You simply wash the hair and then you go, right? Unfortunately, no. With a name like wash and go, achieving the image of some awe-worthy locks seems to be completely impossible, especially since the name is so misleading. You might feel like your hair simply doesn’t want you to be great. You might feel like you’ve missed the genetic lotto. You also might feel like every natural on Instagram is a bold face liar who’s just buying ultra-fabulous and curly wigs. Fortunately, none of these things are actually true (though you still shouldn’t take everything on Instagram at face value). Here are four reasons why your wash and go is failing you, and some solutions to the problem.

1: You’re looking at impossible results.
While a wash and go that you can be proud of is not impossible, expecting that 3B wash and go look when you’re a 4C is a set up for disappointment. I’m usually not one to play into hair types as if they’re the be-all, end-all to hair, but this is the moment in which they matter. If you have tight, kinky, coily strands and you’re expecting to get a loose wave, it’s just not happening. Your curls are great no matter what they look like. Maybe they’re slightly dry kind of heat damaged, but they’re just doing their best in this harsh world. You don’t have to love them every day, but don’t expect them to change shape overnight.

2: You Literally Washed and Went
Remember when I said the title of this style was misleading? Yeah. When I did my first wash and go, I just came out of the shower, hair freshly conditioned and cleansed, and then went about my day. As the water left my hair, so did my curl definition and shine. This isn’t to say that you can’t embrace the literal wash and go. In fact, I personally believe that should be the next step in the natural hair movement, but if you’re looking for some staying power to that fresh out the shower look, you’ll need the assistance of some product, like a curl defining cream or gel.

3: You’re Not Using a Product that Works with Your Hair
There’s no perfect product that works for everyone’s wash and go. Maybe your favorite beauty blogger told you that Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing Smoothie was the truth, and now you think that person lives in a house of lies. The real truth is, there’s a lot of trial and error involved in the process and you have to be willing to experiment. I recommend first seeing whether a cheap curl enhancing cream or a gel works best for holding your shape, then branch out into more specific products in the formula that you prefer.

4: Your Curls Genuinely Aren’t Defined
Shea Moisture calls it the Curl Enhancing Smoothie, because it is meant to enhance. Though your fave blogger may call it magic, it really is not. If your curls are already limp or undefined due to heat damage, untrimmed split ends, or past chemical treatments, your wash and go product doesn’t possess the sorcery to undo that. All it can do is enhance. A large part of your wash and go lies in general hair maintenance including moisturizing and conditioning your hair, regularly clipping your ends, and doing the occasional hair treatment if needed.

To sum it all up, the core of your wash and go lies in a few simple tasks: be realistic, be mildly effortful, be adventurous, and be hair healthy.

Published by Liv Glenn