Question of the Day: Conditioner Only Wash and Gos

Question: Hey Elle! Have you ever done a conditioner only wash&go? What are your thoughts on them? I just had major success with using just Tresseme naturals condish for my w&g and I can’t believe it looks so good lol. I’m trying the CG method but slightly worried my hair could dry out.

Answer: I really think I have answered this before, but I have seen a lot of buzz on the blogs lately about the CG Method and conditioner only wash and gos, so I might as well address this again. Yes, I have tried conditioner only wash and gos (which is only using a conditioner to style your wash and go – no gel or other stylers), and I think they are great! However, for ME, once I get to multiday hair with a CO WNG, my roots will begin to mat, as there is no product with hold keeping my hair together or clumping my curls to decrease tangling. Every time I did CO WNGs for a week or so, my detangling session was always more difficult. But that is just the nature of my individual mane, I don’t think there is anything wrong with using only conditioner and my hair always felt great.

And now…for my rant…I have seen a lot of misinformation lately on what CG is. CG is NOT CONDITIONER ONLY STYLING! I’m sorry, it’s really starting to annoy me. If you look at the Curly Girl Method book, Lorraine Massey recommends using an alcohol free or natural gel, and talks about gel casts on your hair. Conditioner only styling is the TIGHTLY CURLY METHOD. They are different. Technically, CG is avoiding silicones that are not water soluble, sulfates, and heavy oils that coat your hair. However, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter, because what you do to your hair is your routine, and it should be tweaked to fit your hair’s needs. All of these methods and techniques should be starting points, they are not written in stone and you will not be struck down if you don’t follow it to a T. I’m just saying.


24 thoughts on “Question of the Day: Conditioner Only Wash and Gos

  1. Sam says:

    The super moisturizinbg results that the CG method promises without the use of those ingredients. IDK….you’ve said it best….do what works for you! Thanks Elle!

  2. Sam says:

    If one decided to try the CG methond which requires the use of non-cone and sulfate based products. Can you achieve the same results using products with those ingredients? Just asking…. 🙂

    • Elle says:

      What kind of results? Or do you just mean healthy hair? One can certainly have good results using cones and sulfates – it just depends on what your hair needs. Cones and sulfates are not the devil.

  3. Stephanie Coker says:

    OMG!!!! Thank you for clarifying that the CG method is not conditioner only. I was so tired of people going on youtube giving misinformation about it being conditioner only for your styler. I was confused too until I read the book and got a thorough understanding of it and why gel is good to use. Thanks Elle!

    • Elle says:

      Yeap, I mean…you don’t have to use gel with the CG method, but I didn’t understand why people kept saying they “weren’t allowed” to use gel b/c they were doing CG. I was like ummmm what…

  4. atribitt says:

    Thank you Elle!

    Just buy the freaking books people and READ! Thankyouandhaveaniceday

  5. Nadia says:

    Thank you sooooo much for you using your blog to clear up the basics on the CG method, because this was getting on my nerves as well and it seemeed like the more people kept talking about the CG method the more it was diluted from its original form.
    1. It just kills me with all the information out here that people won’t just buy the book, take it out from the library, or sit in Barnes and Nobles to see what it is for themselves. Stop waiting for everything to be spoon fed to you.
    2 I agree with the previous comment that MahgonyCurls definitely help me want to do the CG method, however she had not started her Curly Girl Series (which is really great). Therefore I watched TheBlackRawFoodist on YouTube along with Waterlilly 716 to get a better understanding. I realized that these ladies all purchased the book and altered the method according to their needs. I purchased the book and took if from there and used YouTube and blogs as a references.
    Thank you I feel better now 🙂

  6. SmilingElephant says:

    LOL!!! I feel you on the CG mis-info! yes when i first went natural i believed that the CG method was thee only way to go..its not a bad method actually…but i just hated feeling “guilty” if i used something outside of the method. The further along i get w/ my hair the more i’m enjoying doing my own thing. And guess what sis? I’m 2 yrs post relaxer today!!! ^__^ AND i found my 1st gray hair yesterday! Lol Life is full of training wheels!

