Wash and Go’s Don’t Work on Nappy Hair?

Wash and Go’s Don’t Work on Nappy Hair!

Wash and Go’s Don’t Work on My 4C Natural Hair!

Does anybody remember this?

Back in 2013, when ‘Started From The Bottom’ was the anthem, vlogger Glamfun made this video, showing how Wash N’ Gos don’t work on her natural hair. You may want to watch it first (below), it’s very funny and jokes aside, I agreed with her totally. AGREED.

My hair is very tightly coiled, curl pattern like a skinny spring in a pen. You know how sometimes, people are confused about their curl patterns, well if you’re into hair typing, I’m sure you’d agree that my hair is most definitely a 4C, and this is simply for want of more letters. Is your hair coilier than this?


Definition? What is that?

It is much more important to know your hair’s porosity and strand texture than your curl pattern, but I do not have any problems with classification by the latter. Why? Accepting my curl pattern has really helped me set reasonable expectations for my hair when I style it. I watch tutorials by ladies of all natural hair types, but I pay closer attention to people with my texture. It’s just realistic.

Back to the Wash N’ Go.

Then, I didn’t quite understand what a Wash N’ Go was. I thought it was just about putting gel on wet hair, maybe freshly washed hair, and literally going your way. It sounded unthinkable for me to do this with my 4C coils because, no visible curls to define, and also, whenever I let my hair loose in its shrunken state, I KNEW it would be war, with tangles. So I thought, all well and good for the curly girls, it’s not for me on the coily end of the natural hair spectrum.

Jess’ (Mahogany Curls) Wash and Go

A few things made me reconsider:

  1. Seeing visible curl definition that lasts, on other people’s 4C curls that were “trained” to do so with the Maximum Hydration Method
  2. The beautiful Jess (Mahogany Curls). She does Wash N’ Gos often and I follow her page on Facebook. She has very curly 3C hair, though.
  3. My finger combing experience that I wrote about here. I finger combed wet hair after shingling, or raking my leave-in conditioner through my hair in sections and I noticed a few coils clumping to give the appearance of definition.
  4. More knowledge. Since I saw Glamfun’s video, I’ve probably seen like 20 Wash N’ Go videos and one thing that became clear to me is that the name “Wash N’ Go” is VERY misleading- when it comes to this style as it is called in the greater Natural hair community. My friend T, after washing her TWA moisturises and seals and goes her way without combing. She calls this her Wash N’ Go with good reason. But that’s not the Wash N’ Go we are talking about here. THE Wash N’ Go being considered here is nothing like Washing and going. Depending on how full or long your hair is, or your technique, it could take you as much as two hours to achieve. How’s that for a WASH N’ GO ( ._.)
  5. @Flamelle’s Wash N Go. Her hair is in the type 4 category, but looser than mine. She usually wears her hair in a Wash n’ go and she she says it works well for her tighter curls at the back. See it here.

What Is This Wash N’ Go?

Different people have their techniques, so see Youtube for this, but generally speaking:

Apply gel to freshly cleansed hair (shampooed and conditioned or just after a co-wash), and shingle. By shingle I mean, rake the product through your hair repeatedly with your fingers, and then separate into defined curls. Some people let the hair air dry, or use a blow dryer with a diffuser, to elongate the curls and speed up the drying process.

SO I TRIED IT… and failed

On Sunday morning, I tried to Wash N’Go freshly washed hair. I did not section my hair first and there’s probably other things I did wrong, but it wasn’t working out, there was NO definition and I was pissed because I woke up early just for it.



So I co-washed it all out of my hair, and wore a shrunken puff to church.

When I make a mistake, or something doesn’t turn out right, it takes me a LONG time to move on from it. This can be good or bad. Good- I obsess over it and keep going and going at it until I conquer. Bad- I beat myself up over it and still nothing changes. By Monday, of course the failed experiment was still on my mind. I had seen many videos so I knew that fine, I may not be able to use every technique but there’s something out there that should work.

I Tried Again…

I was working on something but my mind kept going back to it.


First Attempt on Monday

After trying and trying, there was a little light at the end of the tunnel.

