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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?

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64 Comments on "Wash and Go’s for 4B and 4C Hair"

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Adrirnne
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… Read more »
kai

How do you/ want prod­ucts do you use to define 4c curls.…getting tired of braid outs, twist outs, Ban­tu knots,etc

ryan riversrelationship rewind

As Idgie (Mas­ter­son) and Ruth (Park­er), the two share a spe­cial
bond off friend­ship and become own­ers of the Whis­tle Stop Cafe in the ’30’s.

This isn’t a job inter­view, but you should at least have tak­en
a show­er, made your­self pre­sentable and added a few spe­cial touch­es, like a small bit of cologne or a spe­cial neck­lace.
Your ex most like­ly loves you as a per­son, so when you agree to be “just friends,” it’s aan excel­lent res­o­lu­tion for him or her.

Renee Perry

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!!!!

shanae

you most like­ly have a 4a hair pat­tern, that def­i­nite­ly describes my hair also.

Lizzie
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… Read more »
Miya
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!… Read more »
Bri

[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.
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Rho

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!

Cynthia

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??

Monique

For­got to add I have 4a/4b hair.

mo

My name is Monique too

Monique

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.

LaNeshe

Since today is the first real­ly warm day of the year I opt­ed for a wash and go. I prob­a­bly do 5 wash and gos a year at most. My hair has real­ly tight curls/coils. I used Karen’s Body Beau­ti­ful leave in and KCCC with nice results. I do have more tan­gles with wash and goes than stretched styles, which is why I don’t do it too often.

Destiny
So much ban­ter and back and forth! do what suits you! Despite all the argu­ments against wng for 4 hair, I tried it any­ways, and found that it real­ly worked for me, espe­cial­ly when I got my oil bal­ance right. I actu­al­ly dis­cov­ered that the con­stant stretch­ing that type 4 hair peo­ple always cham­poin was actu­al­ly ruin­ing my curl pat­tern. For all those ladies and men who believe that a wng don’t work con­sid­er your every­day reg­i­men, do you keep it stretched all the time? Your hair is pro­brabably over­stretched, so it wouldn’t look good in a wng unless you do… Read more »
Kayla

Since when did a wash n go become wash and go and curl? Noth­ing in the name implies that you have to have or define a curl pat­tern or what­ev­er, so why is that now a require­ment? A wash and go should be sim­ple: wash and go. Of course, your hair should be mois­tur­ized and well kept, but that’s a require­ment for a healthy hair regime, not the style. Let’s keep it sim­ple. All of this is too much.

danielle

I like wash and gos because I’m lazy. I dont both­er with the twist­ing, rak­ing, coil­ing, or what­ev­er oth­er tech­niques are out there.. I have start­ed learn­ing to flat twist though, but I’m not a fan of the stretched look. Per­haps because my hair is still short

Caramelcurls

As a 4a/b nat­ur­al, I per­son­al­ly have no desire to do wash and goes. I pre­fer to keep my hair stretched via a braid out. I wash and con­di­tion my hair every 2 weeks and braid it every oth­er night. I don’t use direct heat. I’ve been nat­ur­al for about a year and a half and my hair is grow­ing, healthy, and hap­py. I would not want to deal with leav­ing the house with my hair wet or the knots and tan­gles often asso­ci­at­ed with wash and goes. I say do what works for your hair!

LBell
The WNG in its lit­er­al sense — where it’s not so much about curl def­i­n­i­tion as it is about hav­ing the free­dom, after years of relax­ers and all that implies, to lit­er­al­ly just wash and go — is what made me first fall in love with my TWA. In all the years I’ve been nat­ur­al I’ve BC’d five times, includ­ing the orig­i­nal BC. For the first four of those times, I’d be a hap­py camper for the first 6–8 months or so because my hair reg­i­men would be a piece of cake. Past 4 inch­es it was no longer enough… Read more »
Rain

My whole twa stage was a wash’n’go so I had my fill and enjoyed it but the tan­gles are not worth the price of a cute hair­style that may not last long…

Grey Poupon

Lol @ wash n go 4b hair. As if! My hair would be a mat­ter mess.

