my hair for the remainder of my shower time so that it has a chance to absorb into my hair. Before leaving the shower, I run my entire head under the shower (while it is still secured in sections) to rinse out the majority of the honey hemp conditioner. Most of the time I rinse the Honey Hemp completely out, but sometimes I leave a tiny bit of the Honey Hemp in - it doesn't really matter either way.

Step 4: Apply a leave-in conditioner to each section
Using the same 5 sections, I apply a dime to quarter-sized amount of my favorite leave-in conditioner (Oyin Hair Dew) to each section. The amount I chose to apply to each section depends on the nature of the texture in that zone/section, and how much leave-in I think the section needs. If the section is more coarse, I tend to apply a little bit more leave-in to that section.

Step 5: Apply styling gel to each section
This is the point where I usually will further split some of the bigger/thicker sections into 2 smaller sections as I go along so that I am working with 8 sections in total instead of just the 5 I originally had in the shower. To further define my natural curl pattern and "clump" curls together, I then apply my favorite styling gel (Fruit of the Earth brand of Aloe Vera Gel) to each section from the root to ends using the rake and smooth method described earlier.  The amount of gel I apply to each section again depends on the size of the section as well as the nature of the texture of that section. In general, I use about a quarter-sized glob of gel on each section. This is why I prefer to use Aloe Vera Gel over other gels - it is not sticky or tacky like other gels can be, it actually absorbs into the hair as opposed to just coating it, it has a very light hold, it is moisturizing (unlike other protein-heavy gels that can leave hair feeling dry and hard), and it does not leave hair feeling very "crunchy" as it dries. Because if this, I could technically use as much of it as I wanted to on each section. But due to my low porosity hair, if I use too much gel, the excess that doesn't absorb into my hair will just sit on top of my hair making it appear to look white until it dries.

Step 6: Apply a finishing gel
This step is totally optional but - After applying the aloe vera gel, I smooth on a dime-sized amount of my favorite finishing gel (Curl Junkie Curls in a Bottle) to each section. I like using a finishing gel for extra frizz control and for additional shine. I love using Curls in a Bottle as a finisher because it is water-based and its consistency is closer to that of a watery serum than that of a gel.

Step 7: Allow products to absorb into hair
After I apply my leave-in conditioner and styling gels to each section, I remove the claw clips and very lightly spritz my hair with cool water to help products further distribute in my hair. I spritz in just enough water to help products distribute, but not so much that my hair is dripping wet. At this point I usually leave my hair alone and continue getting ready for work in order to give the products a chance to further absorb into my hair.

Step 8: Shake hair (like a dog) and air-dry :)
After I have given my hair a few minutes to absorb the styling products while I continued to get ready, I then bend over and aggressively shake my hair like a dog to separate the curls...LOL. I shake it from side-to-side and front-to-back for a few minutes and then stand back up to allow my hair to fall where it naturally wants to. At this point, I try not to touch or manipulate my hair any further until it starts to dry a little and the curls begin to set. Touching or manipulating the hair while it is still wet and before the curls set will encourage frizz and tangles. Throughout the day, I may continue to shake out my hair (while no one is looking, of course lol) to speed up the air-drying process.

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