Saturday mornings are typically the day we dedicate to my daughter’s wash day. If you’re questioning what wash day means, you have never dealt with a thick head of cascading curly locks before.
Indeed, there is a book of terminology that we natural hair divas use to reference our hair routines, and wash day is a significant term. It is the day you set your curls and hope they last a while because it can be a lengthy process.
I line all the products and tools necessary to tackle the task at hand on my kitchen counter, padding the side of the sink with a towel draped over an airport neck pillow. One Giana climbs up and lays back on my pseudo salon sink. She has her iPad propped on her knees to entertain herself for the duration of our conditioning treatment.
I gently massage oils, shampoo, and conditioner into her beautiful hair as I sing along to Rhianna. Pausing to kiss her sweet little lips, I trace a line across her hairline. After we apply an arsenal of hydrating creams and oils to her curls, I place a plastic shower cap over her hair to capture the heat radiating from her little body sprawled across my kitchen.
Finally layering a microfiber towel on top of the plastic cap I release the kid. They will remain in this treatment stage for 20-30 minutes while I repeat the process on sister number two, Misha. Some form of bickering often breaks out: who gets to go first or what color towel one gets to have their hair wrapped in.
Once the final deep conditioner has had time to penetrate the hair follicle they return to their perch on the sink. I give the hair a final rinse and seal in the moisture. Now we proceed to a comfy spot on the couch or vanity stool to add braids, buns or a ponytail.
They dictate the style they would like me to achieve and sit between my legs. I methodically work my hands to execute the hairstyle accordingly. Using the tip of the rat tail comb to divide it into sections, my fingers moving quickly to intertwine their wet curls into manageable braids. Hoping to not have to revisit their heads for several days.
This is our weekly routine, and yes its time consuming. A mandatory parenting task my husband does not have to participate in. At times they whine, or complain that the tangles hurt, or just want to get down and play. I have various other chores I need to be doing, a desire to sleep in or perhaps a hangover from sitting by the fire the previous night with our neighborhood friends instead of detangling locs of hair. Still, I know I was meant to nurture and care for these littles and I would not want to sacrifice the time we have spent in contact solely due to their hair.
I cannot imagine what it would be like to have a straight hair child, who could handle their own mane. Would we have the chance to talk about identity? family? and school friendships? Would I have taken the time to sit still towering over them and gazing into their innocent faces for hours on end? Would there be another reason for them to sit at my feet on a weekly or biweekly basis?
For this one on one time, I am grateful. It gives me the opportunity to shape their perception of themselves. In a world where we can’t be present, my hands on their bodies prompt us into conversation with reflection, confessions and inquiries. If managing their hair is the a channel for depth in conversations on our culture, bring on the kinks, coils and curls.
Dione Laufenberg is the founder of SWURLY. She was born in Chicago and raised in Madison, WI where she met her husband on the UW Campus as a freshman. Together, they are raising their two beautiful biracial daughters.
Dione has earned her B.S. in Psychology as well as her licenses for massage therapy, aesthetics, and nail technology – all of which combine to elevate her expertise in wellness and self-care.
- Being innovative and anticipating the demands of the wellness and beauty market is no new trend for Dione. She built a successful full-service day spa in Madison at the age of 28. She opened the doors during the financial recession and found innovative ways to thrive. She went on to employee 13 staff members and sold the company in 2016.
- Consistently caretaking the needs of her daughter’s bounty of curls, she uses her knowledge and research to help other multiracial families. Dionne has a whimsical and informative blog where she is able to share her travels, tutorials, party tips, and hair care regimens.
If you want to learn more about how we manage and style our hair check out Laufty Life Blog.