Traveling with curly hair: all the low-maintenance tips you need to look fabulous abroad.

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I at all times thought I had horrible hair. And I’m not simply fishing for compliments right here (ahem: the remark field is under. I’ll wait.) For my complete grownup life, my hair has simply been … not good: it’s half-heartedly curly and wavy on the identical time, tremendous frizzy and fly-away, inclined to separate ends and breakage, and very skinny. It tangles and breaks off if I a lot as take a look at it the unsuitable approach. And it has a endless thirst for blood moisture.

For sure, it was NOT enjoyable to journey with. Throughout my year-long honeymoon, I backpacked world wide with my hair shoved right into a messy bun, which I dreaded undoing as a result of I simply knew there could be terrible tangles and breakage to take care of. I didn’t have house in my journey backpack for conditioner, and I didn’t have a lot luck discovering any on my travels. I returned dwelling with a number of the worst hair of my life, and I used to be prepared to cut all of it off.

However then I heard about one thing referred to as the “Curly Lady Technique.” And whereas the total technique was extra concerned than I used to be actually ready to do, even attempting a half-a**ed lazy model of it truly modified my life. I imply, largely it modified my hair, however it modified it a lot that it spilled over into different elements of my life, too. The arrogance enhance was actual, y’all!

Instantly, I didn’t have wishy-washy frizzy hair anymore. It turned out that every one that frizz was truly simply thirsty curls ready to reside life to their fullest potential! And although my hair continues to be tremendous skinny – my ponytail is the width of a pencil when it’s completely straight – you’d by no means comprehend it to take a look at my hair when it’s curly. All you see is full, superb, bountiful curls! I felt like a brand new, assured, sassy, curly-haired particular person able to tackle the world.

Let me present y’all what I imply. Right here’s my earlier than hair, a wishy-washy high-quality mess with no actual texture that couldn’t resolve if it was wavy or curly – and this was on a good hair day:

Drinking watermelon juice in a swing in Nusa Lembongan, Bali.
My halfheartedly wavy hair not dwelling as much as its potential whereas the remainder of me was having an incredible time in Bali.

And right here’s my after hair, stuffed with luscious outlined curls that I actually by no means even knew I might have:

Lia in a face mask at the airport
The Curly Lady Technique turned me into the form of one who takes selfies on the airport – AFTER the flight. (Tip: pineapple your hair in the course of the flight for a quantity enhance!)

The factor is, dwelling your curly life to its fullest potential shouldn’t be the best factor to tug off, particularly whereas touring. It’s a bit labor-intensive, requires a number of area of interest objects, and customarily requires some planning forward. For me, what works greatest whereas touring is a really low-maintenance model of my at-home curly hair routine.

What do I imply by low upkeep? Nicely, when you’ve bought your curls locked in, you’re in luck: your hair will look wonderful for 5 entire days. Yeah, that’s proper: 5 straight days of excellent hair days in a row. (You possibly can nonetheless bathe if you need, although. I imply, I generally don’t. However you’ll be able to. I’ll clarify later!) That truly makes it price the additional effort on wash day. (As a result of I’m lazy.)

If it sounds just a little intimidating, don’t fear: I’ve figured all of it out. Over the previous few years, I’ve managed to take my curls the world over and discovered the best way to match my complete hair care routine right into a tiny bag that matches neatly into my carry-on bag! So whether or not you’re a curl professional already otherwise you’re simply beginning to coax your hair to fulfill its curly potential like me, right here’s every thing you’ll have to take your curls on the highway … or practice, airplane, bus, rickshaw, tuk-tuk, colectivo, moto-taxi, boat… actually anyplace, actually.

The Curly Lady Technique (whereas Touring)

Everybody has barely totally different variations of the unique “curly woman technique” – which was coined and first debuted in this book – and over time I’ve discovered what works greatest for me.

I’ve additionally discovered that the routine issues greater than the precise merchandise. My hair is okay and skinny, so so long as I’m not weighing it down with tremendous heavy product, something that may give it a number of moisture with out product buildup or silicones will work for me! I’m largely simply utilizing cheap merchandise – however they’re utilized very rigorously.

So, right here’s my routine in a nutshell:

Step 1: The “Reset” Wash

Every little thing begins with a “reset” bathe. If all goes nicely throughout this a part of the method, I received’t have to reset my hair once more for one more 4-5 days.

The caveat is that that is the excessive upkeep bit. Consider it as an funding: the payoff for spending a number of hours fiddling along with your curls is that your hair will look wonderful for the remainder of your journey with virtually no effort.

First, right here’s the step-by-step course of I take for laundry my hair.

