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Curly Nikki

Tips from Professional Wash and Goers

By January 27th, 202144 Comments

Tips from Professional Wash and Goers
CurlyTee (not pictured) via the forums, writes:

For veteran naturals (1+ years), how often do you do wash and go? How do you control your single strand knots? Any benefits to share?

CN Says:

I was a faithful W&Go’er for a couple of years. Like, daily. My hair grew super fast but my ends were breaking and splitting just as fast. I never mastered ‘keeping the moisture in’ wearing my hair down and out every day. It was cute as hell though. Confounding factors were daily use of the diffuser to dry, highlights, and heavy reliance on gels.

Hanging out on the fourms is what led me to try the W&Go routine. Many naturals experience exceptional growth and retention with this routine. I literally ‘ewatched’ a girl (natural remedy, pictured above) go from chin length to bra strap length hair in what seemed like a year. It was amazing. She co-washed daily or every other day with a cheapie conditioner, left much of it in and allowed it to air dry throughout the day. Simplicity at its best. She’s one of my original hair crushes.

To see the forum responses, click here.

All you professional wash and goers, help her out!


  • Kamesha says:

    I have yet to master twistouts and braidouts after 31 months so I've always been a Wash and Go girl. I've done it with styling gels, I've done it with conditioner only (Aussie Moist) per the Tightly Curly method (I don't do the one involving separating and twirling every curl).

    I currently do them using Aloe Vera Gel…the kind you'll find in the lotion section at Wal-Mart. I use the Fruit of the Earth brand because it is the most natural. The colored versions only contain a small amount of aloe. Since it is not a styling gel, I apply over oil, and I'm not being heavy handed, there is no crunch.

  • Anonymous says:

    After about a year of experimenting with wash and go's, braidouts, and twist outs, I've come back the the wash and go as my staple. My hair (when straightened) was grazing my shoulders last summer and now it is at bra strap length. Here is what I need for a perfect and quick wash and go:

    1. co-wash and detangle in the shower AT NIGHT!! I do this a few hours before I get ready for bed, so the hair will just be damp by then. Detangle in four sections and twist loosely as each section is detangled.

    2. Squeeze out excess water. For each section. Smooth on Shea Moisture curl smoothie from root to tip. This takes less than ten minutes for me after I'm out of the shower and I'm done!

    3.Don't touch the hair until it's time to go to bed. Pineapple with a satin bonnet or just sleep on a satin pillowcase (fan hair out over the pillowcase so not to crush the curls. I've learned to sleep like this without crushing my curls at night)

    4. In the morning, get up, shake gently, and go. Smooth over any curls that have frizzed up with wet hands and a little shea moisture curl smoothie.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm back to being a Wash and Go girl now that I've cut my hair back into a TWA. I only WNG once a week though and when I do I co-wash my hair, rinse, put in leave-in conditioner, followed by grapeseed oil, and then a styler (like Blended Beauty styling lotion). The oil step had really helped me maintain moisture. ๐Ÿ™‚ ~KF519

  • AuNaturelDiva says:

    I WNG for my staple style. I cowash daily in the shower with Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle. I rinse that and add more Aussie Moist Conditioner (not the 3 Minute) when I get out. Then Shea Moisture Curl Smoothie on top of that. I lay my edges down and go. Sometimes, if I want my hair out of my face, I'll put on a headband, pull it back into a banana clip or ponytail it and release it midway through the day.

    I big chopped April 2010 and only had 4 inches of hair on my head after transitioning 11 months. Today, my hair is BSL. My goal is WL by 2013. My hair thrives off the daily water and conditioner. Helps me retain a lot of length. I trim 3x a year.

  • Anonymous says:

    Keep the tips coming!

  • Anonymous says:

    What happened to Natural Remedy?

    She looks so cute with long or short hair!