I went to the mirror and wet a small section of my dry hair, applied a dab of leave-in to it, and then added gel. I raked through with my fingers and I also put the hair between my palms and smoothed it down. I noticed that I had some definition, but it vanished quickly.

So I stopped cringing at the gel, and added more and more of it until I noticed that the curls were more defined and that the definition lasted, till I washed it out at night.

See that? The gel held my strands together. When curls clump, there is definition

See this? The gel held my strands together. When curls clump (that is, stick together) there is definition

LOL Please ignore my oily struggle face. PHCN has been so unkind.

Even when pulled, see them sticking together. (LOL Please ignore my oily struggle face. PHCN has been so unkind.)

I didn’t bother trying to do my entire head because I didn’t have the time, and I wasn’t interested in walking around with all this gel. I take this experiment on one tiny section as proof that Wash N’ Gos can work on my 4C hair. With small sections, A LOT of gel, patience and time, it can be done. Plus with the gel holding the curls into tiny defined parts, I don’t see that many tangles forming as a result. My hair remained like this for hourssss until I washed the gel out at night. When I wet the curls and felt how icky rhey were, I was reminded about how I really don’t care for the gummy texture of gel.

Now that I’ve satisfied my curiosity, I think I’m going to shelve my Wash N’ Go dreams for a while. Why, you ask? Well there’s my discomfort with gel, but more than this- Shrinkage.

I love my shrinkage, and I embrace it. Is it possible to have any natural curls without shrinkage? NO. However, my hair is at the awkward length stage, and you can see where my “defined” curls reach. When my hair is longer, and my curls shrinking would mean them hanging below my clavicle (where my hair rests now when stretched), I think I’d be more interested in wearing a Wash N’ Go then.

So, My Point Is:

If you were wondering, YES. Wash N’ Gos can work on nappy hair. It’s a long thing but it can be done. Not sure if it’s worth the stress lol I really don’t care for curls this much or gel at all, but it’s definitely achievable. If you’d like me to do a post with videos of good tutorials showing different people’s techniques, let me know in the comments.

Again, manage your expectations. Look at my results, look at your natural curl pattern. With tight tight coils like mine, this is what you get. You won’t get a Mahogany Curls Wash N’ Go out of these kinks, no.

Oh and yes, the gel I used was EcoStyler with Olive Oil, the green tub.

That’s it guys. Have you tried anything new lately? Do you Wash N’ Go with your 4Z kinks? How do you do it? Share! 🙂




27 thoughts on “Wash and Go’s Don’t Work on Nappy Hair?

  1. The closest I’ve done was when my hair was less than an inch, after washing I’d splatter gel all over my hair and work it in a circular motion and voila, curls. As my hair grew I stayed away from gels but I’m willing to pick it up soon though to rock a proper wash and go, wish me luck!


  2. Wash and go is definitely a style that remains on YouTube for me! I always think of that wash and go don’t work on nappy hair song each time I think of the style.
    I learned quickly early in my NHJ that a lot of the “simple” styles I see on YouTube may never look good on my hair no matter how closely and carefully I follow the instructions! I jut modify the styles to fit my own hair- that’s if I do decide to follow the styles that is.


  3. Hahaha, love that video. I have 4ZZZZ Hair Type so Wash and Gos, when I try them, turn into Wash, Shingle, dry for 10 hours and frizz and shrink city a day later, they do not work for me unless I get them to try 100% which would mean sleeping standing up for 2 days, ahahahaha, gorgeous on other natural but not for me 😀


  4. Yep wash n’ go’s (however one wishes to define them lol) can and do work on 4c fine hair. I have been sticking with that style since late August. It was tough at first but it has been the best thing for ME. It may not be appealing to some, but I enjoy it. When I first started I would apply my leave-in of choice (Kinky Curly-Knot Today) and gel of choice (Kinky Curly Custard) in small sections to my soaking wet hair then lightly rake it through. Now approximately 7 months later I’ve began applying my products in larger sections and my curls still pop. Yes as the days go by my hair does become frizzier but I believe this is to be expected with 4c hair, especially since mine is also low porosity.Usually by day 3 I throw my hair into a puff lol. I recall after I first big chopped reading articles and watching videos where some naturals said that wash n’ go’s aren’t for every hair type and I let that become my reality. I’m glad that after taking a chance I realize that it was worth at least trying for myself. Test the waters and see what you’ll find.


