How to Do Wash and Go’s on Fine Hair (a Go-to Guide)

Last updated on January 26th, 2024 at 06:55 pm

My first wash and go was a disaster. I’ve learned quite a bit over the years so now I can share how to effectively do wash and go’s on fine hair, specifically fine natural hair.

tips for doing wash and go's on fine hair

That was many years ago. Over time I’ve figured out some tips that I want to share with you so that hopefully you won’t go through as much trial and error doing your own wash and gos.

About My Fine Natural Hair

So my hair is fine (duh).

Fine and Natural. It’s a combination of moderate and low porosity AND its density is low to moderate. That just means the circumference of MOST of my individual strands are small and some of my hair has difficulty receiving moisture while the rest of my hair handles moisture impartation and retention quite well.

I don’t have a high number of strands on my head but not so sparse as you are able to easily see my scalp. That’s what’s meant by low to moderate density. It just depends on the section of hair you are examining. For example, the back of my hair has a lower density of hair than the crown area.

In spite of the thickness of my hair, I’ve managed to figure out how to do a wash and go on my fine hair that yields lots of definition with a fair amount of volume.

Now, you may be wondering why I’m sharing a twist out video below. The technique for me is similar. Wash the hair and then let the hair do it’s thing. Yes, it’s been twisted but that helps with the definition. Check out this video:

Volume will always be challenging due to my lack of density but there’s ways to make it appear more voluminous.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, onto the wash and go tips.

Work with Conditioned, Detangled Hair

For starters, no matter what type of hair you have you want to be working with hair that is completely detangled. Not doing so will cause your next wash day to be horrific.

Also…no matter your hair type, for your wash and go to look it’s best your ends need to be in good condition. If you notice no matter what you do, your wash and go’s don’t look great, a trim or haircut is likely in order.

Applying Product

Always work product into your hair in sections to ensure maximum coverage. This is key versus just slapping product onto your hair which will only reach the outer layer.

How many sections you need to work with depends entirely on how dense your hair is.

Low density and want more fullness?

wash and go's on fine hair
Voluminous wash and go

Work in larger sections scrunching product into your hair. You may achieve less definition (may…depending on how thin your hair is) but more fullness.

If you skip using a gel & just use a curl cream or conditioner, you are likely to get a bit more volume but go easy on the application.

Too much product (especially those containing hair butters) and your fine hair will be weighed down.

In the Tightly Curly method coined by Teri LaFlesh, you’d only use a conditioner with certain ingredients. This method can give more volume where others have failed.

Want mostly definition?

wash and go's on fine hair

Working in small sections and smoothing your strands like your life depends on it, will give you the greatest amount of definition.

You definitely want to use a gel for the longevity of your wash and go’s. Since your hair is fine, you want a gel that provides some hold but not maximum hold. You still want your strands to have some movement.

When applying your products, the shingling method will provide the most definition as your are applying the gel and smoothing every single curl unit individually.


After applying your products, do not touch your hair. Let it air dry most of the way and then, if you’re short on time use a warm blow dryer with the diffuser attached. Blast warm air to the roots and finish off the drying with a shot of cool air to the sections. This helps to re-close the cuticles so your hair can shine.

I find that allowing my fine natural hair to air dry completely without the aid of the hair dryer, provides the most definition.

Waiting on Volume

When doing wash and go’s on fine hair, it’s important to remember that fine hair typically has little volume on day one and even day two after washing and styling. The exception is if you have tons of density.

Wait on it though.

Your hair may look like limp noodles but if you’ve used the right products and techniques your curls WILL expand.

How to Preserve Your Wash and Go

Pineapple or High Puff or…

wash and go in a curly bun

Often times, to preserve the curls while sleeping, people put their hair in what’s called a pineapple (high ponytail) or high puff.

Unfortunately, this can backfire for those with fine hair often causing some of the curls to stretch out more than desired – especially in the back.

Yet, you can still make the pineapple method work to give your hair volume.

Instead of sleeping with your hair in a pineapple or puff, try putting your hair up in a loose pineapple/puff for an hour and then release it.

This helps to train the hair to be lifted at the roots without stretching all of the curls out. I share this technique for twist outs in this video but it also works for wash and go’s:

Preserving Your Wash and Go’s Over Night

To preserve your wash and go over night, it’s as easy as pulling your hair into a low or mid height ponytail, securely loosely with an elastic or satin scrunchie. Then, tie your edges down with a satin scarf & sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase.

Optionally, a loose bun (or two) can work.

I’ve found putting my hair into a low ponytail (securing with a satin scrunchie) at the base of my neck, tying on a scarf and then releasing the satin scrunchie preserves my curls best.

If you have shorter hair, put your hair in two loose puffs (more if necessary).

When you wake up in the morning, coat your hands with a light weight oil, fluff your hair and go. Don’t add moisture because you don’t want to increase shrinkage.

I hope you found these tips for doing wash and go’s on fine hair helpful. If so, pin it to Pinterest so others can benefit too 🙂

styling fine natural hair in a wash and go

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Michelle Smith

Michelle is a Christian natural hair enthusiast. She's been natural for 20+ years and shares natural hair care tips and easy hairstyles for those with low density or thin fine natural hair. It's her joy to inspire you to live by faith in God while caring for your "crown."

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Layla Rose

    This is so good.. Thanks for sharing your tips. I’m doing a wash & go on my 11 y/o daughter for the very 1st time & after buying all the good products & watching countless videos, I’m so excited to see the results!

    1. Michelle Smith

      you’re welcome! i’m excited to hear how this will come out for your daughter. Let me know 🙂

  2. Evonne

    Michelle, thank you for creating and sharing your step-by-step guide. I’ve finally had success in keeping my wash and go defined and lasting much longer than usual.

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