  • Barbara Naturally Speaking says:

    I used to do wash and go's frequently my 1st year au natural. I basically would co-wash with a cheapie conditioner, put more in and detangle with a large comb, then add some more conditioner in as a leave-in. Next I raked in some oil (olive, coconut, or jojoba), and then followed up with a gel (my #1 gel is kinky curly curling custard). I would then pull it up into a pineapple, which stretches it out for a few hours before wearing it out, or pull it into a puff, or once every 5 months diffuse while stretching at the roots. Daily I would mist it with a water, conditioner, oil mix and then carefully scrunch in some oil, mainly coconut oil, for a refreshing moisturized look. I never really had an issue with two strand knots. My hair grew tremendously with Wash and goes, because there was limited manipulation. When I first went natural I co-washed every day or every other day. It was truly fun and exciting. Now at year 2 and 3 quarters (smile), I wash and go more in the summer ( 1 time a week or either once every 3 or 4 days) and wear it out, or in a wash and go puff).

    Barbara of

  • CSI says:

    I'm a WnGQ too. I have 22 months post relaxer and I've pretty much perfected the WNG. In order to prevent ssk's, I apply the gel to the tips first and work my way up to the scalp. That has eliminated ssk's all together for me. I don't even know what they are anymore. My hair has grown from a TWA to about 1/2" from Bra Strap in 22 months. I make 22 months in 2 weeks. I add Long Aid Gel first, the ECO Styler and top off with Curls in a Bottle. Gives me the best hair ever. I air dry completely the first day and then pineapple overnight. next 3 days I have soft, supple, amazing hair. In mornings I take hair down, shake and add a little Herbal Essence Set me up Gel to top layer and underneath. Nothing beats your natural curl pattern. A twist out can't even come close. No oils for me. the long aid gives me amazing soft to the touch curls so I don't need the oils. I'd LOVE to see CurlyNikki's WNG one day.

  • Anonymous says:

    I been a wash n go girl for most of the 4 yrs I have been natural. I have tried a ton of products and my hair behaves differently with my wngos depending on what products I use. KCKT with a little KCCC and oil gives me the best defined, long lasting Wngo. I always use KCCome Clean Poo first, detangle with a moisturizing condish(really feeling Tigi MOisture maniac or Avalon Organics Grape Seed Oil condish), rinse and then shingle KCKT in 6 sections, lightly rinse–I do not towel dry and then very sparingly apply KCCC in sections and oil (Darcy's botanicals). I can get 3 days as long as I apply oil at night and put my satin cap on–I work out 4-6 times a week so I usually do a puff for workouts and co-wash/detangle every 3 days.

    If I want a bigger, fuller wngo, I use Darcy's Hydrating Milk or Curling cream with her oil–Aveda's Be Curly style prep and Enhancer gives me great results but only for 1 day–2nd day it feels too producty.

    For my 2nd-3rd wngo days I usually just add oil and fluff or if I have some frizzy areas, I will spray a little water and add oil and fluff

    I always airdry and very rarely diffuse my hair dry; if I do, I only let it dry on low until 80%dry.

    I only get SSKs in the very back/nape of my neck if I go more than 3 days with my hair out.

    My hair is BSL when stretched…I haven't flat ironed or blow dried my hair in almost 2 years…looking forward to the colder temps…going to try a roller set/wrap to see length
    I try to alternate during the week doing braids/braid outs and then wearing my wash n gos for the weekends

  • Em says:

    @ J. I never even heard of Mandarin Jelly before you mentioned it. The price doesn't sound bad at all. If the oil and leave-in doesn't work, I;; give it a try. Thanks for the tip. I'm googling it right now.

  • Curly Tonya says:

    I define WNG as washing and wearing my natural curl…with some styling products. Kinky hair need products…..I have thick 4a hair and I prefer an aloe Vera based gel. My twists take hours to do…shingling takes about 15-20 mins.

    I live in MD and have been natural for almost 13 months…..cold weather is an issue. Last year I got my hair braided…and did the WNG. This year I'm going to try the chunky twist out that was featured last week…or just suffer with a wet head. Eventually, I will transition to twist or braid outs, but with short hair (6-7 inches stretched) its not worth my time. I think I have another year of WNGs.