  5. Hello AB. I am a fan. I have had this same wash and go problem with my hair. My hair texture is not all 4c I have 4b too which makes it difficult for wash and go to work on my hair. I bought the red ecostyler gel it didn’t work it just made my hair greasy and it dried out quickly also. I recently bought jack 5 cos I saw it somewhere it was recommended for wash and go I used it but it didn’t work on work on coils nothing! In fact I was so passed because my hair is still short and there are only a few styles I could do with it. I was so pissed that I immediately went to braid it.


  6. Not really into applying gel to my hair. Just learning what wash and go means!! hahahaha. i thought they meant straight off the shower sans styling and ready to go. I was like okay, your hair looks like that after you airdry it….? What planet is my hair from? lol. so i just never attempted it.
    Thanks for clarifying.



  7. I actually tried doing a wash nd go , a few weeks back. I ended up with a shrunken fro with some definition. The major problem was detangling after, just running my fingers through a section of my hair ,I could feel it snap. I certainly


  8. Can I just say that this PHCN thing is becoming an epidemic? Six days AB, SIX Days.
    As for wash n go’s I just feel like I’m never going to try. I do not like gel at all. Never have, even from childhood. My tub of ecostyler gel that I used for many months looks untouched cos I only used a teeny bit for my edges occassionally before I stopped.
    Your two defined curls at the back are pretty though


  9. YouTube never tells the whole story (how can braids be installed in 20mins ?) so I don’t take advice on it as a rule. Thank God I didn’t bump into the video before I tried to see if my hair could wash and go. 4c hair can wash and go, it’s only a matter of playing around and finding out how……


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  11. Lol I was LITERALLY singing this this morning as I did my one hour wash n go for work (and left the house with wet hair)! It took me a bit of research too, and was shocked to find out that a wash n go, was really not a “wash and go.” But so glad that I can wear one since it is one of the quicker styles (re: I can do it the same morning I’m heading outside) that I’ve found for my natural hair in its many type 4 states. 🙂 Plus, the technique I use doesn’t really lend itself to tangles like you would expect a shrunken style would.


  12. I have never tried a wash and go but this post got me thinking. If you are willing to try again, I would suggest you do the wash and go when your hair is longer, the weight of the hair will make it hang better and reduce shrinkage somewhat.
    Another thing to do would be to try it after you have just steamed hair using a hair steamer as opposed to a conditioning Cap. I tried this last week and curls were popping everywhere. I never expected that much difference. I figured curls will pop if hair is really moisturised.
    You can also try other curl defining products, eco styler may not be the holy grail as you have to apply tons. I don’t think you mentioned moisturizing and sealing before applying gel in the 1st attempt, hopefully that was done.
    I just might give this wash and go thing a try….maybe during the easter holiday.


  13. Oh just thinking about all the failed wash and go’s i’ve attempted influenced by these youtube gurus. It’s really not worth my time or energy. But power to those who do achieve that definition we all wish to seek. Gel just does not sit well with my hair what so ever.


  14. I didn’t think it worked until I watched Taren Guy’s video, where she had the Hair Rules salon video in which the stylist did an wash and go technique on 4c kinky coily hair….I was a believer then….it is all about TECHNIQUE! Plus having your hair moisturized thoroughly before…good conditioner and all! I have yet to be brave enough to attempt of course lol….I’ll be using flax seed gel tho because I hate gels as well and always feel drier and build up!


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  16. Sorry, but “wash & go” means just that: You wash it & GO… Not spend HOURS messing with it to get it to behave. My 4C hair is NEVER going to be wash & go; the closest I can get is having it braided. My hair just kinks and kinks and kinks, no matter how moisturized it is.

    I WILL be hearing that song in my head all night, though!


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