Cami

My wash n go with no prod­uct. Excuse my face I’m not wear­ing make-up either. lol
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efa

your hair is the cutest!!! i am in envy with your wash n go it looks so lush!!

Cami

Thank you :)

LaNeshe

So cute!

Cami

Thank You :)

Tisha
I wore a wash and go few months ago b/c my scalp was so dirty that I couldn’t take it any­more. It was morn­ing and I had to go to work. So I co-washed, than I added some gel by using 4 big sections.It took me 10 min­utes. The results were cute and it was fun hav­ing my hair stand straight up for a few days. I had approx. 10 inch­es of hair at that time. Just b/c I don’t have elon­gat­ed curls, doesn’t mean a wash n go is impos­si­ble for me. It is not the “priv­i­lege” of only a… Read more »
jungfrau1010
I rocked wash & go for the 1st year or so of being a new nat­ur­al with a TWA. It was fun & I felt super fly­yyy with it. I worked the Kinky curly knot Today & Kinky curly curl­ing cus­tard thru it in sec­tions from root to tip dai­ly, sham­poo­ing dai­ly to refresh it. My hair is very thick and I did not get any curl def­i­n­i­tion but since I was not on any healthy hair jour­ney or aware that You Tube and an online com­mu­ni­ty of nat­ur­al hair mavens exist­ed, I nev­er had that expec­ta­tion & was fine… Read more »
LM

I love how defined my curls look and how big and volup­tuous my fro is after a wash n go with shea mois­ture and eco styler gel, using the rak­ing method with my fin­gers. How­ev­er, the tan­gles and knots that come with it are despi­ca­ble lol. After a few days of wear­ing a wash n go, I can count on hav­ing to detan­gle my hair over a course of a cou­ple of days smh. If I ever try a wash n go again (maybe this sum­mer), I will try twist­ing my hair night­ly to stretch the curls and min­i­mize tan­gles.

efa
you know what real­ly helps dis­oslve tan­gles after a wash n go? oil. after i wash and go if my hair is tan­g­ly i drench my head with water, no condish­ioner. then i sec­tion it into work­able parts and cov­er the sec­tion im detan­gling in oil. it is the best detan­gler ever and has slip like you would not believe. hope­ful­ly that helps when you wash n go this sum­mer.!! :) (also i dont use combs so it would be easy breezy if you use a comb to detan­gle and i have 4a/3c hybrid on my hair if that mat­ters… Read more »
Tabatha

I have tried the wash and curl with my hair and I didn’t like it. It was too mat­ted to my head and I couldn’t get it to look like any­thing that looked like I even groomed my hair in any fash­ion. So Wash in go is not for me at this moment. Things may change in the future you nev­er know.

shelikes
to video num­ber 3 — you asked a good ques­tion. i spent years and years dam­ag­ing my hair hair fol­li­cles and scalp with heat, relax­er, etc., then as i tried to grow it out nat­u­ral­ly, i labeled my hair as coarse. it WAS just like yours. well, i had spent most of my life dam­ag­ing it, so of course it was coarse. it was not nat­u­ral­ly coarse, because pri­or to the dam­age, ie at 1–5 yrs of age, it was thick but kind of soft. my moth­er was lazy and did­nt want to be both­ered with comb­ing and plat­ting, plus… Read more »
juanita617

That was a “feel good” mes­sage. Thanks for shar­ing. :)

Lurie
I’ve nev­er been able to do a wash and go beyond what you see in that pic­ture. My wash-n-gos are real­ly wash-n-Fros. I love wear­ing a big nap­py Afro so I’m ok with that. But I have to braid up my Afro at night so that it is man­age­able the next day. So the “go” or the sim­plic­i­ty part of a “wash n go” doesn’t real­ly apply to my 4C hair. It’s impor­tant to set expec­ta­tions — our 4C hair can do things oth­er types can’t and vice ver­sa. So long as you love the hair you have, you are… Read more »
gapch

i think your hair is gor­geous. it rocks. but i think the con­fu­sion is many peo­ple image of a “wash and go” is real­ly “wash and hair will flow.” 

as this arti­cle points out every­one hair is dif­fer­ent. many peo­ple just have learned to accept the fact that their hair is a “wash and fro.” instead they do all sort of manip­u­la­tion and styling tech­niques to get the “wash and hair will flow” appear­ance. to each its own

lilkunta

@ Lurie : AMEN and THANK YOU. I have 4d 4e 5a hair. I cant do a wash & go bc the end coil so bad­ly. I wash con­di­tion then quick­ly plait it. I can only do my hair wet bc dry it is clump and I hear it snap and break as the comb moves through ut.

silkynaps

your hair is so pret­ty!