  • J says:

    I wash-and-go on the 5 days a week I workout and mist-and-go on other days. I haven't seen one single strand knot, but my hair is only 6 inches. I am sure I'll see more in my future. My hair is dense with a medium-coarse texture and is low porosity. I am guessing my curl pattern is probably 4a. I don't really like gels, but use light gels to minimize frizz not necessarily to define my curls. I find my curls are pretty well-defined to my liking with just conditioner.

    Em: Have you tried the Aubrey Organics Mandarin Magic Jelly? I find it seems to make my hair dry faster and help products sink into my hair better. I use it on top of a leave-in and my pomade sealant. I think you can get it for $8 for 8 fl oz.

  • Ems says:

    @ Chez Cerise
    Ok. Thanks. I have a twa and I think I am going to try your way of doing it. This Kinky Curly thing takes forever to dry so I'll do the oil and Leave-in alone and see what happens. Thanks again.

  • Unknown says:


    I live in CT. I WNG in the winter as well. My hair is dry before I leave the house because I don't use 10 products on my hair. Just leave in and oil. I don't use gel and all that other stuff.

  • Fal says:

    I also wash and go daily!!! I BC'd 3 months ago so my hair is still very short, once I get more length I won't have too everyday but it works for me now! I have mostly 3c hair with some 4a towards the very back and 3b at the top. My hair is very coarse and thick so I have to wash&go daily if I want my hair to look nice. I wake up get in the shower completely wet my hair put in a daily conditioner and gently detangle with my fingers only. I then clean my body, when im done I completely rinse the daily conditioner out and saturate my hair with water. While dripping wet I apply a genourous amount of Trader Joes Nourish conditioner mixed with some Elousense Moisture Balancing Conditioner. I rake both through my hair sectioning off in random sections with my fingers to make sure every part has some since my hair is super thick. I then apply a little shea moisture curl smoothie rakeing that in too but mostly getting it on the ends…lastly I apply Wen fig oil which is mostly jojoba oil. The conditioners I use to leave in switch out from the ones I listed too sometimes Giovanni Direct Leave In. If I use gel its typically Aloe Vera Gel from Trader Joes. Hope thus may help!!

  • Ems says:

    Do any of you live up here in Ny or nearby. What do you do when the temp drops to 34 degrees?. Can't do WAGs' then.

  • Erika says:

    I am an avid wash n'goer and though i am a fan of KCCC i have a lot of hair and don't like buying it every month. Instead i create an eco styler cream/custard and it works just as good for me.

  • NaturallyNay says:

    Another WnGQ (washngo queen) here! I have tightly coiled "cork-screw" like hair and in 12 years haven't mastered a twist/braid out. They always come out super shrunken to my scalp and I end up looking like a little girl who "re-did" her own her for picture day at school! LOL!

    I work out 6 days a week and sweat something crazy in my head so I co-wash several times per week. I only have 2 styles, WnG and my pony/puff. The pony/puff has been my staple for the last year and a half but I recently noticed some "thinning" around my hairline and determined it must be from pulling my hair back so much so for the last 3 weeks I've WnG'd daily!

    I've fallen in love with Kinky Curly Curling Custard and have mastered a non-shingling "shingled" look. After co-wash and rinse in 4 sections, I apply a "gob" of KCCC to each section making sure the hair is dripping wet and the product is smoothed through each strand by raking through in a downward motion with my fingers. After each section has enough product I part my hair (middle or side) finger comb a bit for shape and then take a spray bottle of plain water and saturate my hair, get in shower, put towel over my face, and shake shake shake the the cork screws loose!

    At night, I tie a big satin scarf around my head and sleep on a satin pillow case. To refresh curls and mist the curls with a little water (and a tiny bit of oil, usually almond) in a spray bottle. If I've gotten to poofy due to sweat I put my head under the shower in the morning to let the water saturate and shake shake shake again!

    I'm a KCCC convert in the last 3 weeks bc I used to do this with conditioner only but the KCCC gives me more length and shine and less tangles!

    I avoid knots by not pushing my curls too far…I have to co-wash (or wash with KC Come Clean if scalp is crazy sweaty) at least every 2 to 3 days or my nape hair will just matt up!

    Love my results and if I didn't work out so hard everyday I know this would last me for a whole week!

