There’s a lot to keep track of when you’re preparing for a trip— packing clothes, electronics, booking a hotel or home away, maybe a plane ticket and a passport. When you’re going through all that planning, the last thing you’ll want to stress about is maintaining your gorgeous hair, as that can be time consuming on its own.
Luckily, with the right tools and accessories, you’ll have plenty of time to spend with your family, immersing yourself in a new culture, or sipping that mimosa on the beach without giving your hair too much thought.
Whether you’re setting out on your next international adventure or planning a short road trip, you’ll want to consider investing in these 15 life (and time) saving tools to keep your curls looking their best, even when you’re away from home.
1. Detangling Brush
Very few people are thrilled about detangling their hair. There can be a lot of pulling, tugging, arm cramps and fairy knots— not my kind of party. And when you’re traveling, this can be especially tedious. Cue Felicia Leatherwood’s Detangler Brush. With widely-spaced, flexible bristles that prevent hair pulling while aiding in removing shed hair, detangling will be much easier at home and away.
Felicia Leatherwood’s Detangling Brush, $14, Brush With The Best
Want to protect your hair during your flight? Or maybe you woke up a little late and need a quick solution? A headwrap is a cute and easy fix. Ruby Sampson’s Silk-Lined Headwrap will be gentle on your hair while protecting it, and you’ll still look fly in the airport. There’s also the option of satin lined caps, if you want something a little more relaxed.
Ruby Sampson Silk-Lined Headwrap, $31-48, SHOP NaturallyCurly
3. Microfiber Towel
Some fabrics like those found in complementary hotel towels can be rough on curly hair and even cause some breakage. Make sure you bring something soft and gentle to dry your hair. The Aquis Hair Towel is a super lightweight towel made with Aquitex ultra-fine fibers and dries your hair faster while creating less friction and frizz. Much better than a hotel towel.
Aquis Hair Towel, $25-35, SHOP NaturallyCurly
4. Collapsible Diffuser
A diffuser is great to have when air-drying isn’t an option—and a collapsible diffuser will be a traveling curly/natural’s best friend. The Curly Co. Collapsible Travel Diffuser shrinks and stretches to fit most blow dryers and collapses into itself forming a small compact object that you can pack almost anywhere.
Curly Co. Collapsible Travel Diffuser, $30 (currently $15), The Curly Co.
5. Shower Cap
A simple addition to your packing list, a shower cap is useful for preserving styles in the shower— nothing revolutionary there. But with the Shhhowercap, an aptly named stylish and hydrophobic shower cap, you can ensure no water—not even the humidity—will touch your hair. The water rolls off of the Shhhowercap, and when it does get wet, it dries immediately.
The Shhhowercap, $43, Shhhowercap
6. Hair Clamp
Updos while traveling are inevitable, but you don’t have to use hair ties which can be damaging and are easily lost. Hair clamps like the PuffCuff is one of the best options for particularly thick curly and natural hair. It wraps around your hair and fastens for a sleek look and no damage. It also comes in mini sizes.
PuffCuff Original- 5 inch, $16-17, ThePuffCuff
7. Edge Brush
A true curly/natural essential. If laid edges are important to you even on the go, make sure you slip a small brush in your bag before you leave. Camryn’s BFF Gentle Edges Brush is a soft boar bristle brush with a comb at the end. Comb with the brush first, then the comb for a smooth finish.
Camryn’s BFF Gentle Edges Brush, $2.39, Amazon
8. Satin Pillowcase
If you’re sleeping without a bonnet or a cover for your hair at night, you’ll definitely want to invest in a pillowcase that will treat your hair well while you sleep. The Savvy Sleepers Satin Pillowcase is made of 100% pure satin, and protects both hair and skin. If you’re not looking to spend money on a high end satin or silk pillowcase, the cheaper ones work just as well at preventing breakage.
Savvy Sleepers Satin Pillowcase, $42, Amazon
9. Spray Bottle
Spray bottles are a basic curly/natural necessity, and just about any spray bottle will do the trick. But if you want something that may save you a little more time, invest in a flairosol spray bottle. The Beatify Beauties Flairosol Spray Bottle has a comfortable spray trigger and a continuous spray ability that can cover a large area of your hair at one time.
Beautify Beauties Flairosol Spray Bottle, $12, Amazon
10. Bobby Pins
These work as both functional and stylish accessories. They’re useful to hold your hair in place and they look great as a decorative touch to natural and curly hairstyles. It’s good to have them in a pinch and they’re definitely worth packing. Just make sure you bring plenty because losing them is almost 100% guaranteed.
Donna Black Bobby Pins (50 ct.), $1, SHOP NaturallyCurly
11. Curl Formers
A quick styling option for travelers. Curl formers can be used overnight to create a fluffy curly look that works on all hair types. These Curlformers by Hair Flair come four in a package and do not include a styling hook.
Curlformers, $12, SHOP NaturallyCurly
Steamers bring movement and flexibility back into curly and natural hair in order to make manipulation a breeze without worrying about breakage. The Q-Redew is probably the most popular hair steamer on the market and if you use a steamer, you won’t have to worry about wetting or spritzing your hair with water. If you’re traveling with this gadget, make sure you have a reliable power source, power adapters and converters are not recommended.
Q-Redew Handheld Hand Steamer, $78, SHOP NaturallyCurly
13. Croc Clips
They may not be an accessory you want to wear out, but they’re super helpful when styling. When sectioning your hair off, just use a simple clip to clamp off large sections to style more efficiently. They’ll fit easily into a carry-on or a suitcase.
Colortrak Croc Clips, $15, Amazon
14. Thermal Cap
If you’re interested in deep conditioning while away from home, a thermal cap may be a worthwhile. When deep conditioning, it’s ideal for the cuticles to be lifted for maximum moisture—the thermal cap uses heat to lift the cuticles of your hair to achieve just that. The Thermal Hair Care Hot Head cap is heated in the microwave and stays hot enough for up to a 45 minute treatment.
Thermal Hair Care Hot Head, $30, SHOP NaturalluCurly
15. Hair Stretch Plates
Give your hair a blowout effect—without the heat. Stretch plates are similar to curl formers, except they straighten your hair rather than curl it. They’re a great way to elongate your curls for another style, or even to wear as a blown-out look. They work well with a steamer or hooded dryer.
*The stretch plates only seem to come in a bundle with spiral plates.
The “Perfect Combo” Toolkit- Rubber and Spiral Plates, $55, CWK Girls
So where are you going this summer? A family vacation, a girls’ trip, or maybe just a road trip? Let us know where you’re traveling to and what products you’ll bring for your curly hair.