My First Wash N’ Go!

Hello beautiful people!

How is the going going?

Last Washday was an interesting one for me. I tried two new products, and finally properly attempted a Wash N’ Go. Many people believe Wash N’ Gos cannot work on nappy, 4C hair. I used to believe this too, but I started reconsidering this year. Finally finally, I am a believer. As I do more of this, I will write about my experience but for now I’ll say, for a change, be open to challenging your expectations. “Manage your expectations” is good advice, but playing it safe can also mentally box you in. Don’t take yourself too seriously, take your hair as it comes, but also- don’t be afraid to try new things!

So. For Washday, I had 2 objectives:

  1. Clean, soft (well moisturised) hair and
  2. Finally do the Wash N’ Go.

Phase 1: Hair Prep

  1. First, I loosened my mini-twists. This was not so easy because I had started my small small twists with a braid. As you can imagine, the braided beginnings were really tiny and a bit hard to get through, so it took me a while.
  2. As I loosened, I misted my hair with water and finger detangled with coconut oil. I finished my detangling in the afternoon and I wanted to wash my hair the next day, so the coco doubled as a pre-poo.


    After Detangling

Phase 2: Wash Day Proper

  1. My hair was very dry and crispy to begin with, thanks to the Coconut oil. I shampooed my hair in chunky twists with the African Naturalistas Moisturising Black Soap Shampoo. It didn’t lather so much, but my hair felt clean. And super super soft!
  2. I applied the African Naturalistas Deep Conditioner and covered my hair with a shower cap. Two hours later, after making and eating breakfast (brown sugar pancakes) and forcing myself to exercise lol I rinsed the DC out. Interestingly, my hair was much softer with the shampoo than it was with the DC. On the lowest of keys, it kind of felt similar to hair post-henna. Not as much, but in the same category. Could this be because the DC contains some protein? Maybe.
  3. To hydrate, I mixed myself a mudwash (bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar and the last of my grapeseed oil.) I applied it to my wet hair in sections and again, covered with the shower cap. One hour later, I rinsed out and hair was butter soft once more. Yes!

Phase 3: Wash N’ Go

I started off with 3 different styling products- Miss Jessie’s Multicultural Curls, Miss Jessie’s Jelly Soft Curls and Obia Natural Hair Curl Custard. These were sample sizes I was gifted last year (first 2 from MeeMee and the Obia from The Kinky Apothecary)


However, it was basic cheapey EcoStyler that came through for me. The Obia custard was a bad choice on my part, because it isn’t really “gelly”. It sat on my hair like some kind of cream or leave-in, no bueno. The Multicultural Curls was more like a lotion, and the Jelly Soft Curls, though okay, did not do as well as the EcoStyler Gel in defining my curls.

Now, my theory as to why the Obia & Multicultural Curls did not work on my 4C coils is this- 4C hair clumps the least. If you aren’t doing the Maximum Hydration Method or the Curly Girl Method or any sort of “training”, it’s easier to make your coils clump and have definition when they are weighed down. My hair clumps when it bears henna, and clay, and the same is the case for gel.

How I Did It

It took me 2 hours to complete the Wash N’ Go for my entire head. I believe this time can be cut in half. However, as a newbie and because I was experimenting with different products, I spent longer.

I applied the gel/ styling products to sections of my freshly washed hair (one section at a time) in heavy amounts. In some sections, I briefly finger detangled, but I didn’t have to do much of this because after a mudwash, my hair is pretty much tangle free. So, I took the gelled section between my palms and rubbed down, smoothing the gel in. Hadassah over at Nappily Nigerian Girl calls this “Praying Hands” I hope you get the picture.

After doing this a few times, my strands had started clumping. And so, I separated the tiny clumped defined bits one by one just as I would do with a twist out. Here’s this quick video of how to separate curls:

By the time I was done with this massive arm workout, I was tired. I wasn’t really patient to do this process in the front, so I used a technique I’d watched Mo Knows Hair use on type 4 hair on YouTube. Basically, the method is- apply gel, pick a section and twirl it around your fingers like you’re doing a finger coil. Now, I did not like the outcome of Mo’s method on the model, but it worked okay for just the front.

