What Is a Wash-And-Go Hairstyle—and How to Do It

Simplify your hair routine.

<p>Catherine Falls/Getty Images</p>

Catherine Falls/Getty Images

I’m not going to lie—I get a lot of compliments on my hair. It’s one of my favorite features, and I believe the secret to my success is the wash-and-go hairstyle I’ve perfected over the last few years. Considering I often opt for the wash-and-go over styling my hair with heat, my strands look and feel pretty healthy and full.

If you, too, want to use less heat on your hair, it might be time to consider the wash-and-go. Below, we dive into what exactly is a wash-and-go, how to get the look, how to revive a wash-and-go hairstyle, and more.

What Is a Wash-And-Go?

A wash-and-go style is a look that’s achieved by washing your hair and then allowing it to air dry with the least amount of pre-styling effort before walking out the door. Most of the time, you’ll be leaving your house with wet hair. “Wash-and-go styles work best when your hair is intentionally cut to enhance your actual hair texture and keep it controlled,” explains Paul Cucinello, a celebrity stylist, beauty expert, and founder of Cucinello Beauty. “Many super short hairstyles are basically a wash-and-go.”

Cuts with a strong perimeter, such as a bob, work well without blow-dry styling. According to Cucinello, longer styles with layers can also work, but you have to be comfortable with wearing your natural texture and accept however much volume your hair winds up having once it air dries. “There might be a wash-and-go style that works on every hair type, but that doesn’t
necessarily mean that it would be most flattering,” he explains.

The term “wash-and-go” is used mostly to describe wavy, curly hairstyles. According to Jenna Spino, a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, it’s best for those with wavy to curly hair, but it can work for someone with straighter hair with a good haircut. “The outcome would just be straighter, so you would want to use a texture spray to add some volume,” she explains. “People with finer hair may not like it because it could be difficult to add volume without blow drying.”

How to Do a Wash-And-Go

  1. First, you want to make sure your hair is cut in a style that works with your natural texture, which would make it ideal for air drying.

  2. Shampoo and condition your hair in the shower or bath.

  3. Blot your wet hair with a microfiber towel or t-shirt to remove as much water from it as possible.

  4. Then, using your hands or a wide-toothed comb, Cucinello suggests quickly directing your hair where you ultimately want it to lay. “For example, bangs would be combed straight down, or you might find your part and smooth the hair on either side before walking out the door,” he says.

  5. Next, add your products in. According to Spino, you will want a leave-in product for moisture, which will help with frizz. For curly hair, you should opt for a curl product like a mousse, gel, or cream—this will enhance your waves and curls and keep them together.

  6. Evenly distribute the product throughout the hair, ensuring the entire strand is coated. When air drying wavy/curly hair, generally speaking, you will need more product than you think, so be generous, suggests Spino.

  7. Now, you just have to leave it alone—don’t touch it anymore, and just let it dry on its own.

How to Revive a Wash-And-Go

To revive a wash-and-go style, you would either wash it again or re-wet the hair so that it can air dry without any kinks that may have formed while sleeping. “A fine mist spray bottle usually does the trick, but be cautious—if your hair is curly, you will need to reshape some of your curls to ensure you aren’t re-activating frizz,” says Cucinello.

For most curly-haired styles, Cucinello usually suggests rinsing and conditioning on non-shampoo days. Reviving wash-and-go hair is usually best achieved by getting it wet again,
not by using a dry shampoo.

Another way to have a wash-and-go style last longer is to sleep in a silk bonnet or scarf, or even a silk scrunchie. “This will help prevent friction on the hair while you sleep,” says Spino.

How Often to Do a Wash-And-Go Style

If your hair is well suited for it, you can do a wash-and-go style as often as you would like. According to Cucinello, the only instances where it might not be your best option would be if it’s freezing cold out and you don’t want frozen hair, or if your hair needs to have a much more finished look. “When your hair needs to look super-sleek and polished, you should definitely avoid wash-and-go hair,” he says.

A word of warning about the wash-and-go style: According to Spino, some people feel they can go longer between washes when they blow their hair out than when they wash-and-go, and this is the tradeoff. “I would say wash your hair as often as every other day up to just once a week,” she suggests.

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