Tag Archives: alicia james

Wash and Go’s on 4b Hair

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Can wash and go’s really work on 4b hair? Here are some methods that may be more suitable for this hair type.

The first time I tried a wash and go I vowed to never do it again. The method I first used was to; wash my hair, coat it with Eco Styler gel and then literally go.  This resulted in severe shrinkage; my hair looked like a TWA. I didn’t mind the look but the next day my hair was severely tangled. I had to painstakingly separate every strand as carefully as possible or risk breakage.

So what has changed? I have tried a number of methods in the last few months. Now I believe the wash and go is a styling option for me. Stretched out styles are better for my hair because they result in less knots. However, wash and go’s are great for women who work out a lot and enjoy frequent co washing. Here are some of the methods I found useful.

The Winter Wash and Go

This method was demonstrated by Naptural85. The style is prepared overnight and there is no need to rake gel or curling puddings through your hair. Wetting and washing your hair helps to bring out your natural curl pattern and putting your hair in large twists allows it to remain stretched.  Some wouldn’t call this a wash and go but it is the most convenient method of bringing out your curl pattern.  It simply involves washing and putting your hair in twists, while in the shower. So it encompasses the convenience of a wash and go, that may be lost with the traditional method. It’s ideal for winter because you don’t have to walk around with wet hair all day.

Conditioner only wash and go

Instead of using  gel, perhaps try the ‘shingling’ method with your favorite conditioner. All of this can be done in the shower. Use your fingers to rake the conditioner through the hair. Some choose to leave a little conditioner in their hair, not rinsing it out  completely. Now with other hair types, air drying may work best. However, with my 4b hair I found that this resulted in too much shrinkage, as my hair is very tightly coiled.  Using a diffuser to dry my hair, gently stretching it with my fingers in the process, worked much better for me. To seal in the moisture you could also add some oil to the hair and rinse it slightly so that your hair doesn’t turn out to be too greasy. This is called an oil rinse. Simply using conditioner as opposed to raking gel through my hair resulted in far less shrinkage.  The curls were not as defined and quite frizzy but I liked the level of volume my hair had.

Conditioner only wash and go

Conditioner only wash and go

Check out Alicia James’ wash and go tutorial, where she uses a diffuser to stretch her hair.

The traditional method

The traditional method is washing your hair and using gel or a styling product to enhance your curls. This usually ends with allowing your hair to air dry throughout the day.  I believe this method is less effective for 4b hair because the amount of shrinkage experienced can be excessive.  There is also a level of uncertainty about how the style will turn out because your hair will shrink gradually.  Many women become disillusioned with their 4b curl pattern because it isn’t usually as defined as 4a or type 3 hair.  While others can enjoy the convenience of this method and see their curls pop easily, 4b  girls may not have the same experience.  The other methods highlighted in this post may be more suitable.

Shrinkage

Shrinkage with traditional method

It is simply a matter of trial and error. Most importantly, remember that a styling product cannot naturally create curls that do not already exist.   I believe gel is more effective than a curl enhancing pudding/smoothie when trying this method on 4b hair. 4b strands need hold, in order to clump together. Otherwise the hair becomes more puffy and frizzy. However, I would avoid gels with maximum hold as they will cause too much shrinkage. Try gels that offer light to medium hold.

Eco Styler gel with a hold of 5

Eco Styler gel with a hold of 5

My natural curl pattern

My natural curl pattern

The fake wash and go

This is simply making a twist out look like a wash and go.  Put your hair into small to medium-sized twists when wet, for more definition. When untwisting, instead of separating the hair three to four times, separate the twists once.  This takes longer than a twists out, as the twists are smaller. However, you can wear your hair in a protective style for a few days and take your hair down for the weekend.  This way you get two or more styles out of one.  I find that this style lasts longer than a normal twist out because the twists are more defined.  It looks like a wash and go even though my hair would never look like that after a real wash and go. There is no shrinkage to contend with and you will avoid the dreaded tangles that 4b hair usually experiences after a traditional wash and go.

Check out the tutorial for this method by Alicia James.


Fake wash and go, a few days old.

Fake wash and go, a few days old.

Don’t be discouraged

If  the end result is the same it doesn’t matter which method was used, or that you were unable to achieve a wash and go by the traditional method. Do what works best for your hair type.  4b hair isn’t inferior to other  hair types simply because it is kinky rather than curly.  Your hair will have its own unique strengths, which you will discover as you practice caring for it.

