I want dry, frizzy, natural hair with no pattern—said no one ever. It’s pretty safe to say that we all want healthy, easy-to-manage hair that looks as good on day two as it did on day one. With that in mind, we also know that the key to helping your natural texture look its best comes down to three main things: consistency, hydration, and moisture. No matter what your texture is, one option to getting all three in one go is through a little hair magic—aka, the wash-n-go method.
What is a wash-n-go?
Also known as the wash-n-wear routine, a wash-n-go is a hair care method and technique designed to transform hair into soft, hydrated, and manageable tresses while preventing future damage (even if you use heat from time-to-time). Wash-n-go’s stand out because the majority of the method takes place in your shower by adding your styling products (and some styling steps) directly to your hair after cleansing and/or conditioning.
How do you wash-n-go?
Whether you’re transitioning to natural hair or you’ve been riding the natural texture train for a while, a wash-n-go is gentle, versatile, and flexible (with a knack for saving you time), making it a great addition to just about any hair care routine. You can do them as often as you like—even twice a day!—or extend your wash-n-go up to three days. The more you do them, the healthier your hair will be. Sounds great! But, what does adding a wash-n-go to your routine really look like?
Wet & prep your hair
Go through your shower routine as normal—cleanse and condition your hair, co-wash, or simply saturate your hair throughout with water. After prepping your hair, add in your new wash-n-go steps. Note: you can incorporate wash-n-go’s outside of the shower as well. We simply recommend them in the shower to make things easier.
From thinnest to thickest, while your hair is still soaking wetland you’re in the shower, apply your styling products. Doing this helps your hair soak in the benefits of your products, making them more effective and in turn building a natural defense against potential damage. Finger comb each product through your hair for even distribution and to keep your locks from tangling.
Set your style & dry
Style your hair in the shower as you would if you were out. Styling at this point will seal moisture into your hair and lock in your texture’s natural pattern. The way you style it in the shower is how it will look when it’s dry, so keep that in mind. When you get out of the shower, your hair should still mostly be wet. Squeeze or scrunch out any excess water and then you’ll be ready to move onto drying. From here, you have a few options:
Air Drying The Day Away
Letting your hair dry naturally is one of the best ways to maintain your texture’s health, and it’s the epitome of washing-and-going because you can easily leave it as is. If the day is especially humid, however, you can add a small amount of your preferred styler post-shower, such as Kinky Curling Cream, Curly Whip, Wavy Mousse, or Blow It All Out, while scrunching or slipping the product through your hair with your hands for a boost of volume and protection against. Either way, once your hair is how you want it to look, hands off until dry!
Old School Dryers Never Get Old
For a salon-quality look, putting your hair under a pre-warmed portable hooded dryer is the way to go. Hooded dryers, while bulky in the salon, have come a long way. There are numerous affordable options out there and some are low-profile for easy storing in between sessions. Additionally, they’re gentle on your texture and will evenly dry your hair by wet-setting it. Especially for curly or kinky textures, this is a great way to prep your hair for the week on a Sunday evening while getting in some Netflix bingeing.
We know not everyone has time for air drying or a hooded dryer—especially during the winter months—so if this sounds like you, we recommend diffusing. Gently diffusing your texture on a low-to-warm heat setting will speed up your wash-n-go without detracting from your results. As we mentioned, wash-n-go’s help to naturally prevent damage by layering products onto your hair while wet, so diffusing your hair with mild heat shouldn’t cause extreme dryness or damage. For added volume, flip your hair over and diffuse that way until mostly dry.
A Hot, Heatless Style
If you have a curly to kinky texture, and are looking to switch things up, wash-n-go’s can be the ideal addition to your routine to prep your hair for a blow out. Follow Dickey’s steps to get an at-home straight style without damaging your spirals, coils, or kinks.
No matter which way you choose to dry your wash-n-go, here are our two pro tips that will take your style to the next level:
- When your hair is at least 90% dry, use a blow dryer with a concentrator attachment and aim it at your roots. If you have straight or wavy hair, this will give your roots one final boost of volume; if you have curly or kinky hair, you can use this to elongate your curls or coils for added length and volume.
- Make sure to complete your look with a finishing product. Hydrating Finishing Balm is a go-to final step for any texture. Simply apply a small dime-sized amount to your palm, distribute it evenly from palm to palm, and then work it through your ends and watch your hair shine like the crown it is. If you have curly or kinky hair, using Hydrating Finishing Balm lets you shake out your style (especially if you’re using a gel that leaves a bit of a cast while drying) to accentuate your pattern.
Are wash-n-go’s for my hair?
No two curls are the same, even on a single head of hair. Similarly, a single head of hair could have a wide range of textures on it, so knowing what works for your hair—and specifically, if wash-n-go’s are good for you—is really dependent on testing how a method or technique fits into your unique routine. Simply put, you won’t know until you try. But, to help you decide, there are a few characteristics that cause some textures to naturally soak up and bask in the glory of a wash-n-go:
- Dry, brittle, staticky, or frizzy hair
- Dry environments/climates
- Chemically-treated or dyed hair
- Naturally drier textures, such as curly or kinky hair
- Tight patterns looking for elongation
Dry hair, as well as curly and kinky textures, is often considered “difficult to manage,”—to which we say, you’d be difficult to manage too if no one ever hydrated you. In reality, hair is only difficult to manage when it’s being mistreated through ineffective products or a subpar hair care routine. Any texture can be supple, silkeny, or lustrous—it’s all about listening to your hair.
How do you revive a wash-n-go?
Knowing how long to wear your wash-n-go is dependent on your specific texture, but we recommend not going beyond two or three days maximum to avoid dryness taking hold. To extend your wash-n-go to the max, try wearing a bonnet or putting your hair in a pineapple style at night to protect your pattern. In the morning, fluff out your hair and infuse moisture back into your texture by adding an oil or moisturizing product, such as Hydrating Finishing Balm, to your ends. This will help freshen up your look and, for curly and kinky textures, it can help redefine your curl pattern. If your hair needs volume, try our pro tip of focusing a blow dryer with a concentrator attachment at your roots to add body back into your hair.
Mastering a wash-n-go technique takes time and patience—there is no single cut and dry way for all hair. In fact, we’d say that’s the beauty of it! Your wash-n-go is completely custom to your lifestyle and needs. That being said, you don’t have to do it alone. Talk face-to-face through a virtual consultation with Dickey, learn how to get a salon-quality wash-n-go with the Anthony Dickey method, or visit our New York Salon or LA Studio to get guidance and tips designed for your natural texture. Whether a wash-n-go is for you or not, always remember to love your texture because your hair is beautiful!