Caring for your curly locks when traveling can be a challenge. Don’t take the easy road by always putting your locks up in a bun or hiding them under a baseball cap. As curly curls girls, we must learn to tame them so that we can rock our hair proudly, especially when traveling. Here are some quick and easy tips for curly haired travel girls from a fellow curly haired globetrotting latina for all of you who can relate.
First, some background on me. As a Latina traveler and digital nomad with very curly hair (I must emphasize the word “very”), oftentimes people can’t understand the struggle that it takes sometimes to manage and maintain curly hair, especially while traveling abroad. Many times people don’t understand my hair, including hair stylists. Regardless if your locks are looser, or tight like mine, I’m sure that you have a method to manage your hair while at home, but it’s quite different when you’re traveling since you can’t bring your whole home with you, as much as you try. These easy and quick tips for how to care for your curly hair on the go will hopefully make your vacation that much more enjoyable with one less worry.
First is a simple tip and an essential: Bring a wide tooth comb, which is the easiest and quickest way to detangle your hair. Sometimes those are hard to find while you are traveling in certain countries. So, it’s definitely a basic essential.
Water in different countries impacts your hair differently as well. E.G. It might dry your hair out. Also, too much sun will have the same impact. Deep conditioning and keeping your hair moisturized is a must. It’s important to use the right products (such as an intense mask or deep treatment). Try to find some travel size ones or just simply buy smaller tsa safe containers to fill with your products. It’s good to have products you love and enjoy using with you. Many times finding a good product, or a specific brand, is harder, especially when you can’t read a foreign language and you are not familiar with their brands. Why take the risk?
Coconut oil – I can’t even mention how helpful coconut oil is. A total life saver. You can use it as a shine enhancer, to moisture your hair, to style it, to detangle it, for frizz control, deep conditioning and much more. I also use it for my skin. It works wonders! Tip: If you are only traveling with a carry-on, freeze it and you can bring a bigger amount with you, especially for longer travels. TSA won’t give you any problems because it’s not a liquid.
Microfiber towels are better for drying (faster) and managing (we don’t want to be looking crazy). Hint: If you don’t have one, just bring an old cotton t-shirt which helps you eliminates the frizz as your hair dries.
A spray bottle will help you to refresh your hair, while lounging around the hotel and/or traveling. You can fill it with water and even add some conditioner to it in order to keep your hair hydrated.
Always carry bobby pins, hair ties and clips with you at all times. Especially important for bad hair days or moments. I suggest that you check out tutorials on YouTube to learn how to do quick and easy hairstyles, such as buns, pony tails and braids. Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate so we do need that bun or hat in a pinch.
Always protect your hair from the sun and in the pool from the chlorine. The sun and chlorine really does damage your curls. Invest in a good swimming cap. You will see a world of difference in curl maintenance!
Get the right hair cut and process BEFORE traveling abroad. Timing is key. It’s better to have things done with a person you trust and also to have your hair ready to rock and roll. If you are traveling for extensive periods of time (like me as a digital nomad), do your homework before visiting a new salon. Ask first if there’s someone who deals with curly hair or just simply do what I do: Find people whom you know understand your curly hair such as ethnic neighborhood salons. E.G. Latin salons, Turkish, African, etc., they know the proper way to cut or blow out curly hair.
Just let your beautiful hair out and free. Curly hair needs to breathe. You can’t always tame it. I find that many times that’s when it looks it’s best – when you let it air dry naturally (after applying just the right amount of moisturizing product).
Purchase a universal diffuser (for hair dryers) which easily fits in your carry-on luggage. It will save you time when you want to dry your hair quickly but also safely.
Scarves are the best accessories! Not only are they used to enhance your outfits but also for your hair. You can use it to make a statement with your updo; cover your head or bun with one and heads will turn in admiration.
A satin pillow case or bonet to sleep in will preserve your curls.
Plan your hair around your outfits, itinerary and the weather (when possible). We all have outfits that only look good with certain hairstyles (updo or loose) so I usually like to have an idea of where I’m going. If it’s a humid, I’ll style my hair accordingly. This way I can plan in advance on how to control my hair. It’s easier to know what I need to bring without worrying about over-packing.