I am really really happy with this Wash N’ Go. I had some hang time on Day 1, and it was pretty cool to shake shake shake my head and feel my hair move.

IMG_9177 IMG_9218

By Day 2, it was unshakeable lol because of shrinkage, but I quite like the more defined coily look.

View from the top: Day 2 hair

View from the top: Day 2 hair

It looks crazy but in a deliberate way. To go to sleep, I divide my hair into 5 mini puffs and cover with a scarf or satin bonnet.

Day 3 Hair

Day 3 Hair. I spritzed with water, and this reactivated some whiteness from the gel.

It’s interesting that if you pull my hair right now, you’d see most of it clumped into defined coily spirals, but as a whole, it looks generally poofy. I had thought that living with gel would be a horror story, but it’s really not. The gel dries. It only gets sticky again when I wet my hair. On Sunday, when I fluffed my hair with a little water and oil, I was left with quite a bit of flaking on my shoulders. I brushed it off, no wahala there. I also had some white bits at the back, my mom helped me pick them out.

My hair is dry and crunchy right now but, I’m not bothered. As I write this (Tuesday evening) it is Day 5. I will spritz it before I go out tomorrow, and co-wash my hair on Wednesday or Thursday in preparation for another style. I will definitely be trying more Wash N’ Gos, aiming to improve my technique, find the right non-flakey product combo and figure out how to get this done in an hour.

No leave-in conditioner or oils were used in the production of this Wash N’ Go. I’ll incorporate them next time, to avoid the dryness and the crunch.

Alrightie guys. How did your last Washday go? Tell me about it!





26 thoughts on “My First Wash N’ Go!

  1. Awwn…The coils seemed to clump better day by day. I can count the number of times i have washed and gone. Am not so much of a wash and go girl simply because waiting for leave in and gel to dry off is something i dread but hopefully when i take down the crochet, I would try again. There’s this -Naptural 85’s wash and go video on YouTube. She mentioned something like the only way she gets the most level of definition is to apply product when the hair is super wet and frizz-free, not when its almost dry and already getting frizzing. According to her, doing so means you are sealing the definition and preventing frizz. You could try that technique too and see how it goes. You look very pretty in the 3rd pic as always 🙂


    • Thanks Nafisah! 🙂
      I’ve seen Nap’s Wash N’ Go video so many times (The last time being yesterday), but I don’t have a shower mirror. I do my styling in front of my bathroom mirror and I can’t be soaking wet for that. Been thinking about buying one of those mirrors with plastic frames that I could easily hang, but procrastination…


  2. Nice! My last wash and go was baaaad. I used my cantu shea butter leave in and ecostyler gel and my head was like the mountains of Alaska-snow white! That experience convinced me that it’s time to walk away from cantu..


  3. Well done, and welcome to the ‘club’, lol.
    Right from the get go (2013), I’ve only done wash and gos, because I’m the laziest person you can find. (One time, I tried to see how my hair would look if it was twisted, and I gave up after the first twist.)
    Technique has changed over time to accommodate my aversion to ‘serenren’ and be easier, so, here’s how my wash and gos happen these days:
    1. Turn on the shower and ensure it remains on throughout the process, because the resultant steam works wonders
    2. Shampoo with Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming Moisturizing shampoo; do a bit of finger detangling while at it. Rinse.
    3. Condition with Herbal Essences Hello Hydration conditioner, then use wide-tooth comb to detangle. It’s easy as hell to detangle at this point, because, steam. Rinse.
    4. Apply Africa’s Best Shea Butter Miracle Moisture-Intense Leave-in. Ensure the shape of the fro is to my liking, i.e. nicely rounded, no smushed sides, etc.
    5. Take a proper shower. Hair takes a bit to dry (if I wash at 10:00, I can expect to be able to go out by 16:00), but the compliments (and “how did you do that?”) I get when I go out tell me maybe, just maybe I’m doing something right. I have 4z hair o.
    6. Day 2 and Over the next 5 days: Refresh by spraying just water today, then mix of water/coconut oil/Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming Leave-in Conditioner tomorrow. Gently reshape the fro every day after spraying (can’t explain what I do here, but I do it with that same wide-tooth comb but it’s not necessarily combing, it’s more like gentle teasing). Keep alternating till the week runs out.

