The first thing you ought to know about the Wash-N-Go is that the name is, well, rubbish. It inspires visions of you bursting from the shower, shaking out your hair like a sexy Mufasa, and getting dressed to the Bond theme as your perfect African curls spring over your shoulders for the rest of the day.
Of course, if you’ve ever washed natural hair, your reaction to the fantasy described above is probably:
But even though I roll my eyes at the idea of a Wash-N-Go, I’ve found that while my everyday routine is not one step, often it comes pretty darn close, taking about twenty minutes the day of the wash, and less than ten minutes for all the days in between. After perfecting this routine, my curls stayed defined for at least four days, and needed no more styling than a part and skinny headband in the morning. So without further ado, here’s the 5 step, easy-peasy wash-n-go I’ve been sporting almost every day for the last year.
On wash day you’ll need:
A skinny elastic headband
Bonnet dryer attachment (optional)
On days in between you’ll need:
A satin bonnet
A spray bottle
On Wash Day:
1) Start with your still wet from the shower (I recently did a Wash Day Tutorial). Your hair should be well conditioned, both with rinse-out and leave-in conditioner. You can shake out excess water droplets, but don’t use a towel or any kind of comb. No no no. Your natural shower curls will only frizz and lose definition.
Instead, apply curl-defining cream in sections starting from the bottom, using clips (see gifs) to keep sections apart. With practice, this part can go relatively quickly.
Curl defining creams are great for coating post shower curls, guarding against frizz and shrinkage, but keeping in a decent amount of moisture. My favorite so far is Miss Jessie’s Curl Defining Crème (big tub, around $30), but honestly, I’ve never tried one that didn’t do the trick. There are many cheaper alternatives for around $15; a quick google search (or visit to the black beauty supply store) should bring many of them up.
2) Guess what? The worst part is already over!
Now, disrupting the layers as little as possible, apply gel throughout your curls to keep them from shrinking or losing definition. I currently use L.A. Looks NutraCurl Gel, Megahold 8.
3) Dry. Here you have two options, and the first is to do nothing, i.e., skip straight to styling and let it air dry. This is what I’ve been doing most of the time, and it’s fine except for days when the product doesn’t soak up the water very well, and you drip onto your collar at work and soak everyone who tries to hug you. Not fun.
The second option is a more recent discovery of mine: use a bonnet dryer. This is a nifty attachment I found on Ebay for $10-$15. It’s an adjustable nylon bonnet that attaches to your hair dryer. Your hair will be sufficiently dry (drip-free, anyway- it’s unhealthy to heat-dry your hair too thoroughly) after about 15 to 20 minutes.
You’ll have to pull out your curls a bit after, since they’re slightly mashed by the bonnet. I was skeptical at first, but very soon fell in love. Bonnet drying seals product onto your curls, so that they stay super long and defined for days. The only thing I didn’t like was holding my head at uncomfortable angles while it was tethered to my dryer, but that’s fixed by investing in a hair dryer stand ($10 to $15). That way you can stand straight, and perhaps do your makeup while your hair dries.
4) Style. Start by giving your curly fro with a shallow part, using your fingers.
Slide on a skinny headband for further shape.
And you’re done! That wasn’t so bad, was it? And here’s the best part: for the next four days your hair routine is painless. Here’s all you gotta do:
– at night, scrunchie your hair in three big puffs to keep your curls stretched. Cover with a satin bonnet.
-In the morning, take out the scrunchies and reactivate your product by letting your curls steam in the shower (not in the direct water stream) or by lightly spritzing them with water from your spray bottle.
-Style with the part and headband as before. Repeat the above 2 steps every day until your curls have lost definition.
That’s all there is to it! Of course you’ll probably need to experiment with which specific products work for you, but other than that, you’re free to play.
Don’t forget to post your results in the comments!