  • Anonymous says:

    Anon 5.22p – i always thought that a wash and go was when you did "style" your hair in like twists or braids. when the hair you have wet is the hair you have dry, in a matter of speaking. using a styler or sectioning shouldn't take away from that. i use gel and smooth it through in sections, but it still takes me less than 15 minutes to do.

    TiAnna Mae – i have mostly 4a hair, but it's thick, dense, and low porosity. i put my technique and stylers up earlier, but for the most part my hair is a curly fro. i have a TON of hair, so it's never really going to look super defined, but i don't mind that at all. also, sometimes, after i cowash and put in the gel, i put my hair in a bun and let it dry then take it down and that helps to cut the volume.

  • Tomika says:

    Hey all,
    So does this work with only BC'ed or could I try it on my transitioning hair. I always wondered how naturals achieved this look

  • Anonymous says:

    How are you all defining "wash-n-go?" To me, a true wash and go is simply washing and going… doesn't take a long time or alot of manipulation to get your curls to define.

    I tried Kinky-Curly and yes my hair did curl up nicely but it was after I had to section my hair into VERY small parts, apply the leave-in and rake in the gel…the process too long a very long time to apply and air dry. There was also alot of dizzy bobble head shaking as well. To me, that was not a true wash and go.

    After that experience, I am fine with being a "twist and go" kind of girl. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous says:

    @ TiAnna Mae – I have 4B-C hair. I just recently stopped doing WNGs because the temperature is starting to fall. I love WNGs. I love to wash my hair everyday and massage my scalp. I use Smooth n Shine Curl Activator Gel to define my curl. It worked wonderfully. I did it for about 6 months, but recently noticed my hair is extremely dry when I do not use the Curl Activator Gel. So now I am working on detoxing from the Curl Activator Gel and getting my hair back to the way it was before the WNGs. Has anyone every experienced dry hair after a long use of Gels. Also, I am perplexed as to why sometimes your hair no longer responds to certain products.

  • Carlton says:

    I am the complete opposite with most of the comments on here. I WNG'd daily when I BC'd but after a few months I noticed SSN's and I hated them so much I was about to BC again! I talked to my other "curlfriends" and CN (love her!) at a meetup and they suggested I stop WNG's. I have fewer SSN's and keep my hair in protective styles the majority of the time. I haven't done a WNG in a WHILE :(But i am glad you all have great results!
    –Tawanda C. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Lexi says:

    I truly am a WNG woman. I've done twistouts, braidouts and the like but have found that I manipulate my hair far less by doing a wash n go.

    I recently did a full Henna treatment and noticed that it cut down on a lot of the frizz that I was experiencing in the crown. That part was always a little "attitudinal" because from there on to the front is a different looser texture than the back.

    I've also just done my first WNG this week by finger detangling only. I first used a mixture noted by Glamazini of 75% conditioner 15% honey, and 15% Olive oil mixed to "smoosh" into my dry sectioned hair and finger detangled with that mix. I don't know what it is, but that mix has a great amount of slip. Once I detangled all the sections, I let is sit on there for an hour and using the heated cap suggested by Nikki to do somewhat of a deep treatment.

    Now everyone's hair is different, mine is very fine, but I dense, I've got a whole lot of hair that's about 9 1/2 inches long stretched. One thing I've noticed is that I can hold my head under my shower stream for 20 minutes and it still not absorb the water. Usually my hair doesn't soak in the water until I add conditioner. So the reason this works so well for me is because the conditioner mix soaks in quicker.

    After the heat cap I just do the normal co wash, then leave about 35% of conditioner in my hair. I don't use any gel, my curls just stay and I'm able to go like that for at least one week. I try not to go past that.

  • Anonymous says:

    thank you so much for this one!

  • TiAnna Mae says:

    I was on twist outs for a while, but I got turned off because I started working out again and sweated and dried out a perfectly good twist out. I'm back to wNgs due to my workout schedule. How many of you professional wNgoers have been natural for at least a year and have type 4 hair? What products/techniques do you use???? I find that my wNgs now are just a curly half defined afro. Most of the time it's cute, but some days I'm not feeling that look.