Lurie

Thank you!

caribbeancurl

How do you get the hair to be so uni­formed all around? Do you still have to manip­u­late (pat some areas, tug some areas) because when i sim­ply wash and allow to air dry, its lumpy as cere­al, not all round­ed.

caribbeancurl

oh and how do u take care of the tan­gles, if any, when u want anoth­er style? IS it an auto­mat­ic trip back to the show­er?

Deb

i mean curls/coils are cool but some peo­ple focus waaaaaaaaaaay too much on mak­ing their “curls pop”. We all know that for most peo­ple there’s some deep­er rea­son than just pref­er­ence. Our hair is so ver­sa­tile, enjoy it’s ver­sa­til­i­ty!

I’m not say­ing this arti­cle or the women in the videos are like that (I’m not inside their heads) just speak­ing in gen­er­al.

efa
i com­plet­ly agree. idk when i wash and go its legit because i have no time to do my hair so i wash it dry it throw in some leave in and some­thing to seal and leave. my hair is nat­u­ral­ly clumps alot so i dont use gel to “define and hold” them because idk i dont care? when i see peo­ple using half a tub of eco styler to “define” a curl im like whats the point. also ur going to need to wash tomor­row because of the prod­uct all over ur hair. idk i like to keep it… Read more »
Lorraine
Well stat­ed, Deb! One of the deep­er rea­sons being that some Black nat­u­rals defin­ing their curls want to appear “bira­cial” or like they have “good hair.” Just being real. When I saw YouTube videos of Black women doing that, that’s instant­ly what I thought.  I also don’t like when peo­ple com­pli­ment nat­u­rals who have every curl defined and don’t com­pli­ment the sis­tas with the twist-outs or the big puffy Solange Knowles hair. Thing is, defin­ing your curls is great, it’s a valid part of the nat­ur­al hair move­ment, defined wash and go’s have helped a lot of women stay nat­ur­al… Read more »
gapch

i was with you until the sec­ond para­graph. how is long­ing for defined curls and using manip­u­la­tion tech­niques any dif­fer­ent than using twist outs to force a pat­tern of hair or tex­ture thats dif­fer­ent than what he she nat­ur­al have. twist outs are the most pop­u­la­tion manipulation/ defin­ing tech­nique. if you wouldve lim­it­ed your argu­ment to “afro” instead of “afro and twist out” i wouldve been with you

Cami
I agree and also dis­agree. I agree that curl deffinition/obssession is whack, but as you can see from my post below I can wash and go with­out heavy gels, creams, or pomades. I DO NOT rake, shin­gle, or shi­lack­le my hair. When I step out of the show­er I wrap my hair in t-shirt to absorb the extra mois­ture then shake my hair and let it fall where it wants. Some tex­tures clump on their own. What would be detri­men­tal for my hair would be pick­ing it out into an afro or puff. On top of that, pick­ing and fluff­ing… Read more »
Lorraine

LOL! “Shi­lack­le my hair.” I agree on the major manip­u­la­tion point.

Dananana

I wish I would have seen this when I was new­ly nat­ur­al, it would have been so help­ful to my self-esteem! Great arti­cle.

Vonnie

Lol I have not been able to do “wash & go’s” since I had a TWA, and to try now, with all the fin­ger-rak­ing with prod­uct and such, is not worth my time. Besides now that my hair is longer wear­ing my hair out is a no-go for length reten­tion. I have 4c hair.

