To kick off the long Sallah weekend, Glory’s kinks are here to give life in abundance. Please, enjoy!
Bantu knot out
Hiiiii please tell us about you!
Well hello! I’m Glory, a software developer living in Lagos. Besides software, I have a wide range of interests; from Nigerian politics to gourmet cuisine, photography to minimalist design, healthy lifestyles and so forth. But this won’t be complete without stating just how much of a natural hair enthusiast I am! I adore natural hair of all textures, densities, colors, etc. I have a keen interest in natural hair care. Continue reading →
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:
Clean, soft (well moisturised) hair and
Finally do the Wash N’ Go.
Phase 1: Hair Prep
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.
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.
Phase 2: Wash Day Proper
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!
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.
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.
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
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. 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!
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:
Seeing visible curl definition that lasts, on other people’s 4C curls that were “trained” to do so with the Maximum Hydration Method
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.
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.
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 ( ._.)
@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 this? The gel held my strands together. When curls clump (that is, stick together) there is definition
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! 🙂