  7. Chan says:

    So funny that you would address the difference between CG and CO. ..I”ve been seeing a lot of these vids on YT lately as well, and was starting to get confused. I’ve known about the CGMfor years. Then, I starting seeing CO methods..which caused me to go back and revisit Lorraine Massey site. I realized CO is another techinque we made up in the natural hair community. Funny thing is I’ve done conditioner and oil only.. for my pre-poos and would leave it in for a long while, and I must say, I really loved how my hair would behave and would hate to rinse it out. So I am curious about leaving it in as a styler now, and of course will try one that’s silcone free.

    • Elle says:

      CO wasn’t “made up” in the NH “community” (you know I hate that word, lol) – Teri LaFlesh has a site and book about it. She only styles with conditioner, but uses silicones and sulfates. But, she doesn’t say that you HAVE to use cones/sulfates, she just doesn’t exclude them. But using gel is definitely still CG, and not using gel can be CG too. I guess it gets confusing with so much info out there!! I just wanted to clarify.

  8. Derby City Naturals says:

    Reblogged this on derby city naturals and commented:
    Elle of Quest for the Perfect Curl and I were on the same page this morning. There has been a lot of misinformation spread about the Curly Girl Method, aka CG, stating it is a conditioner only styling. People are consistently confusing it with the Tightly Curly Method which is a conditioner only method. Either way to get the real deal on these methods check out these two books: Curly Girl Handbook by Lorraine Massey and Curly Like Me by Teri LaFlesh. For more curly reading recommendations check out this post >

  9. Derby City Naturals says:

    *standing ovation* i wrote a mini rant on this last night but i deleted it and decided just to post the correct information on the blog this morning. lol, its nice to know someone else is >here< with me 🙂

  10. Dwaynia says:

    And, you can even use stylers other than gel while adhereing to the CG method. As long as they don’t contain silicones, etc. (those things you mentioned above). People are throwing out/giving away all sorts of products for the sake of CG and “conditioner only” styling.

    • Elle says:

      Yes!!! And people don’t know that you can use other cleansers besides conditioner too!! I just did a post on Carol’s Daughter about this, because I wanted to clear that up. CG is actually pretty loose, it’s not super strict. But even if it was…doing what works for you is best! Like Massey recommends throwing away your detangling tools – I can see that, but I also have a seamless comb (to minimize friction) and I personally refuse to spend the time it would take me to thoroughly finger detangle my hair, so I compromised and only use my comb every 1-2 weeks. Tweaking is the shiznit!

  11. Ree says:

    I think it’s great how open-minded you are about various regimens/methods, as in not slamming them, even if they did not work out for you. And I’m glad you cleared up the CG thing and gel. It does seem as if there was a lot of misinformation out there about that.

  12. Barbara says:

    yep, blogs and yt are all ablaze with curly girl method these days. i often wonder what causes something to become the new “it” thing. oh well, thanks for clearing things up. i didn’t even know there was a such thing as a tightly curly method. *shrugs*

    • Ree says:

      CG has been around a looooong time. So has conditioner-only styling. I think the latest CG and conditioner-only styling “rage” can probably be trace back to when MahoganyCurls returned to YouTube a few months ago after a long hiatus. She was gone for a while and came back with much longer, fabulous-looking hair. Lots of people were inspired to try or re-try what had worked for her.

  13. HeChangedMyName says:

    I noticed that when I tried to do CO wash n gos that my hair ended up FRIZZZZY and tangled. I personally prefer to co wash only when I simply don’t have time to shampoo THEN condition.

  14. Kim Isaacs (@CurlyKimmyStar) says:

    I totally agree!!!!!!!!!!! I have been watching these CG method vids, and don’t know why people are confusing that with Teri LaFlesh’s tightly curly method. Um, yes,you CAN be CG and use gel, people!!! Anyway, there are no hair police, lol! Do what works for your hair. Another great article, Elle! 🙂

  15. Mickersssssss says:

    yeap i agree Elle! my reggie fluctuates, 1 week it may seem like im doing CG the next TC method…even still i may do none of it and be lazy…meh.. to each his own

    • Elle says:

      You can wash however you want – a conditioner only wash and go is just that – only using conditioner to style your wash and go.

      • misanthropicpeopleperson says:

        Gotcha. I’ve done that before out of laziness or when on vacation. Worked out fine. Guess I never thought about it being a “thing” lol.

        Lord I don’t know where this friggin name came from! They made me sign in via my WordPress but I DON’T KNOW THAT NAME! LOL. I put Kimberlie. This innanet is something else. Thanks for answering.

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