Lorraine
My daugh­ter has very thick 4b hair and while she looks pret­ty with wash and go’s, her hair at 12 inch­es is too long for her to wear them often. She gets hor­ri­ble tan­gles and it takes for­ev­er as you said, Von­nie, to do all that rak­ing and defin­ing of each curl with gel to achieve the wash and go. I have 3c/4a hair and I don’t feel like doing all of that on a reg­u­lar basis. And don’t skip a ses­sion whether you want do it week­ly or every three days! 4a hair almost feels dread­loocked. Medi­um-sized braids, twists,… Read more »
G

I thought the pur­pose of a wash n go is to show­case your curls, waves & coils. MOST not all 4b/4a nat­u­rals dont have curls, waves and coils so they usu­al­ly dont do wng.

Nubiahbella

I find it insane when peo­ple put so much lim­i­ta­tions on their hair because they think only one look is accept­able for some hair­styles. We still have a long way to go.

Peo­ple across races with var­i­ous hair tex­ture have been wash and going as it’s real­ly a sim­ple (and con­ve­nient) hair­style.

Finally,What some call (4b,4a,4c, nap­py, kinky etcc.… ) IS indeed curly hair, if it wasn’t it wouldn’t shrink up!

Jo Somebody

Zig-zaggy/non-curly/kinky hair will shrink up too, in the same way an accor­dion works.

Barbara

I wouldn’t say wash n go’s “pur­pose” is to show­case curls BUT that seems to be the case for LOTS and LOTS of women even if it means using half a jar of gel to get “curls to pop”. 

I’m 4b/4a and wash and lit­er­al­ly go-no gel, no shin­gling, no try­ing to define curls, just pick it out with some oil and go.

Kade

I have 3c 4a as well as 4b and 4c ALL of which CURL is some­way or anoth­er!!! I don’t under­stand why peo­ple say 4c hair doesn’t have a curl pat­tern because I have noticed that I have a small­er curl pat­tern on my head of which isnt my 4b curls/coils…AND on that note I don’t think 4b zigzags…AHHH!! to be hon­est the whole hair typ­ing sys­tem is a mess!!

juanita617

I’m glad you said that because to be hon­est, I’ve nev­er seen any­one with zigzag hair. I’m still tran­si­tion­ing but I know I have 4c hair but because I can see a curl pat­tern I now think it’s 4b. I can see some see­ing zigza­gs once it’s combed out and stretched out. Idk…interesting point though.

gapch

just because you havent seen it does­nt mean it does­nt exist. there are those who hair does­nt coil or curl it takes on a z pat­tern.

Mel

A wash and go is sup­posed to be a low main­te­nance style. Not nec­es­sar­i­ly to show­case “curls, waves, and coils”, ANYONE can do a wash and go.…SMFH I think most peo­ple with 4a and 4b hair choose not to do wash and go’s because of tan­gles and knots, not because of lack of “coils”.

gapch

i think most peo­ple with that tex­ture dont do wash and gos because if they sim­ply wash and go they have a fro… which they havent embraced and are instead chas­ing a loose curl or wave pat­tern that they can only get from twist outs, braid outs, hen­na treat­ments and the such…

until they learn to accept a wash and go for what it is they wont do it…

LaNeshe

I AGREE! Every­one can do a wash and go, but peo­ple who think it doesn’t “work” for them are look­ing for their hair to hang or do some­thing unnat­ur­al. 4b and 4c unless very long will not hang like the wash and goes of oth­er curl types.

gapch

a few tan­gles are nat­ur­al. rock that fro

Lillian Mae

RE: I think most peo­ple with 4a and 4b hair choose not to do wash and go’s because of tan­gles and knots, not because of lack of “coils”.

This is exact­ly why I would nev­er wear a wng!

Mia

I have 4a hair and all I do is wash n go’s.The key is MOISTURE INTENSE products…I real­ly dont have trou­bles with tan­gles and knots because of the prod­ucts I use.

Tashi

What Prod­ucts do you use?

Chanelle Indigofera, Beauty Expert

You are right all curl pat­terns unique. It is impor­tant not to obsess over curls. Love your coils and kinks. See how I cre­ate tex­ture for my model’s thick coily hair in this video http://indigoferabeauty.blogspot.com/2013/01/natural-hair-styling-tutorial-loose.html
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