Every now and again I have an extraordinary wash n' go and I celebrate it. I style it, I do my make-up, throw on some falsies (so you know it's real), take some pics and post to Instagram. Yep, when I have a winning wash n' go I tend to show it off because it took me SO LONG to get here!
Fear of the Wash n' Go
The natural hair journey is not for the faint of heart - you're literally learning to do you hair all over again! You gotta do research, watch YouTube tutorials, read product reviews, and experiment at your own risk, most of the time only to realize that what worked for THAT girl's hair absolutely did not work for yours! Back to the drawing board. I've been sharing my natural hair journey, tips, and videos for over 3 years now and have had a blast helping women who are just starting to figure out their first steps. In that time, however, I've also had my share of #fails.
When my hair texture was changing I never knew exactly how a style would turn out. Was I using the right products? Was it wet enough or dry enough when I started the style? How long would it even last? One thing I knew for sure was that wearing a wash n' go was off the table. Nope, nu-uh, wouldn't do it. Since then I've heard tons of other women say the same thing: "I love wearing protective styles (or insert whatever other favorite style) but I CANNOT do a wash n' go, not with my hair!".
I quickly developed a love for 2-strand twist outs. They were reliable and almost always turned out right. They stretched my hair out perfectly, my curl pattern responded beautifully, and if my products were right, I would see barely any frizz and could get a good 3-4 days out of it. I've done braid-outs, three strand twists, and flat twist-outs - none of them were ever as consistent. So that was my go to style, and I would have rather spend an extra hour twisting, setting, taking my twists down and then separating them than relying on a wash n' go. My natural curl pattern was prone to tangles, it was unpredictable, untamable, and OH the shrinkage! I was good on those.
Then one day I saw a guy I knew from college on Facebook questioning the whole "natural hair thing". He asked if women were truly natural with all of the creams, puddings, and gels, flexi-rods and twist-outs we use to make our natural hair look "different." I responded in defense of myself and my fellow naturalistas, saying that natural hair was really about ridding ourselves of excessive heat and chemical damage. I even admitted to being a bit of a hypocrite because I do and probably will continue to color my hair (although I have a great colorist - shout out to Aymen at Yehia's!)
I recently reflected on that conversation and while I don't fully agree, he may have had a point. Even though I had stopped getting relaxers 10 years ago, and only put heat on my hair 2-3 time a year, I still wasn't comfortable wearing my curls without being stretched ever so slightly. Something about the wash n' go just looked a little too wild. A little TOO natural. But back in 2014 when I was I still learning my new texture, I rarely had a perfect style where every hair was in place, and frizz was indubitable. I still went out. I still slayed.
When did I become too good for shrinkage? Why was I afraid of frizz?
This past summer I decided to master the wash n' go. It had been 2 years going natural and strong and I was growing more and more comfortable and confident in wearing my natural hair. The truth is, it really did take that long to get to the point where I was okay with MY hair. My hair wasn't as full and bouncy as one of my faves, @moknowshair; or as long and thick as my Soror @mohagonycurls; or as shiny and luxurious as @staceyhashh. Nope, it was MINE, and I had to love it.
I experimented with different shampoos and conditioners, different curl creams, gels and hybrids, and even a few different diffusers. The only thing that has stayed consistent was my leave-in conditioner, the Giovanni Direct Leave In because I've never found one better. But I have found several different combos that have given me good results. My most recent success (the featured image on this post) came from this combo to the right. Thanks to Curlbox for sending this new and improved shampoo and conditioner formula from an old favorite, Motions Hair, in the February curlbox. I really liked both, and used them in conjunction with the Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner from Mielle Organics, The Giovanna Direct Leave In, and finished it off with the Paul Mitchell Liquid Curl Definer (also came in a Curlbox).
So, while wearing your curls in their 100% natural texture can be scary and slightly intimidating, we shouldn't rule it out before we've given it a chance. It may take some time to get there, and it doesn't have to be your go to, but I think it is one small step on the journey to loving ourselves. Shrinkage, frizz, kinks, coils - you name it! These are the characteristics of only OUR hair and we should own it, love it, show it off. And when all your new "fans" at work and at school are mesmerized by it, tell 'em that they can look but don't touch :)