This post has been a few months in the coming as I slowly transition to lower waste products, but I’m so happy to finally have a low (ish) waste wash n’ go routine using just three products!
Up until a couple days ago, this was going to be a two-product wash n’ go routine. In fact, I’ve only ever done wash n’ gos with two products – a cream moisturizer and gel. I’ve certainly heard of the LOC and LCO methods, but the oil always seemed superfluous to me. I didn’t understand what it’s purpose was. And my wash n go’ results always seemed good enough to me, so I didn’t bother doing any research.
But then, when I set out to create this routine and write this post, I realized my technique was lacking and I did not want to admit that you, dear reader. So I started doing some research. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos where women used 4 or more products, and while I did learn some new product application techniques, I still came away with the feeling that the number of products was overcomplicated.
After my research, I tried out this low waste routine using some new techniques but with only the conditioner and gel mentioned below. My curls were defined, but didn’t feel great (more on this in Results). Maybe those women with the four step routines are on to something, I thought to myself. I added an oil to my next wash n’ go and – lo and behold – better curls! The moral of the story: don’t knock it until you try it.
These are the three products I’m using for this wash n’ go:
- Plaine Products Citrus-Lavender Conditioner (comes in returnable, stainless steel containers)
- Dabur Vatika Naturals Olive Enriched Hair Oil (not low waste, just something I’m using up)
- Homemade flaxseed gel (flaxseeds can be found in bulk or glass, though the ones I’m using were bought in plastic)
My old technique was just to split my hair into four sections, towel dry to avoid product running off, rake in the moisturizer, and then scrunch in the gel. After watching women painstakingly craft every curl, I realized I should be doing more to get the definition I’m after. In general, I don’t mind some frizziness (which is good because my top curls don’t seem to want to curl as much), but I knew I could achieve more definition.
Here’s my amped-up process that I followed for these wash n’ gos:
- Split hair into 8-10 sections.
- Re-hydrate hair using spray bottle so it’s wet but not dripping.
- Comb or rake conditioner into hair, finger coiling any pieces that aren’t well defined. I do 3-4 coils per section. I have thick hair so I’m not willing to coil each individual curl.
- Gently apply oil to curls. I do something between raking and praying hands. I want all the curls coated, but I don’t want to crush their shape.
- Gently apply gel to curls. Same idea here. Coat without crushing.
First, let’s talk about the results without the added hair oil. I think my hair looked pretty good the first day as it air dried. (No diffusing for me to avoid heat damage and excess energy usage.) Similar to my experiment with a flaxseed gel ONLY wash n’ go, my hair ended up feeling super dry and sounded like straw. I play with my hair a lot, so the sound was definitely noticeable to me and very off-putting. On the second and third days, the curls were loosing their hold/definition, but still wearable (especially these days when I rarely leave the house).
Here are the results from day 1 without hair oil:
Now onto the results with hair oil. SO MUCH BETTER. Where has this been all my life? (I know, everyone’s been using it except me.) My hair is definitely better moisturized. It feels soft and squishy to the touch, rather than dry and dead. I think the dryness I experienced the first time was due to the flaxseed gel. When I’ve done conditioner and gel wash n’ gos with “conventional” store bought gels, I never experienced this level of dryness. While there is still a slight straw-like sound when using the hair oil and flaxseed gel, it’s much better than flaxseed gel alone.
Here are the results from day 1 WITH hair oil:
Also, yes, it’s clear that I haven’t had my hair cut in over a year. I trim it myself fairly regularly, but it’s in desperate need of a real shape-up. Salons are still closed in my area, please bear with me haha 🙂
- Wow. I really should have been using oil this whole time. I am so grateful to have discovered its magic for a moisturized wash n’ go.
- I’m looking forward to finding a low waste oil to use in this routine! Hoping to find something in glass rather than plastic. I’ll definitely let you all know what I find and end up using!
Bonus: How I sleep on my curls
When I’m trying to preserve a wash n’ go overnight, I like to sleep with my hair in a pineapple. This works well for my curl type and length. I use a scrunchie to secure all the curls onto the top of my head. Then I cover as many of my curls as I can with my bonnet, even though it’s too small to fit over my whole head. (Note: this ends up looking very silly.) I sleep on a satin pillowcase to prevent any static/rubbing on the curls that don’t make it into the bonnet.