5 Steps to a Successful Wash and Go

Last updated on February 6th, 2023 at 10:46 pm

The Wash and Go can be a low manipulation hairstyle that allows you to sport your natural curls effortlessly. Especially for the summer. In this post, you’ll find five steps to a successful wash and go.

wash and go

Before sharing the wash and go steps, I’m letting you know up front that this article isn’t about using specific hair products. It’s about perspective and technique. Success for one person may be a fail for another.

Also, before you even start doing your wash and go, you want to make sure you’re working with a clean slate. By that I mean, your hair should be in good condition. For example, neat ends that aren’t weathered.

Otherwise, your results won’t be optimal.

1. What’s The End Goal?

To achieve a successful wash and go you need to first define what a successful wash and go is to you. What are you looking to achieve?

Do you want more volume? Definition? A combination of both?

2. Select Your Wash and Go Products

Once you’ve determined the end result you are looking to achieve when doing your wash and go, it’s time to scout out products.

There’s myriad of products for defining curls available on the market. Some contain protein. For those of us with fine natural hair, these types of products can be beneficial.

Soft Hold for Volume

If you’re looking for a soft hold wash and go, you want to use light weight stylers like creams and lotions. Some ladies even use conditioner only to set their wash and go’s. A conditioning product will provide a softer hold.

Soft holding products will help you achieve more volume but the definition won’t last as long.

Firm Hold for Definition

For a longer lasting wash and go with more definition, you’ll want to use products that provide more hold. These include gels and mousses.

Layering gels and/or mousses over a conditioner will provide a firmer hold. You my not get as much volume but you’ll have plenty of definition.

3. Pick Your Wash and Go Technique

Once you have your choice products, revisit your goal to determine the technique you will use to set your wash and go. Here are the popular techniques used to set a wash and go hairstyle:

  • Rake and Shake Method – Raking product through your curls and holding the ends while shaking.
  • Shingling – Using your fingers to manually define each curl unit as they natural fall
  • Praying Hands Method – Distributing product onto your curls by using the palm of your hands in a praying motion
  • Scrunching – Applying product to your hair and encouraging the curl by scrunching from the ends toward the roots

Regardless of which method you use, always work in sections. I like to clip my hair in 4 sections but if you have very dense hair (even fine dense hair), you’ll want to section your hair off in even smaller sections.

The key is to sufficiently cover your strands with product.

For an in depth look at these techniques, hop on over to YouTube and you’ll find a number of tutorials for each of them. Don’t watch too many and skip the extremely long videos. Otherwise, you may get information overload. I suggest watching 2 of each tutorial type to get a full picture.

Below is a demonstration of me doing my wash and go. The result is unlike any other because results always vary by technique and products used.

YouTube video

4. Drying Your Hair

Then, for you to have a successful wash and go, the next step is to dry your hair.

Will you air dry or use a blow dryer? Each drying technique has its pros and cons. Again, it’s all on what you’re looking to achieve.

Air Drying

When you air dry your wash and go, you’ll get lots of shrinkage. You can combat that by stretching your hair. However, the curl pattern will not be the same as if you air dried your hair completely unbothered.

If your hair is fine and on the lower density side, you may have lots of definition but little to no volume.

defined wash and go
Wet wash ‘n Go

Concentration Drying

Your blow dryer with a concentrator nozzle attached or as is without a comb/brush attachment can be used to stretch your curls at the root and along the hair shaft.

However, if not careful you will sacrifice texture for elongation.

Diffuser Drying

Using a diffuser attachment on your dryer to dry your hair can amp up the volume while maintaining definition.

wash and go with shea moisture products

Reverse Air (RevAir) Drying

Using the revolutionary reverse air hair dryer, RevAir can stretch your wash and go curls faster than any dryer on the market. What’s really cool though is how you can also achieve an entirely different look.

revair blow dryer

Check out CurlNamedLauren’s Tutorial


Purchase a RevAir here

5. Styling Your Wash and Go

After deciding on which technique you are going to use to set your curls, there are some additional ways to style so you can put the “extra” on your wash and go style. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Laying your edges
  • Banding wet or dry hair to combat shrinkage
  • Adding Temporary Hair Wax Paint
  • Adding a few twists to the front or sides
  • Using tools like a Puff Cuff to lift your curls up off your shoulders

A Final Word

I want to leave you with some final words. Regardless of if you follow these wash and go steps, how you style, your length, texture and curl pattern are unique to you. God broke the mold when He created you!

Please don’t compare your results to another. No head of hair is the same. Try different products and techniques. With practice makes perfect. The wash and go steps shared above will hep you hone in on what works best for your curls.

wash and go steps

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