I have been natural since about mid-2011 so I have had a lot of years to experiment on the best techniques and products to use for my type of hair. One of the main things that helped me to understand what to do with my hair, is discovering what type of hair I have with regard to porosity, density, and curl pattern. I learned that I have low porosity, thick, 3c to 4a kinky curly hair with some sort of coarse 3b hair in the crown of my head.
Many people are curious about what products I put in my hair when they see my naturally kinky curly hair looking shiny and bouncy. I decided to put together a quick list (video to follow at some point) on what methods and products I use to accomplish my look. I use this method on myself and others. And this method has helped many of my friends and family so hopefully this will work for you too.
Disclaimer: I am not a hair expert. I am just a nice young woman that has had plenty of years experience learning what not to do with my low porosity natural hair. Please do your own research or consult with a professional before trying any of these methods that work for me.
Step 1: I drench my hair in warm water.
Being that I have low porosity hair, my cuticles are very compact and difficult to hydrate. In other words, my hair gets dry easily! It is very hard to keep this hair texture wet because water can bead up and roll right off the strand. Products also just sit on top of my strands. I use warm water as I read that it keeps the cuticle open, which allows more hydration to feed into my hair. As I am drenching my hair, I squeeze the water into the hair. Suddenly, my hair starts to transform to a softened and silkier version of my sometimes dry looking and feeling hair.
Step 2: I use a sulfate-free shampoo, such as SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Shampoo at least once a week to wash my hair.
When I first started my natural hair journey, many natural hair vloggers on YouTube were pushing co-wash products. Using shampoo more than once a month seemed to be very taboo in the natural hair community. At first, I bought into the idea of co-washes to cleanse my hair because I figured it wouldn’t strip my hair of moisture and keep it soft as they all said. However, being that I have low porosity hair, I get a lot of product build up if I don’t shampoo, which makes my hair feel brittle.
Once I started shampooing weekly, my hair started to feel like it did from the very beginning when I had virgin natural hair! As long as the shampoo is sulfate-free, I have been okay so far.
Step 3: I typically skip the conditioner and apply a deep conditioner, such as Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Hair Masque, after drenching my hair with warm water.
After drenching my hair in warm water, I start applying the conditioner to my hair starting around the edges of my hair. Then separate my hair into 4 sections, smoothing the deep conditioner onto my hair as I tightly twist each section into buns. I use clips to hold the buns in place. If the middle of my hair is not wet enough as I am doing this, I apply more warm water to the section of hair, squeezing it into my hair and I apply more of the deep conditioner. I can’t tell you how much to apply, but I just apply enough to cover all the strands until the next step. I find that twisting my hair into the buns helps keep the moisture in and keeps my hair from getting more tangled.
Step 4: I cover my hair with a plastic cap and wrap my hair up in a towel or I sit under a hooded dryer for a few minutes.
If I have time, I do this step. If not, I move right along to the next step. It really shouldn’t take longer than 10-30 minutes though.
Step 5: I finger detangle my hair one section and subsection at a time.
When my hair gets really tangled, I start by first holding the section of hair at the ends, taut, and use a smoothing method with my fingertips to remove any tangles. Then I separate the section into at least two or three smaller subsections (sometimes more if it’s really tangled like it was when I did this wash) and detangle from my ends to my roots. After the entire section is detangled, I tightly twist the section back into a bun. This helps keep the moisture in and prevents my hair from getting tangled again. Then I rinse the deep conditioner out of my hair with warm water, being careful not to get my hair tangled again.
Step 6: I apply a little leave-in conditioner, such as SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Leave-In Conditioner, and do a quick cold water rinse.
Before I go crazy applying a ton of leave-in conditioner, I put some conditioner all over my hair and then rinse my hair quickly with cold water. Rinsing my hair using cold water seals the hair shaft and creates more shine. However, I don’t wash out the leave-in conditioner completely. Then I finish appling the leave-in condition just as I did in step 3. The only difference is my hair is already detangled so this step is actually a breeze!