  1. I begin by shampooing my roots with a delicate, sulfate-free shampoo. Not everybody truly wants shampoo – many curly women clear with conditioner solely – however I discover that an excessive amount of conditioner weighs my skinny, light-weight hair down! My present favorites are Shea Moisture and Maui Moisture.
  2. I situation all the way in which from my roots downwards with a light-weight, moisturizing conditioner. For me, it’s tremendous vital that my conditioner is light-weight as a result of my hair is tremendous light-weight.
  3. I situation my ends with a thick, heavy, moisturizing hair masks. That is the place my hair wants most of its moisture, so I glob on a LOT of thick, heavy conditioner – however ONLY on the ends of my hair, so it doesn’t crush my quantity. The deep conditioner I’m presently utilizing is that this Shea Moisture curl smoothie.
  4. I finger-comb my hair and clip it up for the remainder of my bathe. There are often a number of tangles to work out at this level, and as soon as I’ve kind of gotten these out of the way in which, I pile my hair on prime of my head and clip it as much as preserve it out of the way in which and let my conditioner soak in.
  5. I comb by my hair upside-town and wash out the conditioner. After I’m prepared to complete up, I run a wide-tooth comb by my hair whereas upside-down – this is essential! At this level, you need to be beginning to see “curl clumps” forming. Wash your hair out whereas nonetheless the other way up, taking particular care to preserve these curl clumps collectively!

Now that you simply’re finished showering, it’s on to the second half: product utility and drying!

  1. Whereas nonetheless the other way up, “scrunch” your hair to assist these curl clumps type. You’re mainly simply squeezing out some water, in order that if you begin making use of product, it received’t all combine with the surplus water and fall proper off! Take particular care to to it the other way up and gently, in order that your curl clumps get even curlier.
  2. Apply curl cream by “scrunching” the other way up. I don’t want to do that each time, however generally my hair wants just a little additional enhance, and I discover {that a} curl-forming cream actually helps! There are a great deal of totally different curl lotions on the market. I actually like this one for my high-quality hair as a result of it’s good and lightweight.
  3. Apply hair gel. That is by far, arms down, the MOST vital a part of my routine. Your gel is what’s going to preserve your curls going sturdy for the remainder of the week – it’s ESSENTIAL! There are two methods I like to use gel. First is similar scrunching movement I exploit to use cream. The second technique is named “prayer arms” – you’re mainly working your palms down the size of your hair, after which gently crunching once more to maintain these curl clumps curly! I exploit this extremely cheap, super nostalgic 90’s era gel as a result of it’s low cost, has an ideal maintain and improbable shine, and washes out totally in water so I by no means get product buildup. (Additionally, nostalgia.)
  4. Plop utilizing a micro-fiber hair towel. You need to plop your entire curls onto the highest of your hair and keep away from stretching them out. It’s tremendous simple to do utilizing my favourite microfiber hair towel! After which, it’s lastly time to flip right-side up.
  5. Air-dry or diffuse your hair. After letting your hair sit plopped in a towel for some time, you’ll be able to both take it down and let it air dry the remainder of the way in which, or in case you’re tight on time, use a blow-drier and diffuser to softly dry your hair whereas upside-down. When you’re diffusing, begin on the roots util they’re dry, after which gently cup your hair up into the diffuser and push all of it upwards in opposition to your head, so that you’re nonetheless preserving these curl clumps clumped!
  6. When your hair is totally dry, “scrunch out the crunch.” That gel you utilized to your hair can have was a rock-hard little solid. Suppose Justin Timberlake’s “Ramen Noodles” look within the 90’s. Whereas splendidly nostalgic, this isn’t the specified impact! You’ll want to interrupt up that gel solid to launch your bouncy, shiny curls. All you must do is scrunch your hair like loopy along with your arms. I like numerous quantity, so I’ll even fluff up my roots just a little bit to actually get that gel damaged up! As soon as your crunch is totally scrunched out, congratulations: you’ve gotten lovely, shiny (that’s the gel), bouncy curls.
Curly haired girl wearing glasses and bright red lipstick drinking beer in Salt Lake City.
Nothing pairs with curly hair like brilliant crimson lipstick (and beer).

Step 2: The Upkeep

My reset bathe takes numerous work. However fortunately, I solely should do it each 4-5 days. The remainder of the week, I simply do some upkeep to maintain my curls wanting good! Right here’s what I do:

  • Sleep along with your hair piled on prime of your head.

Sleeping along with your hair in a “pineapple” retains your curls above your pillow and protected against getting stretched, frizzed-out, and in any other case ruined whilst you sleep! I sometimes simply pile it on the very prime of my head with a tender scrunchy. Some people swear through the use of a buff or silk scarf, however I’ve by no means managed to determine that out.

  • Refresh your curls each few days.

