Can you really do the gel-only wash-and-go method on naturally coily curls? I tried it for myself

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Many curly naturals embraced maintaining their own hair while in quarantine. The result? Some have realized that hair care is quite an undertaking. Thankfully, the gel-only wash-and-go method is an easy hack to speed up wash day, no matter your skill level.

The gel-only wash-and-go method is all about exposing your hair’s curl pattern in its natural state. It isn’t a new concept, but thanks to apps like TikTok, YouTube and Instagram Reels, it’s becoming popular and more mainstream again. Many curly natural influencers on YouTube and TikTok are taking a break from leave-in oils and butters in favor of this three-step wash routine. That’s right, there are only three steps: shampoo, conditioner and a water-based gel. With the gel-only wash-and-go method, curly heads of all curl patterns can achieve a defined wash-and-go, cutting down your wash and style time by hours.

How To Do The Gel-Only Wash-And-Go Method On Type 4 Hair

The Wash Step:

First things first: this method works best when you start with clean, sectioned hair. Begin with a clarifying shampoo, then follow with a moisturizing shampoo to help remove buildup. If your shampoo doesn’t lather the way it should, you might just need another round of cleansing. For my wash, I used the Pattern Beauty Clarifying Shampoo and the Carol’s Daughter Coco Creme Curl Quenching Shampoo to clean my strands and bring moisture back into my hair shaft.

Credit: Ari Bines for In The Know

Pattern Beauty Clarifying Shampoo, $20

Credit: Ulta Beauty
Other Clarifying Shampoos:

Carol’s Daughter Coco Creme Curl Quenching shampoo, $10.99

Credit: Amazon
Other Moisturizing Shampoos:

The Condition Step:

Conditioners help to soften the hair and make it more malleable, which is ideal for tighter curl patterns. Since my hair was in dire need of moisture, I used Adwoa Beauty’s Deep Conditioning Treatment. When I sectioned my hair into four parts and applied the treatment, I felt the mint penetrating my scalp. With this conditioner, you’ll immediately notice the definition in your curls as I did here.

Credit: Ari Bines for In The Know

Adwoa Beauty’s Deep Conditioning Treatment, $36

Credit: Sephora
Other Conditioners

The Gel Step:

After rinsing the conditioner out with cold water to lock in the moisture, don’t dry your hair. Yes, steer clear of that towel. The point of a wash-and-go is to do all the styling right in your shower. While your hair is still drenched, section it into parts and apply your gel to hold in that H2O. You’ll notice your hair won’t be dripping because the gel is what’s actually holding in all the water. For my wash-and-go, I applied Aunt Jackie’s Flaxseed Don’t Shrink Curling Gel while detangling each strand. Once the gel is applied, whip out your blow dryer and diffuser.

Aunt Jackie’s Flaxseed Don’t Shrink Curling Gel, $6.99

Credit: Target

Other Gels

Wet Gel v. Dry Hair

Credit: Ari Bines for In The Know

My Thoughts On The Gel-Only Wash-And-Go

For many who have used other tried-and-true methods before, the gel-only wash-and-go method may seem jarring with so little time and products used. However, that’s what makes this routine amazing. You can easily save money because you’ll only need three to four products. Not to mention, the whole point of the method is to encourage hydration throughout the hair, while allowing your true curl pattern to flourish. It’s a win-win, and any curl pattern can achieve stunning results with this three-step process in no time.

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