The Wash & Go Myth About Curly Hair: Curly Hair Is Easy (Knot!)

This week we’re featuring a guest blog by Deana Ruggieri, who viewed the mountain of unruly curls atop her head as a flaw, a punishment, and even a curse!

It took her decades to overcome the damage inflicted by cruel kids in the school yard, and the desire for long, straight hair.  In an effort to help girls with curls love themselves, she is currently writing “My Hair: The Long and Short of It”, the story of how she learned to love her hair.


Myth #1

 By Deana Ruggieri

“Curly hair is easy; you just wash and go!”

This statement is false, and as a curly-haired girl I ought to know. My curls and I go way back — oh, we’ve had our battles all right, too many to recount. There’s a personal struggle behind every curl on my head. It reminds me of a story my grandmother passed down.

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good
She was very, very good,
But when she was bad, she was horrid.

And THAT I was when I had to deal with my hair!

Shrinkage, Fluff, and Moisture-Moisture-Moisture

So, what actually happens when a curly-haired girl simply applies the “wash and go” technique? Hold on to your hat, you might need it. Stripped of precious oils and product that provide structure and weight to the hair, clean curls shrink! In my case, they spring up to my earlobes. And if that’s not bad enough, clean curls are susceptible to the elements; they fly away and expand with the wind. The result is fluff that I’ve come to love. Well, almost.

Furthermore, “wash” cannot be followed by “go” because steps must be taken in between. After a good shampoo, it’s time to condition and moisturize. Yes. Both! One application of hydrating conditioner is never enough. Apply it in the shower and leave it on at least long enough to shave your legs, then rinse with hot water.

“Uncurl” Your Curls Daily for Maximum Effect

Not a bad idea to massage in a detangling conditioner too. Wash it out with cold water after you loofah your feet with a salt scrub. Unless curls are gently “uncurled” everyday, in other words separated by comb or pick, they form dreadlocks faster than you can say “Bob Marley.” Left to their own devices, clean curls wrap around themselves and coil into knots without anyone noticing. They tend to be sneaky, with a mind of their own.

If you’re ripping your hair out during the detangling step, there’s work to be done. For now, take smaller sections of damp hair and coat them with your favorite oil or serum, and gently comb.

What comes next depends on your agenda for the rest of the day. If you’re going water skiing, while it may feel wonderful to have the wind blowing through your hair, there will be a price to pay! Gel and French braids are the way to go to protect the hair from shredding. Likewise, physical activity or a drive in a convertible warrants a low bun or braid, and possibly a hat to shield the hair.

Make Peace With Your Curls

Curls require patience, care and (at times) compromise. To “wash and go” is laying out the welcome mat for frizz, knots and frustration. Follow the steps in between and you will make peace with your curls.

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