Do you ever wish you could go travelling without ending up with a knotted mop on your head?
Do you dream of being one of those travellers who always has smooth, tangle-free hair even after summer days at the beach?
We want the tousled waves and sun-kissed highlights that come with summer but is it worth having at the expense of our hair?
When I was working as a hairdresser I remember dreading the New Year's clients who decided they wouldn't brush their hair for the entire month of December. Being in the southern hemisphere, this meant they spent the month going to and from the beach without brushing it much or putting treatments in to counteract the salt damage.
Sure, their hair looked fabulous and had all this extra body, but the body was due to the big knots hiding in there and the tousled waves were thanks to all the salt. It was almost impossible to brush out.
*** Just as a little side note . . . if you never want to annoy your hairdresser, for the love of things that make good hair, please, please brush these dreadlocks out before you see them. We do have favourites and if you do this you'll quickly become one of them. ***
While I can't promise these tips will transform your hair overnight, they will have a pretty impressive effect on your hair if you stick to them, especially while on holidays.
1. Coat your hair with oil/moisturiser before going into salt water
Pretty much any moisturiser will do - hair conditioner, coconut oil, olive oil, body moisturiser, leave in conditioner. However, I prefer to use something as natural as possible to avoid affecting the marine life.
Doing this will allow your hair to absorb the conditioner so it can't absorb the salt water which will dry it out. Then when you're done at the beach simply shampoo or rinse it out.
2. Don't use the free products
I don't mean to be a snob but generally with hair products cheap = nasty. I'm certain it's not like this in every accommodation, but I'm talking about the places us backpackers can afford (or the price we're willing to pay).
The problem with these products is you'll be doing more harm than good. You wouldn't wash your hair with dishwashing liquid or other harsh detergents so it's not worth relying on these freebies. Yes, it's a budget-friendly alternative, but your hair will suffer from it.
If you really have nothing else to wash your hair with and are desperate, use a little bit on the roots and don't lather the shampoo through your mids and ends. That'll at least prevent further knotting and damage in the most delicate parts.
3. Invest in at least ONE good product
I don't expect you to carry a range of salon grade goodies (I'm being realistic as a light traveller myself) but it's important to invest in at least one product that'll keep your hair strong and healthy.
For very fine hair at shoulder length or shorter, I'd say a good shampoo is more important (than, say, a conditioner or styling product). One that will strengthen your hair for some extra volume and which has light hydrating ingredients to keep your hair from knotting up too much.
For longer hair, or hair prone to tangling,
If you're ever unsure, ask your hairdresser to recommend the one product you'll benefit from the most next time you're in the salon.
6 Tips for Maintaining Healthy Hair While Travelling #travelling #backpacking
4. Don't go longer than a week without brushing your hair
Brushing doesn't seem like it's important to hair health but it can cause a lot of damage if forgotten about.
Tangled hair is more prone to breakage and if it gets really bad it causes more damage when you try to brush it out. It's important to brush your hair all the way through to the scalp to ensure all the little knots are gone (pay extra attention to the fine hair in the bottom back/nape section as this is where most people tend to forget about).
If you don't want your do going frizzy, use an afro comb/wide-toothed comb in the shower while you've got either conditioner or a hair mask in. Then rinse and dry as usual.
5. Protect your hair from the sun
Just as you would with your skin, you need to protect your hair from the sun so it doesn't overheat and burn. Yep, that is possible.
A hat or headscarf is my number one recommendation because it creates that barrier between your hair and the sun. If you don't like either of those suggestions I'd recommend getting a UV protection spray from a trusted brand.
6. If all else fails, don't be afraid to cut it
If your hair is becoming a nightmare, it's not going to get any better if you just ignore it. I totally understand the fears of getting a really bad haircut,
If this is the case, ask someone at your accommodation's reception if they can recommend a stylist who is good with foreign hair. Please don't assume all hairdressers around the world have had experience with all hair types! If they recommend someone, ask them to write down what you want in their language so you can show your stylist.
Another option is to ask around at hostels. Quite often you may run into travelling hairdressers who take their scissors with them. You will likely be able to understand each other better and the chances of getting what you want are a lot higher.
Image source: StockSnap.io
How do you keep up with your hair routine when you travel? Do you manage to keep in in good health? What's the product you can't travel without?