- September 18, 2021
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HAMPTON — Jasmine Lowe learned a lot in cosmetology school, but she also discovered that styling naturally textured Black hair isn’t part of the curriculum.
“We have so many people with beautiful curls and texture, but they’ve never been taught how to just wear it that way,” she said. “They’ve always been taught through society to straighten it or add this or that.”
A licensed cosmetologist since 2007, Lowe said most of the skills taught are roller sets or chemical-based techniques with more of a focus on straightening, relaxing, perming, or coloring rather than training students how best to embrace the aesthetics of naturally textured, kinky or coiled hair.
“It’s actually something that you just kind of catch or learn as you go if it might interest you,” Lowe said.
While there are a plethora of bloggers and YouTubers sharing knowledge for the natural hair community, people may not know where to go for hair care outside the virtual space, she said.
That is why Lowe started Wash N Fro, a shampoo bar and twist salon for natural hair, at 1408 E. Pembroke Ave. in Hampton in June. She employs three stylists and is eager to add more.
“I noticed there were a lot of people with natural hair, like me, but not enough hair stylists that catered to basic natural hair maintenance,” she said.
The appointment-only salon features three services: wash-and-go, two-strand twists or flat twists for easy curl maintenance. There is no cutting, chemicals or color treatment. Washes range from $35 to $60 and twists range from $25 to $45.
She said she developed the concept to not only embrace natural textures but also encourage self-love and acceptance through simple maintenance.
“Growing up with really thick natural hair was a struggle,” she said. “There was always a fear and frustration when it came down to dealing with my hair.”
Lowe is eager to effect change outside of hairstyling by starting a Wash N Fro Love Movement. “It’s actually easy to learn to love who you are. It’s just a matter of understanding how to do it,” she said. “The way that you were created and the hair that you were given is beautiful; you are beautiful just the way are.”
Momentum has been building nationwide and in July last year, Virginia became the fourth state to enact the CROWN (Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act banning hair discrimination based on racial identifiers including hair texture, type, braids, locks and twists.
Lowe said she sees the potential to franchise the business and expand nationwide. The concept offers streamlined services similar to the Drybar franchise, which focuses solely on blowouts — blow drying and styling hair after washing it.
Wash N Fro isn’t Lowe’s first business venture. In 2017, she opened Be Bare Wax, a body waxing salon, in Newport News.
“I left behind the chair to do body waxing and now I’m coming back into the hair realm in a different aspect as the owner,” she said.
Gale Mayo of Newport News said she had a hard time managing her hair before she started going to Wash N Fro every other week.
“Before, I would just wash my hair and pull it back in a ponytail,” Mayo said. “Now I just wet it and keep it going. I love the way the curls lay; they lay long and I don’t have to detangle it.”
For more information, visit washnfro.com or facebook.com/washnfro.
Sandra J. Pennecke, 757-652-5836, firstname.lastname@example.org