20 Thoughts You Have During Every Wash Day

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Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimised by your own hair.

For those of us with natural hair, there are little things more stressful than the task of wash day. Here are some thoughts that spring to mind every single time it comes around.


“Maybe it won’t be so traumatic this time.”


No matter how optimistic you are at the beginning, it usually takes just seconds for the penny to drop. We can’t predict many things in life, but stress during wash day is definitely one thing we can guarantee.


“Didn’t I just do this the other day?”

Fox / Hulu

Yes, in fact, you did. No matter how long you leave it after each wash day, it always feels like just yesterday you had your hands in your hair for the best part of eight hours. Time really flies when you have natural hair (until you’re actually washing it – time stands still on wash day).


“To deep condition or not, that is the question.”


Do you deep condition and add moisture to your hair, making it all the more manageable, or avoid this step altogether and knock some valuable time off the wash day routine? It’s something of a Sophie’s Choice.


“Why are natural hair products so expensive, and why do I have so many?”

Universal Pictures

Now it wouldn’t be wash day if I hadn’t spent an unspeakable amount of money on hair products the week prior. For someone that despises washing my hair, I sure do love buying hair care products. Lord knows why it costs an arm and a leg for a leave-in conditioner that will last a fortnight at best, but we move.


No one better call me for the next four to eight hours.”


Wash day is a full-day affair, meaning all social plans including non-scheduled phone calls are completely out of the window. If someone tries to call, there is a very real possibility that I’ll be in the middle of a wash day-induced tantrum, and an even greater chance that I won’t answer.


“Where do I even start?”


There’s multitasking, and then there’s wash day. Having to section, detangle, shampoo, condition, re-detangle, and moisturise your hair, all while having a shower is a very tall order. And making a start can often be the hardest part, especially if you’re a professional procrastinator like myself.


“How is it possible for one head of hair to have so many tangles.”


There are so many tangles and so little time. In my humble opinion, detangling is the most tedious step of the whole wash day process. You section your hair, grab a comb (or a brush if you’re feeling brave) and spend an unpleasant amount of time trying to work your way through tangles that seem to multiply as you go on. Make it make sense.


“There is no such thing as too much conditioner.”


Conditioner is the gift that just keeps on giving. Why use a pea-sized amount when you can use half the bottle in one sitting? If you’re ever wondering how much is too much conditioner, just remember that the limit does not exist.


“These Youtubers are crying behind the scenes too, right?”


Natural hair YouTubers make the whole wash day process look easy as pie and I’m not convinced. There is no way people are completing a full wash day routine in 25 minutes and without shedding a few tears here and there. Either they’re having breakdowns off-camera, or they’re practising witchcraft, there’s really no other explanation.


“Is it possible for your arms to fall off?”


Feeling like your arms are going to break after minutes of washing your hair is a quintessential part of the wash day experience. Forget the gym membership, everyday is arm day when you have natural hair.


“How can I shed this much hair and still have any left?”


It’s one of life’s great unanswerable questions. Noticing a cluster of your hair in the shower after washing it can be very alarming, to say the least. How I’m not completely bald at this point is beyond me. A moment of silence for all the strands that are no longer with us – gone but never forgotten.


“Wait, you’re telling me I have to style my hair too?”


There’s a beautiful moment when you hop out of the shower and get to relax for a minute or two. The moment is usually interrupted by the heartbreaking realisation that you also have to style your hair. Do you go for twists, braids, bantu knots, a ponytail, or a sleek bun? It’s whichever hairstyle is the least time consuming for me.


“Wash-and-go? Wash and go where?”


Back into the bathroom to apply more products and start styling from scratch? I am convinced that the infamous wash-and-go hairstyle is a myth. Not once in my life have I washed my hair and been able to step out into the world carefree. Again, these YouTubers are selling us dreams.


“Oh great, I get to re-detangle the area I already detangled.”


The tangles that appear once your hair is already detangled, washed, and sectioned really have a way of testing your patience. You think you’re finally on the home stretch and then the world humbles you by revealing even more knots.


“There are so many other things I could be doing right now.”


Wash day is certainly a marathon and not a sprint. But it’s the kind of marathon you’d definitely avoid if you had the choice, let’s be honest. A good chunk of every wash day is therefore spent dreaming about all the non-hair-related things you could be doing instead. You know it’s bad when you start fantasizing about chores, life admin, and other mind-numbing activities.


“Shrinkage is the root of all evil.”


You’re telling me I put in all this effort for my hair to hide the inches that I’ve been growing for the last decade? It really be your own curls that betray you.


“Okay, I’m never doing this again.”


This thought crosses my mind at least once every five minutes on wash day, as does the idea of shaving my head to put an end to the vicious cycle for good. Better yet, one can always learn to live with dirty hair because ain’t nobody got time for this.


“It’s official, I’m getting braids for the foreseeable future.”


Or any protective other style that means I can avoid this debacle for a few weeks. People take holidays to escape their daily routine, and I get braids to avoid wash days – it’s basically the same.


“Why aren’t my edges cooperating?”


Laying your edges at the end of a long wash day is the final step between you and freedom. However, if your edges are anything like mine it may not be the smoothest process. Sometimes there’s just not enough Eco Styler Gel in the world to slick those baby hairs down.


“Wow, I look pretty good!”


There’s truly nothing more satisfying than completing your wash day routine and seeing your curls and coils absolutely thriving. Sometimes you just have to trust the process!

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