Wash and Go’s for 4B and 4C Hair


Photo Credit: Going-Natural.com

In the first year of being natural, wash and gos were easy and my go to style. They really make sense for shorter hair as they require far less manipulation than any other style (including protective styles) at that hair length.

The final look that you get with a wash and go is heavily reliant on your curl pattern. Hair products can only accentuate what is already there. You may have seen youtube videos where hair goes from an undefined afro to orderly curls but do not be fooled that your hair can do the same. The truth is if you brush out any form of curly hair or indeed back comb straight hair, you do end up with an afro. However, some hair cannot genuinely ever really form ordered curls.

To showcase the spectrum of wash and go appearances, here are 3 general looks that you can expect. I have intentionally selected videos where the ladies have shorter hair as this length showcases curl patterns quite beautifully.

1. Hair that generally does not form ordered curls

Pearls of wisdom: My styling skills definitely need polishing, did you notice how she expertly creates fairly straight parts with her fingers alone? She also talks about accessorizing with hair clips or earrings. These are great tools for styling a natural wash and go.

2. Hair that naturally curls

Pearls of wisdom: She uses plenty of moisturizing products from curl activator and a water/glycerin mix. Notice how easy it is for her hair to form and retain the curl pattern without much prompting and also note her unique technique to reduce frizz. Finally, notice how she gently uses a comb to give her hair volume without breaking the curl pattern.

3.Hair that needs coiling to curl

Pearls of wisdom: I liked this video because her hair is actually a hybrid or 1 and 2. It almost looks like hair that does not generally form a curl but with a little encouragement with twirling, you do get a curl. In general, you will not be able to finger comb exclusively with this hair, the hair will generally be able to clump after combing or brushing.

4B and 4C ladies have you attempted wash and go’s? How did you handle the curl definition aspect?

The Natural Haven

The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!


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64 thoughts on “Wash and Go’s for 4B and 4C Hair

  1. JUST A TIP..for those who wear wash and go’s and are concerned with the tangles or knots that they might get or do get. I did a wash and go for the first time a few days ago…first time in maybe years. Surprisingly I don’t have any knots or tangles what I do every night is divide my hair in two sections ( a low pony tail on each side) and band each section loosely making sure not to band it to tight to prevent breakage.

  2. [the last vid] This is exactly why we need a hair typing system. Got all these Sistahs confused when their hair doesn’t curl. What a shame. This hair is not curly.

    • I agree with you… Hair typing can get a bit crazy, but yeah, it’s kind of helpful at times, and yes, you do have a point!! right, Ladies??

    • All black hair is curly, just a different kind of curl… a coil. Whatever term you choose to use its the same thing. If you pull out a strand of hair, it is coily. The expectation of results is obviously not the same. But curly it is!

  3. I’m relaxed but I naturally have 4C hair and my sister is natural with the same hair texture. I’ve realized that water-based moisturizes do not help at all. Any drop of water shrinks her hair so putting on that moisturizer shrinks it and makes it dry all over again and ultimately tangled. Products with soft water like Taliah Waajid (I think that’s how it’s spelled) stretches her hair but doesn’t last long. I used to wonder why naturals would say “I don’t mind getting my hair wet” because I’d rather get my hair wet, relaxed than natural in the rain! But nobody regardless of hair texture likes to get their hair wet when it’s been freshly done that day. It’s definitely a learning process though!

  4. I like the wash-n-go look for my hair even though it’s not a TWA anymore (and I love my shrinkage). The only issue is my curl pattern on top is wavy while the middle is more compact and the back has ringlets! Thankfully curl activators do help give me a more unified curl pattern. I usually wear my hair in small two strand twists to give me more curls when I take them down or spritz them and get ringlets. But now when my hair is loose and I wash it, I’ll still have a ringlet shape at the end of my hair and it stays that way. Did I accidentally manipulate my curl pattern?

  5. I need help! What kind of hair do I have? All I know is I have curls but my hair is so thick that its hard to see them! They are deep down under all the thickness! UGH! I don’t know what to use! My hair eats OIL!!!!

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  7. I have 4C/4B hair… I had the same frustration with my hair having no curl definition. Just about a week ago I saw a link on the TeamNatural Facebook page about the “Anthony Dickey” method for washing natural hair. 4C hair is naturally drier and easy to break so I do this every 2-3 days. Water is my hair’s best friend. After I tried this method … I’m happy to say I have a hair style I can just get out of the shower and go with! So don’t believe the hype about us 4C and 4B naturals having to manipulate our hair all of the time. We have curls too! :-)

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