Wash Day: Passing on the Legacy, Rituals, and Love of Natural Hair (Hardcover)

Wash Day: Passing on the Legacy, Rituals, and Love of Natural Hair By Tomesha Faxio Cover Image
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A visual celebration of natural Black hair that highlights the powerful connection between mothers and their children during their wash day rituals.

“A beautiful love letter to natural hair and the rituals Black women have created.”—Roxane Gay

In this stunning book, documentary photographer Tomesha Faxio explores the power of “wash day,” a day that Black women dedicate to washing, detangling, conditioning, and styling their natural hair. The significance of wash day goes far beyond hair care—it’s an opportunity for Black women to pour love into their curly, coily locks and, when they have children, pass on this sacred ritual to the next generation.
Wash Day celebrates the unique bonds between Black mothers and their children through intimate photographs of their hair-care routines and insightful stories that detail their natural hair journeys. Faxio brings you into the homes of twenty-six different families, illustrating the many ways that these mothers have used wash day to instill love, acceptance, and confidence in their children about wearing their natural hair. Through hours spent with their children, typically at the kitchen sink, each of these mothers is resisting generations of hair discrimination by creating a space for empowerment, all while finding their own sense of self-acceptance along the way.
Capturing the inherent beauty and diversity of natural hair, Wash Day is a visual homage to Black culture, Black rituals, and the generational bonds that strengthen the Black community.

About the Author

Tomesha Faxio (she/her) is a self-taught documentary photographer dedicated to portraying and centering the Black experience. She specializes in portraits of Black women and women of color, wielding photography to reject Eurocentric beauty standards and alterations of natural beauty. Her photography has been featured online by Parents, Jezebel, The Guardian, USA Today, and Forbes, as well as in the documentary films Refuge and Love Wins Over Hate.

Praise For…

“A beautiful love letter to natural hair and the rituals Black women have created for the special time set aside to lovingly care for Black hair in a culture that for far too long derided natural hair and demanded conformity. The images are quite lovely as are the stories of these families.”—Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author

“Faxio’s beautiful, tender images—especially of a mother’s hands washing and styling their children’s hair—are a loving and relatable celebration of our sacred ritual of caring for and sharing with one another.”—Natasha Tarpley, bestselling author of I Love My Hair!

Wash Day is a captivating and essential exploration of the cultural and emotional significance of natural hair within the Black community. It beautifully intertwines narratives of identity, heritage, and self-love, making it a vital read for understanding the deep-rooted connection between hair, history, and heart.”—Kahran and Regis Bethencourt, authors of Glory: Magical Visions of Black Beauty

“Author-photographer Tomesha Faxio has crafted a love letter by weaving interview texts with documentary images; she blends them in an eye-catching layout that will resonate with natural hair enthusiasts and those who are curious for a warm introduction to the terms, tools, and processes that go into textured hair.”—Joseph L. Underwood, co-Curator, Textures: the history and art of Black hair; Associate Professor of Art History, Kent State University

“This book is a beautiful and necessary testament to such a treasured part of Black motherhood and childhood. It is amazing to witness such an important cross-generational exchange which will undoubtedly unlock precious memories for many readers. We are so often only shown the final product when it comes to hair but it's the process that is so meaningful.”—Danielle Prescod, author of Token Black Girl

“In Wash Day, Tomesha Faxio has captured the bonds between mother and child, cherished family traditions, and the beauty of Black natural hair, all in one gorgeous book.”—Lori L. Tharps, co-author of Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America

Wash Day is a warm hug for those coming-of-age moments that left you questioning your hair and beauty. Tomesha’s work captures the stories that will help heal a generation. A joyful, honest read that doesn’t leave you tender-headed, but tender-hearted.”—Mechal Renee Roe, author of Happy Hair

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593579718
ISBN-10: 0593579712
Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2024
Pages: 256
Language: English