The Perfect Wash-N-Go: 4 Steps

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:

incredulous laughter 1

and then:

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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:

Curl-defining cream

Gel

Sectioning clips

A skinny elastic headband

Bonnet dryer attachment (optional)

On days in between you’ll need:

Scrunchies

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.

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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.

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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.

Jordan Ifueko

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.

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Slide on a skinny headband for further shape.

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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.

Jordan Ifueko

Don’t forget to post your results in the comments!

Check back on Fridays for new posts on jordanifueko.com!

The 3 Romantic Interests You’re Most Likely to Meet in Any Novel: Male Edition

still from Emma, Miramax, 1996

I’ve noticed something about myself lately: when it comes romance in books, I’m impossible to please. I’ve come to the conclusion that if a man loves the protagonist, he will likely be one of three, and only three, people- which is funny, because in my own writing experience, romantic interests are the toughest to imagine.

Are you having trouble with the male lovers in your novel? Fear no more- below is a list of almost every literary Don Juan you will ever meet. Pick one and be off on a merry smoochy adventure!

Option 1: Mr. “I’m With Her” Pretty Man

Examples:

Pedro from Like Water For Chocolate, Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games*, Gabriel from The Chemical Garden Trilogy

still from Hunger Games, Lionsgate, 2012

Description:

This guy’s bio, if needed, could be boiled down to one line: “Loves protagonist.” His personality needs no other nuance. Oh sure, throw in a hair and eye color, but only so your reader has something to look at as they fantasize about being unconditionally adored by him. Because that’s the point of this character – to provide snuggles and snogging in the right places, and to fulfill the expectation for steamy romance in every single human narrative ever.

In case you didn’t notice, I have a special annoyance with “I’m With Her” characters. Often they are dispensable, but we require them, because media teaches us that true love is invariably a reward for being awesome. We find it hard to believe in a character’s goodness or strength if not even one man (or in YA novels, several) finds her irresistible. That’s why so many single women are self-conscious- they’ve been conditioned to believe that if no men are obsessed with them, they are not heroine-material.

But “I’m With Her” sells…and sells, and sells. You may be selling your own story short with one-dimensional characters. But hey! Six-figure book deal.

*I adore The Hunger Games, so I can’t let any critique go without a disclaimer. To be fair, Suzanne Collins did deepen Peeta’s character in Hunger Games Series’ conclusion, Mockingjay, when a certain plot twist causes him to doubt everything he ever felt for the protagonist. Bravo to authors brave enough to test the limits even of true love.

Option 2: Mr. Would Never Realistically Date the Protagonist

Examples: Edward Cullen from Twilight  ANY male paranormal romance interest, and most guys in YA highschool romance

Description: An author puts a lot of thought into this character, like the Professor when he creates the Power Puff Girls. Only instead of sugar, spice, and bionic super powers, it’s 1) studlike, smoldering gorgeousness, 2) a talent/trait of unearthly proportions (athleticism, wealth, intelligence, immortality), and 3) fame or popularity. And yet in spite of this man’s figurative or even literal identity as a god, he still finds time to fall head over heels with the non-descript, mildly unattractive, often angsty protagonist.

How this happens: You set out to write a realistic heroine. All well and good- except then you want to make sure that anyone could relate to her. Because if the heroine is too amazing, readers can’t pretend to be her when she’s making out with Mr. Demi-God BeefCake. So keep her ordinary and shell-like, please, (The Oatmeal once did a piece on why Bella Swan should be re-named “Pants”) and we all can have our guilty- if thoroughly unrealistic- mental romp with Mr. Fallen from Heaven.

Finally, Option 3: Mr. Frustratingly Three-Dimensional Human Being

Examples: Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, Po from Graceling, Rochester from Jane Eyre

Michael-Fassbender-as-Mr-Rochester-Jane-Eyre-2011-michael-fassbender-25911640-1920-1040

Description: Sometimes, this guy will be besotted with your protagonist and swoop in to rescue her from danger. Other times he’ll be exasperated with her and let her fall head first in the mudpile of her own mistakes. And once in a while, he’ll be plain out selfish and choose his own interests over hers. And he’ll be sorry. And might do it again. He’ll betray her, but will die for her; he’ll insult her to her face, but will carry her across burning coals to safety. He is beautiful and petty, outrageous and devoted, sensitive and cowardly. He is human, and he loves your protagonist with all his heart…except when he doesn’t.

This is the guy that makes me want to throw a book across the room and stomp on its pages. But this is also the man that I can believe in.

He wrenches cries of frustration from me every time he messes up…and he draws tears of happiness from my eyes when, in spite of every obstacle that the human soul and its pride, pain, and weakness can offer, he still ends up reconciled with the woman he loves.

If I’ve learned anything from being a bookworm and a writer,  it’s that it takes courage to write about humans. Sometimes it takes even more to read about them, which is why some of the truest masterpieces will never make it the best-seller list. But writers, if you choose this route don’t lose hope- even if your savings account may never be full, you take can comfort that your readers’ hearts will be.

If you liked this article, let me know and I’ll come up with a Female Edition! New posts on jordanifueko.com every Friday.