Round day 3, my curls begin wanting just a little flat and fewer outlined, so it’s time for a refresh! There are 2 primary methods I prefer to refresh.

The primary is by having a shower with my hair piled up on prime of my head in a scrunchy. I don’t get my hair moist, however the steam from the bathe provides sufficient moisture to my hair to get all of it good and hyped up once more, so by the point I come out of the bathe, I’ve bought a number of quantity once more.

The second is a bit more concerned. You’ll want to combine just a little little bit of conditioner and gel into a sprig bottle and fill it up with water.

Flip your hair upside-down and spritz it throughout along with your refresh spray. Then, scrunch your hair (the identical approach you do within the bathe) to assist your damp hair re-form curls. The conditioner provides moisture, and the gel helps set the curls once more. You would possibly have to scrunch out the crunch just a little bit in a couple of minutes when you’ve dried!

In a pinch, even simply getting your arms moist, flipping your head over and scrunching your curls a number of occasions will assist add some quantity and definition. The bottom line is that curls CRAVE moisture, so any approach you may get moisture into them will assist your curls type!

And that’s it – that’ll preserve you wanting wonderful for one more 4-5 days!

Watching the sun rise in Chitwan National Park, Nepal.
Early morning curls whereas watching the solar rise in Chitwan National Park, Nepal.

Curly Hair Journey Necessities

There are a number of hair instruments that come together with me after I plan to rock curly hair. That is my full curly hair journey packing record, and whereas it could appear to be rather a lot, I’m in a position to shove all of this into a type of drawstring shoe-bags or a medium packing cube for tidy storage in my suitcase.

  • Travel blowdryer and travel diffuser: I truly sometimes air-dry my hair at dwelling, however time is a treasured commodity when touring and a blowdryer cuts dry time by roughly a zillion p.c! It’s additionally a vital instrument in a chilly vacation spot – no one needs frozen hair (even when it appears to be like actually cool). I exploit a really small, foldable blow dryer with a collapsible curl diffuser that take up a small quantity of house in my bag. Simply don’t overlook to deliver alongside a plug adapter/converter in case you’ll be touring overseas!
  • Microfiber hair towel: Together with a full sized travel towel (since lodge towels by no means, ever match me), I additionally deliver alongside a small microfiber hair towel to assist my hair dry sooner. I “plop” it whereas I’m getting dressed and prepared for the day after which blow-dry/diffuse it till it’s totally dry.
  • Scrunchies: I exploit scrunchies to pile my curls on prime of my head in a excessive ponytail in a single day. That approach I don’t knock out the curls in a single day and get a quantity enhance within the morning! Any previous scrunchie will work, however silk scrunchies are greatest for taming frizz and sliding out of tangle-prone hair, like mine.
  • Hair product: After all, you want tiny travel-sized bottles of your entire important hair merchandise! I deliver alongside my gel, curl defining cream, shampoo and conditioner decanted into little 1oz bottles. And I throw in a wide-tooth comb and a clip for the bathe, too. All of it suits in my zip-up hanging travel toiletry case.
On the beach in Maui, Hawaii.
Right here’s a tip: you want much less product in sizzling, humid environments, like a tropical seashore. On seashore holidays, I can often get away with simply moisturizing my sea salt-coated hair and embracing the waves!

Journey Ideas for Curly Hair

Put all of your haircare merchandise into tiny, travel-friendly bottles.

We’re carry-on-only varieties, so all of our favourite merchandise (sure, Jeremy and I each use the very same hair merchandise) get decanted into little tiny bottles that neatly slot in our hanging toiletry bag.

Convey additional conditioner!

Don’t depend on the lodge’s free bottles, or discovering appropriate hair merchandise wherever you’re touring. You received’t, and in case you do use some random lodge conditioner, you would possibly find yourself making your hair worse – they’re often loaded with silicones!

When you discover a shampoo and conditioner combo that works in your hair, deliver as a lot of it with you as you’ll be able to – particularly conditioner, which you’ll be utilizing a LOT greater than shampoo. I’ve a number of mini containers of my conditioner packed into my journey toiletries case, so I by no means run out!

Use a t-shirt to plop in case you don’t have a micro-fiber towel.

I at all times deliver alongside a microfiber hair towel to “plop” my hair in, however in case you overlook yours or don’t have one, you’ll be able to simply sub out a t-shirt, or any easy merchandise of clothes. It’s just a little tougher to wrap round your head, however I discover that long-sleeved shirts work greatest.

What you completely ought to NOT do EVER, is resort to an everyday previous terrycloth towel, even for plopping. These little loops of thread on the floor of the towel really feel nice in your pores and skin, however they’re terrible in your hair! They trigger frizz, disrupt your curl sample, suck up extra moisture than you need, and customarily wreck curl day.

