Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Curly Girl Method: Part 3: 5 Factors Affecting Your Wash and Go

The CG Method is essentially, a wash and go (WnG) method but not all wash and gos are Curly Girl methods.

Gerrit? :)

Wash and Gos are not as simple as the name suggests. They are really more like wash, condition, spritz, apply oil or buttter, apply styling product, rake/shingle/pray, THEN go!

How well a wash and go works on your hair depends on a number of factors:

1. Length of hair 
This seems to be a key factor. It is easier to wash and go during the TWA stage because, although the hair strands still curl around each other, daily cowashing helps detangle them gently and keeps the hair well moisturised. As hair begins to grow, though, tangling becomes more and more, leaving hair more susceptible to damage. 

2. Hair Type
If your hair has a Z pattern as opposed to an S curl, wash and gos are less likely to work on your hair. In the video below, African Export shows a wash and go on type 4 hair. She does however point out that she has a section of hair on her left temple with no curl pattern and you can clearly see the difference and how it responds.  

The confusion arises from the assumption that type 4s generally have kinks and not curls. The truth is that many type 4s have curls so small and tight that they appear non existent but these coily type 4s wear wash and gos just as well as  those with looser curls.

Boo of www.chocolatehairvanillacare.com - Type 4 hair
There are many many factors that affect hair type. Working out what your hair is will help you learn what it best responds to. 

3. Shrinkage
Some naturals report shrinkage of up to 70%! The more your hair shrinks, the more likely it is to tangle, which will ruin your wash and go's definition and movement. 

4. Hair Products
This is very subjective. Just because a product works (or doesn't) on another natural who has seemingly the same hair type, doesn't mean it act the same way on you. There are countless styling products on the market, which can feel overwhelming (not to mention costly!), but experimenting with different products or different combinations of products is the only way to find out what will make your wash and go pop. 

5. Application Techniques
Also known as raking, this is a method of applying your styling product methodically in sections through the hair, from top to bottom, raking through with your fingers as you go to make sure each strand is coated and to encourage your curls to clump together. Here is a great blog post on how to shingle.

Prayer Method
Similar to the above technique but, rather than raking, you use flat hands, palms together as if in prayer, to smooth the product over the hair. This also encourages clumping. 

Denman Brush
Although this is generally used as a detangling tool, because it also encourages clos to form, it is a great way of distributing product evenly through your hair. It does, however, seem to cause more shrinkage than the above two methods. 

D31 Denman Detangling Brush

Early on in my natural hair journey, l decided I wanted the freedom of a seemingly low maintenance way of wearing my hair, so I went ahead and tried a wash and go, without fulling understanding how my hair behaved. Result? Instead of a full head of bouncy curls, I ended up with the most tangled, misshapen, matted, shrunken head of hair.  Oh, I can laugh now. But then, I was on my way to visit a friend who was the hugest sceptic of natural hair. Needless to say, I left her house with the contact of her hairdresser who, I was told, would be able to 'fix' my hair.  

I'm yet to try another wash and go but I'm also an eternal optimist so.. Watch this space. 

Glamfun's hilarious wash and go video:


  1. Just saying a wash and go cant be done on every type of hair. I am transitioning and when i look at may hair curl coil pattern the natural part has coils then it goes off into a zigzag and then coils on itself again. I think this would be one hot mess as a wash and go, i have sort of decided my hair when open has to be a twist out or a bit stretched in some way. What you learn!

  2. What you learn indeed. Im the same, my hair and wash and gos don't mix. plus it's really not a must to try every single hair technique out there.