If you’re someone who happens to prefer wash ‘n goes over the more traditional protective styles like braids and twists, I absolutely support that. Aside from the fact that there are super-convenient, just like an article that we published on the site a few years ago states, wash ‘n go hairstyles also offer low manipulation, can improve the strength of your hair and, the gel that you use to set your wash ‘n go can oftentimes serve as a protective cast for your hair. Yep. Wash ‘n go looks are awesome.

The challenge comes in when you want to wear this look but it’s thirty degrees outside. If your grandma saying to you that wet hair will cause you to catch a cold ends up repeating itself in your mind enough, you might talk yourself out of it. First of all, that is a myth; colds are caused by viruses not moisture or cold air. And secondly, while it’s not the best idea to go outside with dripping wet hair (if for no other reasons, it could “freeze” your hair or mess up your clothes), you can actually rock a wash ‘n go all year round. The key to pulling it off during the winter season is to apply the following tips.

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Image Source: @tierechristyan

1. Wash and clarify your tresses the day before.

One of the best things about rocking a wash ‘n go hairstyle is it has the ability to bring out the best in your natural hair texture without you having to do a ton of work to make it happen. But in order for your curls to look their absolute best, it’s important that you shampoo your hair with a non-sulfate brand (sulfates dry out your hair and that can lead to frizz and breakage) and to also clarify your locks so that all build-up is removed. In order to achieve an optimal wash ‘n go look, I’d recommend clarifying your tresses with some bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar. I’ve done this a few times and, not only does it make my hair really soft, it also defines my curls in a way that few products have been able to (so far). If you’ve never tried this mixture before, you can watch an easy video tutorial here.

2. Deep condition your hair the day before too.

If you’re someone who likes to use a considerable amount of gel in order to make your wash ‘n go curls pop, it’s important that you follow up washing and clarifying your hair with a deep conditioner. Not only will it keep your hair feeling really soft and healthy once your wash ‘n go dries, it will also protect your hair if you happen to use a gel that has an alcohol in it (more on that in a bit). If you’d prefer to DIY your deep conditioner, this video will show you how to make a recipe out of yogurt, honey, apple cider vinegar and olive oil. If you’d prefer to go with a few favorite products, our article “Top 18 Deep Conditioners of 2018 for Naturally Curly Hair” features some pretty good recommendations. Whatever you do, just make sure that you leave the conditioner on for no less than 15 minutes; that way, you’ll be able to get all of the benefits that deep conditioning provides.

3. Apply a leave-in conditioner.

There are all kinds of reasons why leave-in conditioners are a great addition to naturally curly hair. They can provide extra moisture. They can create the kind of hair that is a lot more manageable. They can help to prevent knots and tangles. They can make hair feel soft, in spite of what products may be on your hair. They even have the ability to add sheen to color-treated hair. That’s why, I also recommend that you put a leave-in conditioner on your hair, even after deep conditioning it. If you worry that it will be overkill, don’t. So long as you’ve done a protein treatment within the past 6-8 weeks, your hair should be just fine.

4. Use a curl defining product.

Now that you’ve finished prepping your hair for a wash ‘n go, the next thing that you need to do is apply a product that will add extra curl and definition to it—something like a curling cream or curling custard. Many people like Eco Styler gel; for me, it results in a bit too much flaking for my personal liking. Still, whatever you go with, again, make sure it has as little alcohol—and residue—as possible. Once you run the gel through your hair—and maybe add a bit more water for definition and some sweet almond oil or avocado oil for sheen—you should be good to go. Well, after following the last tip which I’ll get to after sharing just one more suggestion.

5. Spray—don’t drench—your hair with water the following day.

If you still want to stick with what grandma told you, then all of the tips that I’ve shared so far should happen the day before you plan on heading out. If that’s the case, it’s important that you tie your hair up with a satin cap or scarf so that your hair has a greater chance of maintaining its definition. Then, the next morning, put some water and maybe a little grapeseed or jojoba oil (along with an essential oil in order to make your hair smell good) into a spritz bottle and spritz your hair. It will “wake up” your curls without causing your hair to become soak and wet.

6. Wait about an hour before heading out.

I’ve gone out with my hair damp, even in the wintertime, enough to know that it’s not gonna kill you; not even close. But, when it is extra chilly outside, it can never hurt to wait about an hour before going outdoors. That will give the pores on your scalp a little bit of time to close. Plus, it will keep the coolness of the air from making your curls feel crunchy (if you need to speed up the drying process, you can always get under a hooded dryer and diffuse for 20 minutes or so).

If you follow these steps to a “t”, you should end up with the kind of wash ‘n go that you will love and onlookers will envy—all winter long!

What are your tips for wash `n gos in colder weather? Share them with us in the comments!