Traveling with curly hair can be difficult. The last thing you want to worry about while on vacation is spending an hour or more detangling and styling your hair. I know, and you know, and Champagne Papi Drake knows that we wanna "Vacay to a, place where you could, take pictures, post on insta.." but that can be difficult when your hair is acting a fool. In order to minimize non-photo ready hair days, I laid out some of my best tips for traveling with curly hair.
Last month I traveled to England, Italy, Greece, and Tanzania and lived out of a backpack, a carry on and a checked bag for a month (okay so clearly I'm not a minimalist, but I tried). I did however, try to keep my beauty and hair items to a minimum and kept most of them in my carry on just in case my checked bag was ever lost. It can be overwheliming to know what is essential and what is excessive while traveling internationally and to multiple countries, but don't worry we got your (hair) and back.
10. Look at Airport Security Restictions Ahead of Time
TSA is no joke. And depending on the country you are traveling to, the size requirements for liquids and baggage size changes. I found out this the hard way the first time I traveled to Europe.
A moment of silence for the sample beauty and hair items I lost in January 2018.
Okay back to regularly scheduled programming. CHECK THE AIRPORT WEBSITE. Just do it. Your countries airport rules will not necesarily apply everywhere, even if they are similar. In Europe you are only allowed ONE clear, re-sealable plastic bag of not more than one litre capacity per passenger. I like using the pink clear bags from Glossier (as shown above). "These liquids must be in individual containers with a maximum capacity of 100 millilitres each." For me this meant bringing my travel size face wash, facial serum and moisturizer and my 3 of my most esseintial hair products all 3oz and less. My clear plasitc bag fit about 7 travel size products, with a little room. Most airports have plastic bags available for free at the security checkpoint.
9. Pack your holy grails in your carry on
If you're like me and the idea of living out of a back pack or carry-on luggage for an entire month is simply not happening, make sure you pack wisely. Meaning, your holy grail leave-in creme, conditioner, and comb or whatever detangling instrument you prefer to use are never far from sight. This is something I didn't think about the first time I ever traveled, but I made certain to do this time around. Long flights, Jet Lag, Delayed flights, long layovers, or any of the other various complications of traveling often lead to a change in your routine that can affect both your skin, hair and mood.
Keeping all of your favorite items with you while at the airport can save you from one hell of a weird hair day and unfortunate breakouts.
I always kept a wide tooth comb in my back pack along with a curl refreshing spray, my purple toning shampoo, a leave-in conditioner, bobby pins, and my olaplex that I switched into a travel size container.
8. This is not the time for experimenting.
Did your friend just offer up some of their old travel-size hair items to you for your trip? While that is super sweet of them, unless you have tried that product before and liked your results, you better leave that gift at home. Same goes for any random travel size products you may have laying around your bathroom. I love saving money as much as the next person, espeically while traveling, but this is not the time for experiementing. Either try the product prior to your trip or better yet, stick to what you know. If your favorite products don't come in travel size options, you can run by your local drugstore and grab empty travel size bottles or order them on Amazon. There are plenty of affordable options and they can be re-used for your next trip!
7. Dust your ends/touch up color before your trip
While I wouldn't reccommend getting a full trim before going on vacation, dusting your ends and in my case bangs is a great way to prep before traveling. If your ends are healthy detangling, styling, washing, basically all hair maitenanace will be easier on your trip. For everyone that colors their hair, a root touch up a few weeks before your trip is also a pro-tip, but not absolutely neccessary.
6. Bring a Deep Conditioning or Protein Treatment
Depending on the climate you are entering into your hair may require extra moisture or protein. *Don't know if your hair needs protein? Check out this article. My hair generally needs both after a coulple weeks of traveling, which is why I always bring olaplex with me when I travel. I also brought 2 bottles of Oiudad Curl Immersion Triple Treat Deep Conditioner in the travel sizes. This is my favorite deep condioner, and I tried to use it weekly whenever I had some down time at my hotel so I could leave it in for at least an hour. My hair always detangles so easily after using it and feels healthy and moisturized.
5. Travel Scarf/Pillow
I had one flight that was 14 hours long. On flights as long as these I always try to sleep as long as possible, but that can cause problems for natural hair. While you could put your hair up in a bun, that is often uncomfortable on flights, especially when you want to sleep as much as possibe. I like to use my Aquis hair towel as shown in the photo or my silk hair wrap from Ruby Sampson that you can purchase from the NC shop as a pillow. The best thing about bringing this wrap in my carry-on is it can be used for beautiful wrap styles as well.
4. Test Products that Maximize time until your next Wash Day
My holy grail product as a bleached blonde is olaplex, however it is not the kind of product that can help my wash-n-go last all week. Skimdo on the other hand can. While traveling you hair needs change, and if you are changing hotels or air-bnbs often, it can be difficult to make time for a full wash day. Due to this I made sure to test out some of my favorite products to see which held my curls the longest number of days. My winner was Skimdo curl creme.
3. Ask Locals about their Favorite Products
By the time I got to Greece I had already ran through half my supply of hair products, so while I was walking through the local markets I began to keep my eye out for hair care. Multiple stores had a brand called "Venus' Secrets" that was made with argan oil and donkey milk! My curiosity outweighed my apprehension and after talking to the sales associate I bought a deep conditioner and a regular conditioner to take home with me. Turns out my curls love donkey milk. Who woulda thought!
2. In-Flight Hair Treatment
Sometimes you dont have time to finish your hair before your flight, especially if you stay on cpt like me. Twist-outs, braids, and bantu knots are great styles to wear in your hair while flying. Just make sure to wrap your hair tight while on the plane so you dont wake up with any funky imprints after sleeping. I prefer two french-braids, because I can do that quickly in the airport bathroom with just a comb and a curl creme, and since they are on the sides of my head they don't get messed up when I fall asleep. In-flight treatments will have you walking off the plane looking brand new and not like you've only eaten pretzels, peanuts and chewing gum in the last 12 hours.
1. Let Your Frizz Thrive
Frizz is inevitbale, especially if you plan to travel in the summer or to hot and humid places. Instead of trying to prevent it, lean into it. Solange, Yara, and Zendaya have all rocked "frizzy hair" to events and even on covers of magizines. There will be days where your hair is just not cooperating, but as the now dead Mr. West once wisely stated "how you gon be mad on vacation?" Rock your best outfit to give yourself a boost of confidence if needed and enjoy the city regardless of how your hair looks. I promise you are probably the only one thinking about it.