  • LM says:

    I think i may start trying this. I'm about a month post big chop after transitioning for 7 months. I stopped doing wash n goes and switched to two strand twisting at night because my free afro would become so dry and tangled through the night no matter how much i moisturized and oiled before I went to bed. two strand twists allow my hair to hold on to moisture, but having to re-twist every night seems like too much manipulation for my hair. Is spritzing in the morning suppose to act as a remedy for the dryness?

  • Anonymous says:

    I am SOOO HAPPY to have this discussion. I 'officially' went natural in May and all I do is wash n goes everyday. I recently have learned to get "second day hair" but the curls are slightly less defined. I cowash with a number of conditioners (deva curl) everyday, which is exoensive, then apply Kimmytube concotion and then kinky curling custard– all of this in the shower. I detangle once a few, use heutiful hair steamer on fridays, and deep condition at least once a week. My hair looks great, but I dont see any major growth yet. (Hair is chin length from long time tranisiton) I cant wait until next May :)!!!

  • Fuzzy says:

    I do WNGs every other day,rinse my hair and scalp,then depending on my mood i use

    cheapie conditioner,light finger detangle, no rinsing ,shower e.t.c.


    with a gel, follow above steps above,rinse conditioner out, add coconut oil, then gel (lasts 3 days). I almost always air dry.

    Knots are a feature of kinky curly hair , to reduce it i apply castor oil/conditioner to the ends to maintain the clumps and keep them hydrated

    my hair grew from collar bone in april to between APL and BSL stretched as of now

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anon 1:58 PM – s

    Shrinkage is a way of life for most naturals and, in my opinion, we stress too much trying to fight it. If your hair shrinks when it's wet, then it will shrink with a WNG, no way around it. I just focus on healthy hair and my WNG usually results in beautiful, defined curls. I don't really care about shrinkage if my curls are poppin'.

    That said, I do find that if I pineapple my WNG at night, it stretches a bit. You can also use clips to stretch out the curls during drying. Also, gently stretching as you diffuse with a blow dryer can stretch the hair a little.

  • Unknown says:

    I WNG about every other day and my hair thrives on it. I only use a leave in and oil (I blend argan, jojoba, and avocado oil.) Occasionally I'll but a butter on my edges and/or ends.

    It's fine for me in the winter as well because I put so few products in my hair it is dry before I leave the house.

  • Venita says:

    I use a mixture of several oils like grapeseed, evoo, jojoba, almond oil, vitamin e, avocado and I put them all in an applicator bottle. I got that recipe from Napturel85! Anyway, I rewet my hair in the morning put on some of the oil mixture, rub it in to seal my hair and then I apply some of the KCKT. Other days, I will use the KCKT and some Eco Styler gel. I use the oil mixture daily though and it keeps my hair very soft and moisterized. I see occasional SSK's and I snip them. I only know how to do a wng, and I like how easy it is and it looks a little different every day.

  • Anonymous says:

    How do you combat shrinkage with a WNG? I would like to incorporate more WNG styles, but I experience major shrinkage after washing my hair.

  • Yirssi says:

    On the first paragraph I meant, the conditioner holds my curls, not defines them.

  • Yirssi says:

    Anonymous, the reason why I put on conditioner if I took too much out is because the conditioner itself defines my curls a lot. Gel makes my hair look HORRIBLE when I WNG, so I only use it to keep the flyaways down when I put it into a pony or bun.

    I also love Carol's Daughter Hair Milk. It defines my curls something crazy, and I don't have to do anything to them. When I put on conditioner I have to finger style the bottom of my head, because it doesn't define my curls, just holds the already existing ones, and I have no curls in the bottom of my head, just frizzy kinkiness.

    And I see the WNG as a protective style myself too, because I hardly mess with it, so there's less breakage.

    CurlyNikki, I use oils daily. Mostly olive oil at night before I go to bed, but also Coconut every now and then.

  • Jessica C says:

    I NEED these responses, thank you!!