I complete this step in place of an apple cider vinegar rinse (a post for another day or you can YouTube it), which I hear is good for low porosity hair once a month or so. I’ve read that you don’t need to condition your hair after the rinse, but I always use deep conditioner.
Step 7: I quickly apply my leave-in conditioner, such as SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Leave-In Conditioner, just as I applied my deep condition in step 3 with the deep
I separate each section into about three or four subsections and apply more leave-in conditioner while quickly finger detangling my hair. Once the subsection of hair is completely smooth and tangle-free, I twist it from root to tip. After all the subsections are twisted, I tightly twist each section into a bun and use clip to hold the bun in place. This again keeps the hair from getting tangled and keeps the moisture in. I also find that it helps clump the curls together nicely when I am ready to add my styling product. I repeat this for each section.
NOTE: Sometimes I stop at this step and just put a plastic cap on with a cotton head scarf over it, and finish the rest in the morning. When I do that, my hair is extremely soft and moisturized!
Step 8: One section and subsection at a time, I untwist the hair and apply my styler, such as Wet Line Xtreme Pro Styling Gel Clear, using the smoothing and shingling method.
I start in the back and finish in the front. I make sure I style my hair so that when the hair dries, the curls fall in the direction I want them to go. I am not afraid to put a lot of product either. Although I don’t really need it, my wash-n-go lasts much longer when I use a lot of gel. And I notice that my hair doesn’t get as tangled when I use gel to hold the clumps of curls in place.
Step 9: I seal my hair with a little bit of oil, such as Doo Gro Growth Oil, which will soften the hold when my hair is dry, and help keep the moisture locked in.
Step 10: I either air dry or diffuse my hair.
Depending on the time of day and what I have going on determines how I let my hair dry. If it’s early, I let my hair air dry. If it’s late, I add heat protectant and diffuse my hair using the lowest heat setting on my diffuser. Lately, I’ve been parting my hair down the middle, twisting it, and putting on a satin scarf and in the morning it’s fine.
There you have it, 10 easy steps to a perfect wash-n-go!
But wait…there’s more!
How to Maintain A Wash-n-go: You need to know that you may or may not look crazy in the morning if you don’t maintain your wash-n-go.
I suggest you follow my tips if you don’t want to start over again in a couple of days. I make my wash-n-go last at least 7 day. In order to keep my wash-n-go as fresh as possible, I pineapple my hair at night and cover it with a silk or satin scarf. I have a few different ways of protecting my hair at night, but it depends on the final look I am going for. As of late, I have just been sectioning my hair into two or four sections, lightly twisting it and covering with a scarf.
In the morning or before I go anywhere I used to add warm water to a spray bottle and spritz my hair all over, but I think that makes my wash and go get frizzier. Now I just smooth a little water on sections of my hair that need it, which is usually just the ends. Depending on how much refreshing I need, I might have to section it off and spray a lot more water per section. I barely add more products though; I put enough in the day I wash it. But if I do I like to use something light, such as another leave-in conditioner, and I may add a little gel to the front just to give me a more sleek look.
3 rules to remember for your low porosity hair and wash-n-gos
- Use warm water to keep the hair cuticle open
- Use light moisturizers and leave-in conditioners instead of heavy hair butters and oils that do no absurd on to the cuticle
- Stick to protein-free, daily conditioners with humectants such as glycerin or honey
#NaturalHairTip: Have you ever gotten that white, flaky residue on your hair after your wash-n-go dries? Well, I have a tip to share to help save you from the embarrassment.
Take a little of each hair product you will use to style your hair and rub them together in your palm. If the combination of products turn too creamy or looks lumpy in your palm, you will probably have a problem! If the products are pretty clear and smooth, you are good to go! Sometimes when I refresh my wash-n-go I get this problem. I just add a little oil while it’s damp and that usually helps!
Try it out. Then leave a comment below to let me know your results or share what you do for the perfect wash-n-go!