Sometimes I admit that I have a fraught relationship with my hair. To be fair, I have a lot of hair on my head, which has been the case most of my life. I have also been natural for all of my life, although I spent over 20 years wearing my hair straightened by hot comb, and later flat iron. The amount of maintenance that it takes to deal with my now waist-length, tight curly hair is overwhelming. Going through my wash day process now requires at least two hours and a week of mental preparation, which is likely why I’m wearing a raggedy wash and go puff as I write this. And as much hair as I have, a large part of my travel preparations revolve around my hair and how to travel knowing that it can, and has, cause me to spend a lot of time in the mirror. This is how I generally go about tending to my head on my adventures.
Consider the logistics: By this I mean, actually thinking through where I am going, the climate, and what I might be doing. If I am going to be gone over four days, do I really want to have to maintain a loose hairstyle? Because I am not well versed in extension type hairstyles and usually do braids, twists, and faux locs myself, do I want to spend the six or more hours to install a protective style like that? I have a trip to Vegas coming up and I’m already thinking about how to style my hair because I want to go swimming if it is warm enough, but I was also thinking about installing yarn locs. This is a dilemma because when yarn gets wet it expands and holds water like a sponge. These are things to consider: What will the weather be like? What do I want to do on my trip? How long will I be gone? These things will help you to plan the kind of hairstyle to do.
Pack the proper products: Don’t be like me with a protective style and no products to maintain it, or worse a lose natural style. It is a pain in the ass. Fah’ Real. Especially in a country where they don’t have no parts of a natural hair product. The nice thing is that there are plenty of TSA regulation size natural hair products that you can purchase. Another option is to take products you have and put them into travel size bottles like this one.
Not forgetting your products may seem intuitive but, trust me, even with all of my packing preparation and lists I still forget my hair products from time to time. When I went on Yacht Week I worn yarn braids. While I chose it to be a low manipulation protective style, yarn braids expand when they get wet and can be heavy. I chose not to swim, more so because of my discomfort with swimming in open water, but I had nothing to moisturize my hair. Luckily my friend Lana had a leave in that she let me use.
Keep it simple: I think this is most important. Whatever you decide to do, make sure that it allows you to enjoy your trip. I have not participated in activities because of my hair. I have also taken too long because I’m trying to salvage or transition a style. Whatever you do, make sure that you can make the most of your time and be present where you are.
Until next time!