    I'm a WNG girl too, it's about the only style I have found that works with my TWA (BC'ed 2 months ago), and I love the way it looks. I cowash every night with Giovanni 50-50 conditioner, followed with Giovanni Direct Leave in and EVCO to seal. I cover it with a satin scarf before I sleep. In the morning, I spritz with plain water, then use KCKT and KCCC (both of which I LOVE) and again seal with the coconut oil. My hair has grown SO MUCH from this WNG routine (I actually cut it again and its right back where it was 2 weeks ago lol), but I'm experiencing some split ends too. I have NO idea how to keep that from happening. Any ideas?

    I'm also an undercover PJ, so I'm always down to try new products, lol…


  • Anonymous says:

    Hey Nik

    i'm a wash a go girl as well. once a week, i dry detangle misting with water and using an oil mix then the next day i cleanse with BClay and do a green tea rinse. then i use a leave-in, seal with an oil (mostly castor oil), then smooth on a gel, usually KCCC. in the middle of the week, i dry DC then cowash. every night, i mist with water and seal with either coconut oil or Hair Dew and put in a low pony and cover with a satin cap. to refresh in the morning, i just take out the pony and let it steam in the shower, or i mist put in some SheaMoisture Curl Milk.

  • CurlyTonya says:

    I don't usually use anything with my Kinky Curly….KC does not mix well with other products. The custard and leave-in has moisturizers…and my hair is usually good for the week. If I'm feeling and looking dry near the end of the week, I will add some oil or a moisturizer.

  • Anonymous says:

    My hair is mostly S-curls, very dense, and collarbone length when stretched. Although I added twist outs to my style regimen last spring, I'm really a WNG girl at heart. I love the ease and showing off my beautiful, wild curls.

    My WNG routine is old school…quick and easy. No shingling, no diffusing.

    Day 1 – I saturate my hair in the shower and detangle using a daily conditioner. I sweep my head under the shower to remove some of the conditioner and then scrunch my curls section by section, inverting my head to scrunch the crown. After I get out of the shower, I apply a small amount of styling creme, again scrunching the ends. I shake my head a few times and finish with a light hold mist. 15 minutes max, including washing my face and body in the shower. At night, I pile it up into a very loose pineapple and sleep in a satin bonnet.

    Days 2 &3 – I re-wet my hair by spritzing with a spray bottle of plain water. Then I apply a leave-in and/or styling creme, focusing on the ends, and gently scrunching. A few shakes and finish with a light hold mist. Same nighttime routine as Day 1.

    After 2-3 days, I might detangle and twist for a twist-out or just co-wash and start the WNG cycle again.

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    do any of you wash and goers use oils regularly?

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    OMG! I miss stalking her too. I wish I knew where she was… I sound like a STAN ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Anonymous says:

    Where is Natural Remedy? Did she close down all of her accounts…I miss stalking her ๐Ÿ™‚
    Yirssi, you don't use a gel or something for hold?

  • CurlyTonya says:

    I consider myself the WNG queen too. Currently, I WNG once a week. I have been natural for a year and have about 6-7 inches of hair. I'm a Kinky Curly (I use the Knot Today and Custard) girl, although I'm a PJ and have tried several gels & styling products. In the last few months, I've noticed the dreaded SSKs…to reduce the knots, I try to stop playing in my hair.

    The first 4 months after my BC, I did my WNG daily. The WNG process was really easy and I like the fresh look everyday. Now, I detangle and shingle….the process can add 45 minutes to my morning routine.

    I consider the WNG as a protective style….I don't manipulate my hair much during the week. Sometimes, I change my curly afro to a puff…but I only detangle during the wash process.

    I did do a twists last week while on vacation…it took me 5 hours….and I wasn't crazy with the results. So far, I like my 4a curl pattern (with shrinkage) better than twistouts.

  • Yirssi says:

    That's what i do as well. i consider myself the queen of wash and go, because that's what i do most, and it tends to look amazing. My technique is the same one as the one you pictured. I cowash every few days, and then if i've taken out too much conditioner i put some more on. My hair is very long after two years of being natural (bra-clasp, and i bc'd). I do trim every 3-6 months, and wear it in a cap every night to protect it. That's about it.

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