Have you tried a wash and go? Share your experiences below.

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Saving time when managing your natural hair

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Some women declare that they do not have time to manage their hair in its natural state, and therefore cannot go, or stay, natural. If relaxer had never been invented, I doubt they would make such a claim. Rather, they would have simply learned how to manage their natural hair like everyone else.  Adapting your hair care regimen to suit your schedule and time constraints is important, whatever a person’s hair texture.

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The use of chemicals should be an informed choice, not a necessity. There is nothing inherently wrong or unmanageable about our hair in its natural state. We simply have to realise the importance of educating ourselves about natural hair. And most importantly, our children’s natural hair. If we do this, we will develop the ability to adjust our hair care accordingly. Initially, it is going to take patience and practice, but trust me, it’s worth it!

Here are some suggestions on how to save time when managing your natural hair:

1. Deep Condition your hair before shampooing

Deep conditioning or hot oil treatments don’t have to be done after shampooing.  It can become tedious, shampooing, getting out of the shower, deep conditioning, sitting under the dryer, and getting back in the shower, all over again. If you deep condition or do a hot oil treatment before shampooing, you only have to use the shower once. This will save water and time.

If your shampoo is natural and free of sulphates,  which strip the hair of moisture, the benefits of the deep conditioning will not be ‘washed away’. If you are using a shampoo that contains Sodium Lauryl sulphate and others chemicals, deep conditioning will at least prepare your hair for this. It is likely to result in less moisture depletion.

Some people would call this a ‘pre-poo’ (pre-shampoo). I believe the result is the same, regardless.

2. Detangle in the shower before co-washing
This may not be an option for everyone, as wet hair is weaker. So detangling in the shower, may make the hair more vulnerable to breakage. However, if you use conditioner to detangle, this can be done in the shower and you can go straight into co washing. Put your hair into 6 to 8 sections. Detangle and co-wash one section at a time, and re-twist straight away. The downward motion of the shower water, helps to ensure that your strands are flowing in the same direction and helps with detangling.

Check our Naptural85’s demonstration of this method and a convenient style to do, during the process:

3. Alternatives methods to finger detangling

Studies show that those that finger detangle, have a thicker hair density. However, finger detangling does not work for everyone. There are others who prefer to use a wide tooth comb to detangle, after saturating their hair with conditioner or a mixture of ingredients. Check out KKKM’s method, using her homemade ‘detangling cocktail’. This softens the hair and cut her detangling time down to ten minutes!

4. Keep hair stretched out during the week
If you keep your hair in a stretched out state in-between washing, your hair will be easier and quicker to detangle. Twist-outs and braid-outs are great styles, to keep your hair stretched. Roller sets, flexi-rods and curl formers also keep the hair stretched. If you finger comb your hair after it has been in one of these styles, it will appear in a blown out state. Buns are also great for keeping the hair taut. High buns, low buns, top knots and side buns, all help to keep the hair stretched. When you take your hair down from a bun you will notice this.

Stretched hair with a twist-out

Stretched hair with a twist-out

So there should be less knots, and the hair will be more manageable. This will cut down your detangling session. Detangling your hair after a wash and go, or after it has shrunk during the week, takes a very long time, in my experience. Hence, the reason why I have only attempted a wash and go once, with my 4b hair.

5. Divide the hair into large sections
In my experience, the longer your hair becomes, the less sections you need to divide it into. Dividing your hair between 4 to 6 sections, should make it quicker to wash. We’ve all been there,  working our way through the sections, anticipating getting to the last one. When there are less sections to work through, this moment comes around sooner.

6. Try to remove shed hair whenever possible
Whilst styling my hair, I always take the opportunity to gently remove shed hair. This ensures that less shed hair tangles with the existing hair. There will also be less shed hair to remove on wash day. So while finger combing my hair before styling, I take less than a minute to remove any shed hair.  This reduces the build up of shed hair overall.

When you are short on time, here are some quick hairstyles to try.

Buns



Roll, tuck and pin

Puffs

Short Natural Hair (TWAs)
model twa

For short hair and TWAs try spraying the hair with a water and glycerin mix, to moisturize and enhance your curls. Add a cute accessory, such as a flower or head band. You can create a side parting and pin one side down with a clip.

What do you do to save time with your hair care regimen? Please share your suggestions below.