    Full disclosure: Because I wear my hair free/loose/unprotected like this 24/7/365, every week I detangle, the hair I lose makes a ball the size of a soda bottle cover. I don’t mind though, because this life is full of tradeoffs, etc.
    Also, the spray mix of water/oil/condish makes my hair whitish for a while, but if I do it and style before I get in the shower, then by the time I leave the house, it’s still a bit white but I don’t really care about my transit. By the time I arrive at work though, the white is all gone.

    Man, this is an epistle. Sorry, AB.


    • LOL no apologies, we heart long comments!
      Life IS full of trade-offs.
      On Saturday, one of my mom’s friends put me on blast because of the Wash N’ Go. We were right there queuing up to vote, and she was telling me how crazy I looked. It was almost a scene and though I wasn’t bothered by it, it made me wonder how “professional” my 4C Wash N’ Go would be perceived if I wore it to work in Nigeria, or any formal establishment.

      Question: how do you preserve your Wash N’ Go at night?


      • Oh wow. I’m very finicky about having neat(-ish) hair, but even I think that the hair in the first picture (which looks like it only needs a bit of teasing and brushing in front to look presentable) and the one in the last-but-one picture are quite fine to be carried to work even if you’re a banker/lawyer. I know you’re not bothered, but I’m sorry you had to hear such rubbish things. I’d be mortified if I were the one.

        I have a silk bonnet, but my hair is getting too big for it so I’m going to have to start using a bobby pin on each side of my head to help tuck in the hair around my temples. I thought about braiding or flat twisting that part instead, but laziness is real, and braiding/twisting will definitely destroy the curl pattern I have going on, so.

        Random: I really like your hair in that first picture, and I think your current hair length is my target hair length, after which I will stop growing it and start cutting every 6 months or whatever.


  4. I love the day two and three pictures funny enough. I think I’m fully embracing shrinkage 😂 I should definitely try this wash and go. Love how coily your hair iss!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very nice, my wash and gos, are wash and kiss your life goodbye for the next 4 hours, then shrink villa 😀 nice style but not for me 😀 happy it worked for you and rock your tresses dear 😀


  6. This looks nice on you dear but me no chop enough liver for a wash n go.
    Chidinma of uses only leave in for her wash n go, i mean LOTS of leave on really wet hair and the results are always beautiful. You could try that and see how it works.


  7. Wow you finally did the dreaded wash n go. I love the entire look. You have Afrocentric down pat.
    Yeah in a work setting it can get pretty vicious so just enjoy it now. You have a thick skin anyway so 👍


  8. Awesome! I’ve been wearing a wash n go for 2 months now. After I figured out that you can actually do wash no gos on nappy hair, I was like, welp, no longer spending hours on other styles unless I have the time. It does go by sooooo much quicker the more you do it. I’ve got mine down to 30 minutes and I’m out the door 🙂


  9. once,aftet wash day tons I just applied Emily coconut & herbs as my leave in/moisturizer then used a in just blew hot air on my shrunken 4c hair,no stretching. It came out short but defined & kinda crisp as if i used gel.(lol new version of faux wash & go). I like yours + ur lipstick #teamembraceyourshrinkage


  10. once,after wash day tins I just applied Emily coconut & herbs as my leave in/moisturizer then used a in just blew hot air on my shrunken 4c hair,no stretching. It came out short but defined & kinda crisp as if i used gel.(lol new version of faux wash & go). I like yours + ur lipstick #teamembraceyourshrinkage


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