Majoring in Curls

Out of all the phobias in the world, the one that I couldn’t imagine having is a fear of flying. Yes, it’s much more expensive than taking a bus or driving (road trip!). But it's worth it if you’ve got the finances.

Now that the school year is getting back into full swing, students are all returning to universities, colleges, and studying abroad. I am one of the fortunate few studying abroad in England, so I have had the good luck to fly across the Atlantic recently. As much as I love the classy flight attendants, free drinks, and in-flight TV, I can’t stand the lack of hair control I have.

Air travel is hard on hair, no matter how you spin it. The air within planes is conditioned and circulated and also very dry. And as we all know, dry air equals frizz, pouf and ‘triangle hair.’ In the summer,when your hair inflates to three times it’s normal size, you are allowed to blame it on the humidity. The same situation applies to planes.

"Seat hair" -- much like "hat head" or "bed head" -- is also a huge issue for girls who love to leave their curls down. The fabric covering of the seats is not particularly complimentary to curly hair. Simply leaning back creates fiction and causes the hair cuticles to become ruffled. We won’t even begin to address the problems caused by sleeping on a plane.

But there are things you can do to protect your curls while flying. Drinking a lot of water isn't only beneficial to your hair. It also helps hydrate your skin.

The night before your flight, do a deep conditioning or hot oil treatment. It’ll reduce the frizz by locking in some extra moisture. For an added boost, heat the treatment with a hot, damp towel or heat cap for the recommended time. And for the most part, try to avoid treatments that list alcohol as one of the top five or so ingredients. Alcohol will cause your hair to frizz up because it dries curls.

Some curlies feel more comfortable traveling with their hair up so they don’t have to deal with the full head of hair getting in the way. It’s convenient and time-saving not to have to worry about it. A French twist or simple chignon is the classiest way to go.

Take a little shine serum or anti-frizz solution and rub it on your fingertips. Gather the hair loosely in a low ponytail and start twisting clockwise. As you’re twisting, bring the twist closer to your head so that the end of the twist is now at the top. You can secure it with whatever you want -- bobby pins, claw clips, hair sticks, glitter clips, etc. They all look fabulous. A scarf or headband also is a good traveling look, keeping your curls off your face in style.

Packing is a little difficult for some overly concerned curly girls. They’re under the impression that they need to pack all their special shampoos, conditioners, and 50-odd styling products. If you’re going abroad for while, pack the products you can't live without. Leave the rest at home. You can have some fun trying out foreign products. Your "Holy Grail" product might be awaiting you in some foreign destination.