Our team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the products and deals we love. If you love them too and decide to purchase through the links below, we may receive a commission. Pricing and availability are subject to change.
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.
Other Clarifying Shampoos:
- Best Sulfate-Free Clarifying Shampoo: Innersense Organic BeautyHydrating Cream Hairbath, $28
- Best Fragrance-Free Clarifying Shampoo: Briogeo Aloe + Oat Milk Ultra Soothing Fragrance-Free Hypoallergenic Shampoo, $26
- Best Foaming Clarifying Shampoo: Kinky-Curly Come Clean Shampoo, $9.99
Other Moisturizing Shampoos:
- Best Moisturizing Shampoo For Dry Curls: Bounce Curl’s Pure Silk Moisturizing Shampoo, $19.99
- Best Moisturizing Shampoo For Coils: Mielle Pomergranate and Honey Moisturizing Shampoo, $9.99
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.
- Best Heavy Conditioner: Pattern Beauty Heavy Conditioner for Coilies, $25+
- Best Drugstore Conditioner: Dove Amplified Textures Super Slip Detangling Conditioner, $6.98
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.
- Best Cream Gel: Taliah Waajid Curls, Waves & Naturals Curly Curl Gello Hair Mousse, $18.99
- Best Styling Gel For Coils: Rose Water Defining Styling Gel, $14.99
Wet Gel v. Dry Hair
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.
If you liked this story, you might also enjoy these 5 stylish durags that are way too cool for just your sleeping space.
Want to stay in the know on all things beauty? Watch In The Know Live: Beauty every Monday at 1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST to discover the best products and latest trends.
More from In The Know: