Can wash and go’s really work on 4b hair? Here are some methods that may be more suitable for this hair type.
The first time I tried a wash and go I vowed to never do it again. The method I first used was to; wash my hair, coat it with Eco Styler gel and then literally go. This resulted in severe shrinkage; my hair looked like a TWA. I didn’t mind the look but the next day my hair was severely tangled. I had to painstakingly separate every strand as carefully as possible or risk breakage.
So what has changed? I have tried a number of methods in the last few months. Now I believe the wash and go is a styling option for me. Stretched out styles are better for my hair because they result in less knots. However, wash and go’s are great for women who work out a lot and enjoy frequent co washing. Here are some of the methods I found useful.
The Winter Wash and Go
This method was demonstrated by Naptural85. The style is prepared overnight and there is no need to rake gel or curling puddings through your hair. Wetting and washing your hair helps to bring out your natural curl pattern and putting your hair in large twists allows it to remain stretched. Some wouldn’t call this a wash and go but it is the most convenient method of bringing out your curl pattern. It simply involves washing and putting your hair in twists, while in the shower. So it encompasses the convenience of a wash and go, that may be lost with the traditional method. It’s ideal for winter because you don’t have to walk around with wet hair all day.
Conditioner only wash and go
Instead of using gel, perhaps try the ‘shingling’ method with your favorite conditioner. All of this can be done in the shower. Use your fingers to rake the conditioner through the hair. Some choose to leave a little conditioner in their hair, not rinsing it out completely. Now with other hair types, air drying may work best. However, with my 4b hair I found that this resulted in too much shrinkage, as my hair is very tightly coiled. Using a diffuser to dry my hair, gently stretching it with my fingers in the process, worked much better for me. To seal in the moisture you could also add some oil to the hair and rinse it slightly so that your hair doesn’t turn out to be too greasy. This is called an oil rinse. Simply using conditioner as opposed to raking gel through my hair resulted in far less shrinkage. The curls were not as defined and quite frizzy but I liked the level of volume my hair had.
Check out Alicia James’ wash and go tutorial, where she uses a diffuser to stretch her hair.
The traditional method
The traditional method is washing your hair and using gel or a styling product to enhance your curls. This usually ends with allowing your hair to air dry throughout the day. I believe this method is less effective for 4b hair because the amount of shrinkage experienced can be excessive. There is also a level of uncertainty about how the style will turn out because your hair will shrink gradually. Many women become disillusioned with their 4b curl pattern because it isn’t usually as defined as 4a or type 3 hair. While others can enjoy the convenience of this method and see their curls pop easily, 4b girls may not have the same experience. The other methods highlighted in this post may be more suitable.
It is simply a matter of trial and error. Most importantly, remember that a styling product cannot naturally create curls that do not already exist. I believe gel is more effective than a curl enhancing pudding/smoothie when trying this method on 4b hair. 4b strands need hold, in order to clump together. Otherwise the hair becomes more puffy and frizzy. However, I would avoid gels with maximum hold as they will cause too much shrinkage. Try gels that offer light to medium hold.
The fake wash and go
This is simply making a twist out look like a wash and go. Put your hair into small to medium-sized twists when wet, for more definition. When untwisting, instead of separating the hair three to four times, separate the twists once. This takes longer than a twists out, as the twists are smaller. However, you can wear your hair in a protective style for a few days and take your hair down for the weekend. This way you get two or more styles out of one. I find that this style lasts longer than a normal twist out because the twists are more defined. It looks like a wash and go even though my hair would never look like that after a real wash and go. There is no shrinkage to contend with and you will avoid the dreaded tangles that 4b hair usually experiences after a traditional wash and go.
Check out the tutorial for this method by Alicia James.
Don’t be discouraged
If the end result is the same it doesn’t matter which method was used, or that you were unable to achieve a wash and go by the traditional method. Do what works best for your hair type. 4b hair isn’t inferior to other hair types simply because it is kinky rather than curly. Your hair will have its own unique strengths, which you will discover as you practice caring for it.
Have you tried a wash and go? Share your experiences below.