By no means use an everyday towel in your hair! Any tender, easy shirt or merchandise of clothes is an enchancment. (Simply be certain to pack a travel clothesline so you’ll be able to cling your shirt as much as dry after your bathe.)

Curvy girl in a bikini printed with monstera leaves, turned away with one arm raised in a peace sign facing a beach with palm trees and water in the background.
Rocking curls and one in all my favourite curvy-girl swimsuits in Maui, Hawaii.

Plan out your “wash days” strategically to suit into your itinerary.

Wash days are a complete factor. It takes my hair like, 5 hours to air-dry sufficient to the purpose the place I can “scrunch out the crunch.” And I don’t often have 5 hours after I’m touring! Which is why I at all times pack a journey blowdrier and diffuser, however even that may take up 45 treasured minutes that I might spend out having adventures.

So, I plan my wash days strategically. I bathe and reset my hair on journey days, equivalent to after I’ll be on a protracted flight or practice experience. I don’t care if I look cute throughout these days, and it provides my hair loads of time to completely set into the curls it’ll keep in till my subsequent reset day.

Then, for the following 4-5 days, I exploit varied tips to maintain my curls wanting good, together with sleeping with my hair in a “pineapple,” sporting my hair in a super-high ponytail whereas I bathe to absorb moisture & quantity with out truly getting moist, and spritzing my hair with a refresh concoction of water, gel, and conditioner.

Water can have a really totally different impact in your hair whereas touring than you’re used to.

Onerous water” because it’s referred to as, shouldn’t be truly ice (complicated, I do know) however water that accommodates hint parts of chemical substances and minerals. That isn’t essentially a nasty factor, however it will probably have a detrimental impact in your hair referred to as buildup – simply the identical as what causes staining in your tub or tiled lavatory flooring. And plenty of accommodations, hostels and trip leases have onerous water!

To clean away that icky buildup and preserve it from damaging your hair, both deliver a small quantity of clarifying rinse or shampoo, or – my choice – deliver a small bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar with you! Distill the Apple Cider Vinegar with water and rinse your hair with it. As a plus, watered down ACV can also be my favourite treatment for a nasty sunburn!

Convey a pair of tiny, foldable scissors.

That is only a normal journey tip – scissors are tremendous useful to have available. However in terms of hair, scissors will be actually useful. We’ve used ours to trim cut up ends, reduce bangs, trim beards, tidy up down there, and – in case you’re up for it – give haircuts! This is the pair we introduced with us on our year-long honeymoon, which has include us in our suitcase ever since.

  • Haircare Journey Tip: ONLY use these scissors on hair –  by no means on paper or anything! You would probably harm the blade which might in flip harm your hair.
Jeremy exploring the Palace Market in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Bonus photograph of my good-looking husband and his lil entrance curls! He swears by the Curly Lady Technique, too. Besides his is 50x simpler as a result of his hair air dries in about 5 seconds.

Take particular care with the ends of your hair.

(Rhyme intentional.) The ends of your hair are essentially the most liable to breakage and splitting, which results in tangles and frizz – two issues I’m regretfully nicely versed in. I take a tiny tub of split end balm.  I put it on my ends after showers, each time they’re feeling dry, or simply after I have to tame issues down and easy issues out. I brush by with my boar bristle brush to unfold the oils by my hair evenly.

In a pinch, Coconut Oil and Olive Oil are improbable for hair. 

Slightly tub of coconut oil or argan oil goes a great distance. Whereas it’s not nice for facial pores and skin, coconut oil is ideal for hair, arms and toes, and dry lips.  

And each argan oil and olive oil are all-around magnificence powerhouses! I deliver Argan Oil on journeys to make use of for each my face and hair … however I’ve additionally been identified to benefit from shared olive oil bottles in hostel kitchens, too.

Slightly little bit of oil goes a great distance: put a dime-sized drop in your arms and easy by your hair beginning along with your ends.

When all else fails, simply get your hair moist and begin over.

The magic of curly hair is that each time you get your hair moist or add moisture, you’ve gotten a possibility to reset your curls – even in case you’re not doing a complete “reset” wash day.

You possibly can spray water into your hair, put it up right into a ponytail whilst you bathe your physique, or simply get your arms moist within the sink and scrunch your hair to reset your curl sample.

I’ll usually do that with a very annoying curl up entrance that will get simply frizzed out – you’ll be able to actually re-curl a bit of hair along with your finger and let it dry into a complete good lil’ corkscrew.

And now, my fellow curlies, go forth and look fabulous!


What questions do you’ve gotten about touring with curly hair? Drop me a remark under!

Psst: In search of extra suggestions for feeling and looking improbable whereas touring? Check out a few of these different posts:

xo Lia & Jeremy signature graphic

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