If you follow me on Instagram or keep up with me on ManeObjective.com, then you know I live in the wash and go. I switch up my products to keep it interesting, but I've got the technique down to a science.
The wash and go gets a bad rep, because the hair is left to curl, coil, kink, and clump freely while being exposed to the elements, and depending upon the length of your hair, being exposed to rubbing against your clothing as well.
By contrast, protective styling involves tucking the hair away into twists, braids and updos that keep the hair from tangling, snagging, and breaking. In protective styling, the ends of the hair are often tucked away, to encourage length retention.
So how is it possible that such an "out" style can be considered protective? Consider the following:
1. Low Manipulation
The wash and go is considered a low manipulation style for two reasons. One, unlike twist-outs, braid-outs, and other styles, the wash and go doesn't require any tugging pulling, or stretching (unless you're into that sort of thing). You simply wash, deep condition, add product, and keep it moving. Of course, you can plop, diffuse, and add other steps, but at it's core the wash and go is a relatively simple style to pull off that doesn't require you to excessively manipulate your hair. The second reason is that when done correctly, wash and go's can last anywhere from 3 to 10 days. Maintenance (at most) involves spritzing and applying water-based products and oil to seal the ends of the hair, and protecting it at night. No combing, no re-twisting or braiding at night means that for several days at a time, the hair is left unmanipulated--rendering it protected.
2. Protective Gel Casts
When we think of sealing our hair, typically an oil or butter comes to mind. It rarely occurs to us that gel is a sealant, too. In fact, the gel cast that forms after you apply your product envelopes and clumps your curls locks in moisture and keeps your hair protected. Additionally, the gel cast helps reduce tangling by holding curls together. I know we typically look down upon crunchy curls, but if you're looking for maximum protection, firmer hold gels will yield the best results. Besides, the gel cast wears off -- and you can even scrunch it out with a little oil or butter. Work gel through the hair in sections to ensure full coverage and protection.
3. Clumping Improves Hair Strength
When it comes to withstanding the elements and resisting breakage, clumped curls via wash and go's are especially beneficial. Clumped curls are stronger than separated strands, and are less prone to breakage and damage. Curls that clump together last longer, so make sure you use the "praying hands" to smooth product through and encourage clumping.
Are you convinced yet? Don't hide your hair away for fall just yet. Give a wash and go a try, with some of my favorite curl definers:
- Aunt Jackie's Don't Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Gel [review here]
- Camille Rose Naturals new Curl Maker [review here]
- Obia Natural Hair Curl Enhancing Custard [review here]
- Wonder Curl Curl Control Styling Lotion [review here]
- Kurlee Belle Jelle Coconut Styling Gel
- CURLS Goddess Curls [review here]
- TreLuxe Hi! Definition [review here]
Watch my video for the 7 Secrets to a Fabulous Wash & Go[do action="youtube-video" videoid="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iw-HQ5DIt3E"/]
And if you need one final piece of information to convince you, check out my growth and length retention progress from my chop in December of 2013 to September 2014: