Oh, to be a curly girl!
There is no hotter market for hair products than women with curly hair. Despite everyone declaring how lucky we are to have “naturally curly hair” we suffer from:
- Bed head
- Hat head
- Wind that turns our hair into a puff ball.
- Chlorine that turns it into a Brillo pad.
- Too little product one day.
- Too much the next.
- Horrible haircuts by people who don’t know what to do with our wild locks.
- A lack of curl on occasion. Yes, there’s nothing worse than curly hair that’s gone limp.
- And never knowing what our hair will do from one day to the next.
So when I received an email from a reader asking me what products I pack for my curly hair my heart ached as I know her pain. Then I resolved to offer her (and possibly, you) solutions.
A hair confession.
This book changed how I manage my hair. Curly Girl made my hair routine simple. I had been using shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner, de-frizzer… and the occasional deep moisturizing treatment. And when it wasn’t working out, I would toss a product before it was finished and try another brand. After reading this book, I changed my routine to simply conditioner and a cream de-frizzer. That’s it. And it really doesn’t matter what brands I use.
Travel Hair Products.
So, I confess: I don’t wash my hair with shampoo. I wash it with conditioner. Made to rinse out of hair, it does a fine job of getting it clean and in the process, it doesn’t strip my hair of natural oils.
So I travel with one 3-oz bottle of conditioner and one 3-oz bottle of de-frizzer. If I’m going for more than a week, I’ll take two bottles of conditioner. Longer and I’ll just take one and buy conditioner there. You can buy it anywhere.
Simple hair tips for travelers.
Yet still, hair problems will arise on the road. When they do, there are often simple solutions.
What if you run out of product?
Most hotels and hostels have some pretty basic shampoo. This is not what you want to use on curly hair unless you absolutely have to. To counteract the damage the shampoo will do use olive oil or a natural hand lotion as if it is a de-frizzer. Both will add moisture to your hair and keep the frizz down.
What if you have to blow dry your hair?
I might blow dry my hair once a year. I really try to avoid it because it’s bad for my hair. If it’s something you find necessary, carry a diffuser with you to keep the frizz down. (Hotels rarely have them.) This simple sock diffuser takes up no space or weight and is $6 on Amazon.
What if you color your hair?
There was a time when I colored my hair but I couldn’t imagine doing so when preparing for my 10-month trip to Europe. Before leaving, I cut my hair (which was well below my shoulders) to less than an inch. Yes, basically a curly-haired pixie cut. I went grey overnight and I haven’t looked back.
Ok, my solution was simple but not everyone will make this choice. I’m not a colorist but you may want to check out The Colorista for lots of advice on DIY hair coloring. Personally, I would do my research, test my color solution before leaving and then do it myself on the road rather than trust a strange salon.
What if you need a cut?
One good thing about curly hair is that a good cut can be extended with a simple pair of nail scissors. I carry a pair with me on my travels and, surprisingly, they always manage to pass security in my carry-on. If my hair gets too bulky (one of the woes of curly hair) I take scissors to it and lighten it up. I always have my hair cut dry and I watch carefully as the stylist cuts into it releasing the curl. I simply copy what she does but to a lesser extent. Doing this I can grab a few extra weeks out of a cut.
Return with great photos of yourself
As I’ve written in The Tricks of a Solo Photographer it’s really nice to return from your travels with photos of yourself as well as all the fabulous sights you’ve seen. It’s even better if you look great in those photos. Hopefully the tips above will help – at least they’ll help the curly girls.
Do you have a hair solution that’s great for your hair type? Please share in the comments below.