Curly Only While Wet? Type 4 Wash and Go Tips!

Photo Courtesy of Natasha Leeds

Achieving a wash and go on Type 4 hair can be challenging if you don’t know what you’re doing. It is even more challenging if you are trying to use the same products and technique as someone who does not share your curl pattern. The first thing to note is whether your hair actually has curl definition. Anyone can do a wash and go, but not everyone can create natural curl definition. Curl definers can only enhance what you already have. If your hair is curly while wet but frizzy when dry, then this can eliminate your problems.

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Smoothing without shingling or raking

Puffy roots are a result of not thoroughly applying products. It is important to evenly shingle throughout your hair with your fingers. There is nothing wrong with using a comb for the detangling process, but it is important to switch to your fingers during the styling process. Using your fingers to distribute product will help to clump the curls, which reduces frizz and increases elongation. Make sure your fingers penetrate each section and then proceed to smooth between your palms.

Using a blow-dryer

Leave the blow-dryer to the ladies with Type 2 and Type 3 hair. Since our coils are more prone to frizz, we want to decrease as much movement as possible as the hair sets. I know the diffuser looks tempting, but I have always gotten the most moisturized, defined, and elongated wash and go’s by allowing my hair to air-dry all day. If you need place a microfiber towel or t-shirt on your shoulder on the way to work to catch the dripping product then so be it. The blow-dryer, even when used on cool air and low speed, always depletes moisture from my hair. 
Worried about volume? You shouldn’t be. Wait until your coils are 80%-100% dry and then shake your head. Doing this while the hair is predominately wet can create encourage frizz.  

Skipping the moisturizer or leave-in conditioner

Unless your products claim to be a dual moisturizer and styler, then you should not rely on your styler to be comparable to leave-in conditioners or moisturizers. Even when products claim to be formulated with moisturizing properties, I would still advise using a separate product to ensure that your hair gets as much nourishment as possible. Remember that dry curls tend to expand in an attempt to absorb moisture, which usually results in frizz, so give your hair what it needs from the start.

Styling at night

I have learned this lesson one too many times. Please reserve this styling session for the mornings. Styling in the morning is not as unrealistic as you think. At night I detangle my hair with a little water, conditioner, and my favorite comb (i.e. Ouidad Detangling Comb) and sleep with my hair in loose twists. I rise 30 min. early to shampoo and let the deep conditioner sit while I cook breakfast. After eating breakfast, I rinse the conditioner and apply my leave-in conditioner and styler. Matting and frizz is inevitable when styling a wash and go at night. Even when I completely diffused my hair with a blow-dryer, my hair would not make it through the night without matting.

Skipping your trims

If layering moisturizers, leave-in conditioners, butters, and oils still won’t tame your frizz ends, then that is an indication that it’s time for a trim. If your ends are so porous that they take forever to absorb water and products then it is time for them to go. Ends that are tapered, bountiful with too many single strands knots, and vary in lengths have got to go. Please do not hold on to damage for length. It doesn’t look as good as your think. We want crisp, popping coils!

Styling on dry or damp hair

The goal of a wash and go is to capture your curl definition. Curl definition is most pronounced when the hair is saturated with moisture (i.e. water). Trying to achieve a wash and go on dry or damp hair will not give the same results or style longevity. If volume is the concern remember your can shake, flip, and pick your hair once it is completely dry. For extreme volume you can always use a blow-dryer with a concentration nozzle. Do not forget that if you want this wash and go to last for a week, then your hair will naturally rise over time. Don’t forget that we have Type 4 hair. We are the queens of volume. Third and fourth day hair are my favorite.

Follow Natasha (pictured above) here:
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What are your Type 4 wash and go tips?

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