At this point in my nat­ur­al hair jour­ney, I’m cer­tain of three things:

  • I suck at doing twist-outs.
  • I can hen­na my hair in my sleep.
  • I have pret­ty much mas­tered the wash and go.

Even though I’ve prac­ti­cal­ly got my wash and go down to a sci­ence (a super sci­ence, thanks to my new dif­fuser), some­times soft, boun­cy curls and coils will elude me. Typ­i­cal­ly, I can pin­point the cul­prit — a wack con­di­tion­er that didn’t prime my hair for styling, a wack prod­uct that zapped the life from my hair, or me being wack in how I applied it. Some­times, it’s a com­bi­na­tion of 2 or all 3. The wash and go game is all about tri­al and error and I’m here to present to you 4 com­mon wash and go woes that I’ve expe­ri­enced, and how I’ve fixed them to avoid the exces­sive manip­u­la­tion that comes with wash­ing and start­ing again from scratch (although some­times that is necessary…if a prod­uct is THAT bad).

Wash and Go Woe #1: Flaky Prod­ucts

It has hap­pened to me on sev­er­al occa­sions: I find a curl defin­er I’m real­ly excit­ed about, and even my “test patch” goes well. But some­where between wish­ful think­ing and overzeal­ous appli­ca­tion of prod­uct, my hair looks great while wet but once dry — it looks dull, whitish, and my shoul­ders look like polar ice caps.

The Fix: All hope isn’t lost. As a tem­po­rary fix, sec­tion your hair and grab your favorite oil. Work enough oil (usu­al­ly a nick­le sized amount will do depend­ing on the length and thick­ness of your hair) through each sec­tion, and it should ban­ish enough of the flakes to get you through the next few days until it is time to wash. What­ev­er you do, don’t add more prod­uct, or any type of con­di­tion­er, mois­tur­iz­er, lotion, hair milk — none of that. It will only exac­er­bate the prob­lem. Oh, and avoid dark col­ored shirts until you wash again :)

Wash and Go Woe #2: Dry as the Desert

Your prod­uct says it won’t dry your hair out, and you dou­ble-check the label for dry­ing alco­hols and oth­er no-no ingre­di­ents. It looks good, is nice and slip­py, and feels like silk when it goes on your hair. But two hours lat­er, your hair could jus­ti­fi­ably be mis­tak­en for a tum­ble­weed.

The Fix:  Did you add a lay­er of mois­ture under your curl defin­er? If not, now’s the time. If you did, grab a spray bot­tle of water, and what­ev­er leave-in and mois­tur­iz­er you used under­neath the prod­uct that dried your hair out. In sec­tions, gen­tly spritz (to make the hair more work­able) with water, apply a small amount of leave-in, and mois­tur­iz­er on top. Before going all willy-nil­ly with prod­uct, do a small test patch to make sure you won’t get white balls and flakes that send you back up to prob­lem #1. After apply­ing all 3 lay­ers of mois­ture, light­ly seal with your oil of choice. That should hold you a few days.

Wash and Go Woe #3: The Fuzzies

Maybe you for­got to pineap­ple before bed­time, or you got the itchies and mas­saged your scalp to hard. Or if you’re like me, you start­ed play­ing in your hair before it was ful­ly dry. What­ev­er the cause, you’ve now got the fuzzies, and it’s look­ing like you should aban­don all wash and go hope and opt for a bun.

The Fix: Don’t bring out the bun yet! There’s a neat lit­tle fix that will com­plete­ly flip your wash and go. For hair that is gen­er­al­ly fuzzy, take the front/center sec­tion of your hair and do it over. Seri­ous­ly. Wash it, con­di­tion it, and apply prod­uct to it. Use a blow dry­er or dif­fuser to expe­di­ent the dry­ing process and lay it over the rest of the frizz. As an added bonus, add a lit­tle slick­ness around the edges with an edge con­trol prod­uct (like Curls Pas­sion Fruit Curl Con­trol Paste) or a but­ter blend. It’s the same con­cept as redo­ing the top few rows of braids or twists — cam­ou­flag­ing the mess with a per­fect­ly man­i­cured perime­ter.

Wash and Go Woe #4: Soul Glo Greasy

At some point, I real­ly do need to accept that styling prod­ucts with humec­tants high up on the list are a no-go for me. Yes, the mois­ture is amaz­ing. But in then end, my hair is sticky and per­pet­u­al­ly shrunk­en for days. The same goes for stir-crazy appli­ca­tion of heavy oils and but­ters. Weighed down, stringy hair and grease spots on every thing I touch is what hap­pens when­ev­er my wash and go is too sticky or oily.

