Life as a Natural can be full of up and downs from bomb twist outs to frazzled wash and go's. Most of the time its a game of trying until you find something that works, so I can understand why the thought of travelling with natural hair might scare people.
'What if something goes wrong and I can't rectify it?'
'What if I need emergency products and my destination has nothing for natural hair?'
'What if my hair get so dry that it starts to disintegrate into dust, flying into the eyes of other vacationers?'
(Okay well I'm glad to say the last one is most unlikely to happen)
From low manipulation hairstyles to multipurpose travel friendly products I have a few tips that I hope will make travelling with your natural tresses much easier!
When it comes to travel I think one of the most important things to do is make sure you're protecting your hair. Going from different temperatures and environments can affect your hair more than you think.
Some styles definitely work better than others when you're travelling, depending on climate and how much activity is on the agenda. It's important to tailor your routine and style to where you are to avoid stress and potential disaster.
- Avoid using heavy/greasy products in humid weather and opt for light oils, serums and leave ins instead. The moisture and heat in the air mixing with a heavier product may cause frizz and dampness. Updos, chunky braids or flat twists where your hair is slightly tucked away may also work better than hair being left out. My favourite oil to use while I'm away is Charlotte Mensah's Manketti Oil, it's got a great fragrance, it's a very light oil but amazing at making my hair look and feel healthy and at 100ml it's very easy to travel with either in your hand luggage or in a checked suitcase.
- If your vacation includes high impact activity such as hiking or lots of walking or if you have a packed schedule on the agenda I would suggest doing protective styles such as braids or wearing wigs. This will save you a lot of time in terms of styling and maintenance. However if that isn't really your thing, I find that a slicked back low bun is always a great low manipulation style. I like to use Eco Styler gel (Either the Argan Oil or Black Castor Oil) for my slick back bun and don't forget a toothbrush for your edges!
- Twist outs and wash and go's are a great style for vacations, particularly if you're planning on having a chilled time away or just want to escape the feeling of self consciousness. They may not always come out perfect but I think that's the beauty of it! Allowing your hair to do just do its thing can feel liberating! My favourite products to use for twist outs are a mix of Eco Styler gel and shea butter. Eco Styler is really difficult to mix with other products but I found that mixing to with shea butter gives it a perfect consistency for a twist out. The gel allows the twist to stay in form and the shea butter keeps it moisturised.
Mainting the health of natural hair while away can be difficult and I think it could be what scares people the most about travelling with natural hair. Here are some tips that I find helpful:
- MOISTURISE! You hear it all the time, right? It's so important to keep our hair moisturised all the time but even more so when travelling. My ultimate tip to most naturals I talk to about travelling is, wash your hair with the water! You see, the water here in London is very hard and ultimately this effects our hair and the way it takes in moisture. Hard water can be very damaging to natural hair and I think in the long run it would be good to invest in ways of filtering the water in our homes. Water in countries abroad tends to be a lot softer than ours so I always make a conscious decision to wash my hair a few times throughout my trip and wet my hair before styling, and usually it does wonders. (I would definitely suggest researching the ph levels of the water in the country/city you're travelling to before hand)
- Taking multivitamins helps support and protect our body which includes our hair too. Travelling can take a toll on our bodies so make sure you stock up on your vitamins to keep healthy! I personally like to take Manetabolism by Mane Choice both when I'm travelling and not travelling to help with the health and growth of my hair. They don't agree with everybody so if you're going to take any brand of hair vitamins I suggest doing so a few months in advance.
- Buying 100ml empty containers are useful for carrying small amounts of product more efficiently and can be bought for less than £5 in most shops.
- Using multipurpose products can also help with being more efficient with packing such as shea butter and coconut oil, which can be used for moisturising the body and hair and also Dr Bronner's 18 in 1 soap which can be used for shampoo as well as for baths/showers (and a whole lot more)
- Bringing a scarf or hat with you on your travels can turn a hair don't to a hair do, but can also help shield it from the sun avoiding the possibility of getting extremely dry hair in a hot climate .