By Hadassah Agbaps - November 05, 2012

Once in a while I rock a wash and go.
Despite being a natural all the days of my life, I'd never really done out styles until I got to university.
My hair was always in cornrows, mini twists and braids because in Nigeria, out styles were (and still is) perceived as undone hair.
When I got to the university,  I rarely braided or plaited (aka cornrows ) my hair. This was because I didn't trust anyone to do my hair without damaging it.

Back home, there were two women I trusted with my hair. One ( Auntie Salamatu) handled the braiding and the other ( we call her Auntie Touch of Beauty after her hair salon) handled the washing, steaming and roller setting. She was a certified beautician. She taught me how to avoid harsh shampoos, how to care for my hair on a budget and she did my first roller setting on natural hair. She was always gentle and her cold homemade lemonade was a treat! Her hair salon was of high standards and a bit pricey but she had discounts for students. I didn't mind though because my hair loved her.
Auntie Salamatu specialized in protective styles such as mini twists and intricately designed cornrows. She was also very adventurous with hair styles and that suited me just fine because I loved "unique " hairstyles.

So with Auntie Salamatu and Auntie Touch of Beauty way back home and me in university in another state, I was forced to be my own hairstylist. I had to juggle between studying, caring for my hair and caring for others.

I could only manage mini twists and that was on my spa days (my spa days started in university after I broke down one day due to exhaustion. I swore I would never neglect myself again!).
Most days I would either bun my hair or flatiron it. The weather played a major role in my styling.
When it was rainy and humid, I would sport mini twists, Afro puffs and buns. When it was dry and cold, I would sport straight flat ironed hair, blowouts and weaves.  I loved straight hair during this season because my hair was less likely to revert and my straight style would last a minimum of  two weeks without touch ups. I had the sense to use heat protection and my favorite was BLOW FISH...I loved me my BlowFish. It kept my strands supple,protected and with it my straightened hair lasted. My hair was also very glossy.  Sadly, I think it's been discontinued. I would have stocked up the whole product when I had the chance...*sigh*

Anyways, it was on one rainy humid day that I discovered the Wash and Go...(a junkism purchase of a curl activator called Jack5 by Softsheen also played a major role). Those days, in house internet was only for the privileged few so basically, I was on my own with my hair care. I didn't have the privilege of getting help from natural hair care forums, so I just had to listen to my hair.

So, back to my wash and go.... well, I washed my hair and deep conditioned it with Organics Hair Mayonnaise ( this was also my go to styling product then. I loved how it tamed my flyaways without caking like the regular hair gels available).
Then, I raked a big glob of curl activator through my hair, loved my curls and the Wash and Go was born. I loved it!
The rainy humid weather helped with maintaining moisture levels and my curls stayed soft.
Then came the uncomfortable weave checks ( I didn't like people touching my hair. Admire, Yes. Touch, No.)  and the unpredictable sun ( I feared it would burn up my fro) and I had to limit the frequency of the style.
Fast forward to today and with more information on natural hair care, my wash and go has evolved....a little.
Here's my wash and go routines then and now.

I washed with Shampoo ( I think it was Dove or Pantene then). These shampoos were not drying to my hair.

Then I conditioned with either the Dove or Pantene conditioners combing through with a wide tooth comb.

Then I mini deep conditioned with Organics Hair Mayonnaise for five minutes and then rinsed.

Then I dried out my hair with my big fluffy towel by dabbing ( even then, I knew that rubbing would make my hair tangle like no man's biz).

I applied a large amount of the Jack Five curl activator in roughly four sections and finger styled until I was satisfied with the curl clumping and definition.

That was that and I was off to school feeling real fly like that curly haired girl I saw in Girlfriends...(yes, that would be Tracee E. Ross).

My wash and go hasn't changed so much 5 years down the line but by browsing natural hair resource site, I've tweaked it.

I cowash instead of shampoo.

Then I finger comb and remove excess water using praying hands ( I learnt this from Nikki of curlynikki.com).

Then I apply my own curl activator which is a mix of aloevera, shea butter,conditioner and some essential oils and finger style carefully to clump my curls together.

I also make two large twists ( while hair is still wet) to stretch my hair a bit. Sometimes I apply more aloevera gel to my edges and to stubborn curls.

I cover with a shower cap to ensure that my hair is deeply moisturised.
This reduces the likelihood of poofiness, shrinkage and frizzing ( maybe because the hair won't look to the environment for moisture... I think). It works for me and some of my friends bold enough to rock a wash and go.

Before I head out, I carefully untwist the two big twists and keep my hands out of my hair for the rest of the day.
Note..I rarely dry with towels unless my hair is drip dripping away and then I just drape it on to absorb excess water.

To preserve my wash and go, I either sleep with a shower cap or I make two large twists and come morning, I bathe with my hair out to revive my curls and spritz with condish water when my hair is extremely dry.
I seal with olive oil or coconut oil by smothering it over my hair taking care not to disrupt coils.
From some sites, I notice some naturals complain of knots, tangles and splits when rocking the wash and go especially those with longer, tightly coiled hair.
Those with medium length hair and looser curls/coils seem to be fine.
Personally with my mostly 4b strands, I don't have such problems as long as I moisturise well, leave my hair alone and keep my hair in large twists when going to bed.
I also don't wash and go often because constantly wetting and drying of the hair could weaken hair strands as it keeps expanding and contracting to accommodate water.

I don't have pictures of my wash and gos way back when because I never thought that one day, I'll be sharing my experiences in writing ....now I know better...; )
Here's pictures of some I've rocked so far.


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  1. Awesome post...I'm about to try the wash and go...hopefully it'll look as pretty as yours😍😍😍 I hv a quick question though: Why do you cowash instead of washing with a regular sufate free shampoo?

    1. Oh, wow! Just seeing this like 3 yes later! Dang it!!!
      Still, lemme reply. I cowash because it helps my wash and gos stay hydrated for longer. It also makes doing the wash and go faster because conditioners clump my curls while washing.


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