The Fix: Alco­hol — in the form of a hold­ing or styling spray. Before you x out of this arti­cle or leave me a crazy com­ment, hear me out. Greasy or sticky shrunk­en hair has too much mois­ture, or a prod­uct that draws in or retains too much mois­ture. Your hair may be nice and shiny, but do you real­ly want to have to wash your hands every 20 min­utes because you acci­den­tal­ly touched your hair? Sprays that con­tain alco­hol will help suck up the excess mois­ture and oil — which is why nat­ur­al and tran­si­tion­ing ladies are told to avoid them. Under nor­mal cir­cum­stances, alco­hol-laden sprays will dry out the hair and cause break­age. But to tem­porar­i­ly fix your sticky sit­u­a­tion, they’re per­fect. My go-to spray that sucks up just enough mois­ture with­out leav­ing my hair feel­ing dry, brit­tle, or hard is the Ouidad Flex­i­ble Hold Spray — although I’m almost cer­tain this is not the intend­ed pur­pose for this prod­uct.

What oth­er wash and go woes have you encoun­tered? Let’s help each oth­er out!

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and liv­ing in Los Ange­les, Christi­na is BGLH’s res­i­dent tran­si­tion­ing expert and prod­uct junkie. In addi­tion to lov­ing all things hair, she is a fit­ness novice and advo­cate of wear­ing san­dals year-round. For more infor­ma­tion on tran­si­tion­ing, nat­ur­al hair, and her own hair jour­ney, vis­it maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pic­tures fol­low Christi­na on Insta­gram @maneobjective.

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11 Comments on "4 Easy Fixes for Common Wash and Go Problems"

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reese

Great arti­cle!!! The info you pro­vide is sooo help­ful and your writ­ing is superb! Keep em com­ing! :-)

smarie

Thanks for this. I think the best fix for peo­ple that think they can’t do a Wash & Go is a good hair­cut. Wash and Go’s look great on all tex­tures and just take a bit of finesse with prod­ucts to make them work.

Miss Mo

Lmaooooooo, you fun­ny as hell Smarie

Cygnet
I describe my hair as vari­able curly. It has vari­ably-sized S curves in front with coils in the low­er back and nape. I don’t try to type it, but my sis­ter thinks it’s 4C. I’m final­ly able to stretch the sides down to the top of my armpit while hold­ing my head straight and my shoul­ders neu­tral. I’ve been wet styling–If I described my reg­i­men, I think most of you would call it a wash & go–since this past Sep­tem­ber in prac­tice of a reg­i­men based on the Curly Girl method. Climb­ing the learn­ing curve has been inter­est­ing. Cur­rent­ly, I… Read more »
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maiara

wash n go ain’t work­ing for me, my 4b hair shrunks and friz­zles a lot, the shrunk­ness wouldn’t be a prob­lem if it a least looked cute, but it looks teri­ble. (sor­ry my eng­lish, I’m brazil­ian)

Dananana

Your shrink­age is beau­ti­ful, maiara. I know because I have nev­er seen ugly shrink­age :P But, hav­ing a lot of fine 4B/C hair myself, I under­stand why you wouldn’t like wash and gos. My hair shrinks about 85% of its length, and I have yet to find a wash and go method that doesn’t leave me with knots galore and/or break­age :(

Dananana

Adden­dum: It’s a shame that I haven’t, because I would real­ly love to be able to actu­al­ly wash and go!

LBell
Re 1: Even though I’ve got my sta­ples down I still have a few items in the stash that I haven’t got­ten rid of yet. Try­ing some of those last month result­ed in a flaky sit­u­a­tion. How­ev­er, since I’ve been using my blow-dry­er and the ten­sion method to add stretch, I found that the air blew the flakes away…or at least made them less notice­able. Re 3: I’m a 4b…fuzzies come with the ter­ri­to­ry. :) That said, I recent­ly tried lay­er­ing oil over my styler using the pray­ing hands tech­nique and that reduced a good deal of fuzz. Re 4: I… Read more »
Jacky
Love­ly, i loved it! Thanks Christi­na and thanks BGLH for post­ing. I’ve had that sticky wash n go prob­lem from a gel that i used. The curls were great but also a no-go, no-touch area. When i saw your solu­tion( Alco­hol ), i was a bit con­fused but not gonna attack you or any­thing like that but after i read through the rest of the arti­cle, i think it’s rea­son­able. I think i may pur­chase a prod­uct that has alco­hol in it, oth­er­wise I’m stuck with a gel that i wan­na use but can’t because of the sticky mess that… Read more »
darkchildlovethyhair

Very help­ful post. I know the tips will come in handy as I am now ready to start exper­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent styles (leav­ing the awk­ward stage behind). Thanks Christi­na :-)

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