Location and Last Name have been omitted for privacy
Being deployed and headed to a new place, I had very little idea of exactly how different the climate would be from my home town. When we arrived at base, it was 29 degrees outside and in the middle of the rainy season. It rains about every other day and the rain comes in one of two ways, either a light constant drizzle or a torrential downpour. In the summer, the temperature rises to about 130 degrees, and the wind feels like a blow dryer in your face on the hottest setting.
Having natural hair, I figured I would research the methods of the people who currently lived here to see how they took care of their hair. I Googled the “Indian Oiling Method” and proceeded to collect mass quantities of avocado, coconut, jojoba, tea tree, and Amla oil. While this method didn’t exactly work for me, I found a really strong routine that has helped keep my curls moisturized and protected. I also packed a ton of raw Shea butter, salon-size bottles of shampoo and conditioner, a handful of my go to moisturizers and products, and an empty spray bottle.
Between making sure my hair was constantly moisturized, utilizing protective styles, and also making sure my routine was quick, I think I found a good system that works for my hair while being deployed!
Throughout my time being deployed, I quickly learned not to rely on buns for my hair, but instead with either cornrows or 2-strand twists. There is power in numbers and my hair felt noticeably better when it was clumped together.
Secondly, I would sweat just from standing still, so I washed my hair super often. In order to combat dryness from the increased wash days, I would use bottled water in my spray bottle, which I would use to spray my hair twice a day.
In the morning, I followed up with Cantu Shea Butter Leave In Conditioning Repair Cream then seal my strands with Tropic Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil depending on my daily activities.
For instance, if I knew I would be outside for most of the day or if it was the day before wash day, I would use a thicker oil and then use a lighter oil (such as coconut oil) every other day. All products were also applied end to root, to protect my ends.
My wash-day routine consisted co-washing with Shea Moisture High Porosity Seal Co-wash every week, and every three weeks I would use EDEN BodyWorks Tea Tree Oil Shampoo and Tea Tree Oil Conditioner. After each shampoo use I would deep condition with TGIN Honey Miracle Hair Mask and follow with the LCO (liquid, cream, oil) method.
Before using shampoo, I would oil my hair the day before to try to protect it from losing too much moisture. I still managed to do a protein treatment every six weeks, just like back home, but because of time, I found a holy grail product in the Two Minute Intensive Keratin Reconstructor by ApHogee. You don’t get very much time in the shower, so my wash day routine had to be spot on and efficient. I currently wash my hair in twists/braids and then redo them afterwards. This method helps me to to ensure that every strand gets moisturized.
My biggest takeaways since I have been deployed have all been focused on moisture and protecting my hair. Here are my top 4 tips I learned for managing a different climate and keeping my curls in tact:
- Don’t skip wash days. It does get busy and you don’t have much time, but your hair and scalp will appreciate the consistent love.
- Protective styling is my best friend. Between flat twists and two strand twists, I have an entire routine down for styling my hair on the fly and locking in moisture.
- Unless you have a TWA, it’s not a good idea to leave your hair out. It will definitely dry out faster, so this is where the protective styles come into play.
- Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize! Especially during the summer months, and oh yeah, moisturize!
Thank you so much to our reader, Robyn F., for submitting this story to us!
Born in Jamaica and raised in Florida, Robyn is an active duty member of the United States Navy. She started blogging and vlogging her curly hair journey after being deployed overseas and needing to find a way to take care of her hair. She has a passion for creating art through various mediums, with writing being one.