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The Wash and Go Method | An Overly-Detailed Guide

One of the best ways to maintain natural hair with minimal effort is by using the wash and go method. When done right, this method keeps your texture healthy and defined.

However, you’re one wrong product or technique away from a bad hair day. Read on for a detailed guide on the wash and go method, including the products and techniques to use and the mistakes to avoid making.

What Is the Wash and Go Method?

If your curly hair looks dull and deflated lately, it might be time to switch up your hair-washing routine. If you’re considering trying out the wash and go method, you might wonder:

  • How does the wash and go method work?
  • Do I need additional products?
  • Is it the right wash and styling practice for my hair?

This article answers these questions and more. Continue reading to learn more about the wash and go method and see if it’s the right choice for you.

The Wash and Go Method: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

The wash and go method is as straightforward as it seems — you wash, style, and dry your hair without heat. This method works well for maintaining or rediscovering your curl pattern.

The method is low maintenance compared to other curly hair routines, but that doesn’t necessarily make it easier.

Since you don’t use heat, the wash and go method heavily relies on the types of products you use and the technique you implement. Below are detailed instructions for a basic wash and go routine.

1. Wash Your Hair

The first step of the wash and go method is as intuitive as it seems, you wash your hair. Use your fingertips to massage your shampoo of choice. Try using a sulfate-free shampoo for a clean that doesn’t strip your hair of its natural oils.

Use an exfoliating scalp massager instead of your hands to work the shampoo throughout your hair follicles for an even deeper clean. Lather at the roots for about a minute before rinsing. If you have extra buildup, repeat this step twice.

2. Use Conditioner

After shampooing and rinsing, it’s time to add conditioner to your hair. Conditioning is a crucial step because it works to thoroughly moisturize each strand of hair, making it easier to detangle later.

For conditioner, choose an ultra-hydrating option or even a deep conditioner. You need more than you think or more than the bottle suggests, especially if you have dry hair.

3. Detangle Your Hair

Before you rinse out your conditioner, begin detangling. The conditioner allows your brush to glide through your hair, minimizing breakage.

Use a detangling brush, your fingertips, or a brush designed for wet hair during this step. Start from the ends of your hair and work your way up until you are knot-free. After detangling, rinse out your conditioner.

4. Add Your Products

While you’re still in the shower or with sopping wet hair, begin adding your typical styling products. If you aren’t sure where to start, some product options include:

Finding products that work best together for your hair is a process of trial and error. Factors like curl pattern and hair porosity can make the journey much smoother.

We suggest using the “curly girl method,” which advocates for using products without sulfates and parabens. And be sure to use lots of water; it helps the products distribute evenly, leading to a defined texture.

Read Next: Take Our “What Type of Curly Hair Do I Have” Quiz!

5. Dry Your Hair

After adding product to your hair, you’re done. Leave your hair alone until it’s dried. If you’re running short on time, this last step has a few alternatives to air drying.

Use your hair dryer on its low setting alongside the diffuser attachment. You can also use a hooded dryer, if available. Once your hair dries, you can wear it out for a few days and refresh it as needed.

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Four Outstanding Wash and Go Variations

Woman using the wash and bo method with a towel wrapped around her head drying her hair


Detailed above is the standard wash and go method. However, some people’s hair types require alterations during different steps in the process. The wash and go method helps freshen and define texture, but modifying your routine can help elevate your curls even more.

Here are four of the most popular wash and go variations:

  • The finger raking method
  • The scrunch and go method
  • The prayer hands method
  • The finger curl method

The Finger Raking Method

For this first alteration, start by detangling your conditioned hair with your fingers. Then, similarly, apply your products. Rake in a moisturizer like a leave-in conditioner first. Add any styling products like mousse or gel.

Keep raking your fingers through your hair, noticing how clumps of curls begin forming. Repeated use of this method helps elongate your curls and re-establish your textural pattern.

The Scrunch and Go Method

The scrunch and go method is one of the most popular wash and go variations. It enhances your curl pattern by adding extra definition. Scrunch and go is an excellent method for looser curls and waves,

After detangling and rinsing your conditioner, apply products in your usual order by scrunching your hair from the bottom up. Squeeze the product into your hair, holding for at least three seconds.

The Prayer Hands Method

Another variation for elongating curls is the prayer hands method. This method is also fantastic for smooth, frizz-free hair because it helps seal your hair cuticle.

Instead of using a detangling brush raking through with your fingers, glide your hair between the palms of your hands, simulating a prayer-like motion. Repeat this process for your entire head.

The Finger Curl Method

The finger curling method takes more time but provides uniform, defined curls. After applying the product, find each curl or wave and wrap it around your finger, twirling them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Shampoo bars on a table for a piece on the wash and go method


Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about the wash and go method.

What are the best wash and go products?

You only need a few products for a successful wash and go. Consider investing in the following items:

  • A sulfate-free shampoo
  • Hydrating conditioner
  • Leave-in conditioner
  • Long-lasting gel

Depending on your hair texture, you might also find adding products into your routines, such as a lightweight mousse or hair oil, helps further define your curls.

How often should you wash and go?

You can wash and go as much or as little as you need. Some people use this routine once a week, while others use it twice daily. How often you wash and go depends on how oily your scalp gets and when you feel your hair has enough buildup for a rinse.

Do wash and go’s damage your hair?

Depending on your hair texture, the wash and go method could strain your curls. For instance, dry hair types might be more susceptible to breakage and frizz if they wait too long between washes, while looser waves typically last several days.

How long does a wash and go last?

Wash and go’s can last for a while, depending on your hair type and maintenance level. For most textures, your hair stays vibrant for up to five days before needing a refresh. Wearing protective hairstyles can help your wash and go last even longer.

Why is my hair frizzy after a wash and go?

If your hair dries frizzy after your wash and go, it could be because you are touching it too much during your routine’s styling and drying phases. To prevent frizz, apply your products to sopping wet hair, and remember to seal your hair cuticle with an oil.

So, What Is the Wash and Go Method?

The wash and go method is an excellent routine for maintaining a healthy and fresh style with minimum effort. Some people modify the wash and go method to further define their texture, such as using finger raking or scrunching.

Try out the wash and go method with these variations and see which gives you the best results. And while you’re here, be sure to check out our other complete hair care and styling guides; your hair will be glad you did!