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The Natural’s Guide to Traveling Overseas: How to Style and What Products to Bring

Avatar • Apr 12, 2014

by Adeola of The Mane Captain

Traveling can be stressful, whether you’re doing it for business or pleasure, over long distances or short. For us naturals, the stress escalates as we contemplate which tools and products to bring along and what to leave behind to avoid fees for excess weight. Some of us might even have to worry about the effects of environmental changes on our hair and the cultural acceptance of our Afro hair in the host country. To make sure you and your hair have a great time while away, try these tips the next time you travel.

Revolution Square, Cuba

 

Before Your Trip:

Wash, condition, deep condition and perform all your elaborate hair rituals a night or two before your departure.

Put your hair in a style that will hold up for a few days.
Have a plan for the hairstyles you wear throughout the duration of your trip so that you’ll know the particular products and hair tools you’ll need to bring along
Research the climate of your destination. Is it dusty, hot, humid, cold, or rainy? If so, it’s best to keep your hair in a “well behaved style” such as twists and buns that are able to withstand extreme weather conditions.

 

Tools to Bring

Whether you’ll be spending your days at the beach, sight seeing, or attending business meetings, having these simple tools will allow you to change up your styles when needed.

Rat Tail Comb: for sectioning
Paddle Brush to smooth out a bun, afro puff or pinned hairstyles
Hair Clips: for Sectioning
Bobby Pins: for pin ups
Hair Ties: for buns and puffs
Hair Accessories: to spice up your hair
Spray Bottle: for daily spritz if the environment of your host country demands it
Satin Scarves: to smooth down those buns, puffs and pin up styles. Scarves can also protect your hair from extreme heat and dust
Hats: for the same purpose as the scarf, and to cover up unpredictable bad hair days which can arise in extreme weather conditions
Satin Bonnet: for night time
Travel size product containers: to keep your products in

These save space and weight

Products to Bring

Shampoo/Conditioner: for Impromptu wash, especially if you’ll be swimming or involved in extreme sporting activities that can dirty your hair
Leave-In Conditioner and Moisturizers: to restore moisture, especially after a long moisture-sucking flight.
Oils/Butters: to seal in moisture after an impromptu hair wash and for your nightly scalp massage
Styler: this is completely optional

During Transit

Avoid going to the airport with big hair so that you can avoid the “awkward hair pat down.” Bound styles like twists, cornrows and flat twists are also able to withstand shrinkage and frizz, and they’re easy to sleep in during long flights and car, train, or bus rides.

I wore an afro on the last day of my trip

During your trip

Avoid trying out new products and hairstyles which can be unpredictable and time consuming.
Be prepared for the extra attention, comments and remarks you will receive in your host country. Also be open to answer curious questions about the nature of your hair as the natural hair community is still growing, so the locals in your host country might be unfamiliar with it.
Be prepared to have your hair behave in ways you’ve never experienced before
Stick to low manipulation styles which will be accommodating to the climate of your host country and the activities you’ll be doing.
If you’re going on a business trip to a place where Afros aren’t common, conservative hairstyles such as a bun, roll tuck n pin, and twists are suitable alternatives.

How do you take care of your hair while travelling? 
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About Adeola @ The Mane Captain

A Toronto based natural hair blogger. Born & half raised in Nigeria, and now currently residing in Canada. To keep busy, I frequent my local library where I go to borrow non fiction books, particularly personal and spiritual development books. I also organize Toronto natural hair events, attend meetup groups and I'm working hard to be a polyglot.

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[…] The Natural’s Guide to Traveling Overseas: How to Style and What Products to Bring […]

Missc
Missc
6 years ago

Wow! I felt like I went on vacation just reading this! Very good article 🙂

Thetruthisoutthere
Thetruthisoutthere
6 years ago

Wow do I agree with these. My family went to Barbados last December and the KCCC/KCKT I loved so dearly turned to marmalade in my hair by nightfall — yuck! The sun and salt water did a number on my hair too. *Have respect for the humidity or aridity of the climate — it will wreak havoc on your hair and your traditional stylers may not work *Bring a hat and scarf to cover your shampooed and conditioned hair after swimming in the ocean — rinsing with beach water wasn’t enough for my hair and I ended up having to cut off… Read more »

Elle
Elle
6 years ago

1. thick-hair bobbies 2. natural hair cleanser 3. travel-size Lansinoh Lanolin, my new grease. “If you’re going on a business trip to a place where Afros aren’t common, conservative hairstyles such as a bun, roll tuck n pin, and twists will be suitable, rather than a full out twist out or afro which can be distracting.” I’ve lived in different countries devoid of dark people, so I completely understand the SENTIMENT behind ‘not being distracting’, but the path to change isn’t maintaining the status quo, fear of ridicule, or abiding by ‘rules’. It is wearing your natural hair in its… Read more »

coffeeandfingernails
6 years ago
Reply to  Elle

Something will always be too distracting about you”

Yes, this EXACTLY.

Adeola @ TheManeCaptain
Reply to  Elle

That’s very true anything about us can be distracting, however, not everyone is comfortable enough to handle the extra attention and having people pull on their hair without permission. I commend women who leave their hair out while travelling, as this is the only way people around the world can get used to our natural hair, instead of the straight weaves they’re used to seeing in the media. This is also why I didn’t recommended any PS which “hides” out hair.
http://www.themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

VJ
VJ
6 years ago

I don’t travel with my natural hair out. Like ever. Its always in some sort of protective style so I don.t have to worry about it. I just took a protective style out though so I will definitely be using some of these tips in the future!

Thanks for the article!

JENNID
JENNID
6 years ago

I love to see international travel tips for black women! As long as I have acess to some form of conditioner and an oil I ‘m set for travel. My hair style of choice would initially be twists to save time up frontbut would probably turn into a wash n go fro as my trip goes along. Depends on how long my trip is. Usually when I go out of town/ country hair isn’t at the top of priority list. I go with the flow. I don’t see the need to automatically keep it on lockdown because I’m going out… Read more »

Pseudonym
Pseudonym
6 years ago

My Hair Guide to Traveling Overseas: Don’t take hair products and pick up a conditioner while you’re there.  I tend to travel to hot places in the winter, so I just do wash-and-gos the entire time (which is how I wear my hair on the regular). I never take liquid toiletries when I travel b/c I’m always paranoid that they’re going to spill all over my clothes and I’ll be annoyed. Plus, I like to travel as lightly as possible.  My whole purpose of going natural was to free myself from feeling like a slave to my hair and being… Read more »

Paula
Paula
6 years ago

Freeze all your hair products and take em out the freezer right before you leave for the airport to get around that 3 oz rule

Cynthia W
Cynthia W
6 years ago
Reply to  Paula

What a CLEVER idea! But I wonder what you can do on the way back — particularly if you’re in a hotel room without a freezer. I guess this works better when you will be on a trip where you expect to use up the product?

Hannah
6 years ago

For Black girls that like backpacking/adventure trips, braids (small enough to be put into a bun/pony) is a really good style. I went to India and everyone was obsessed with my hair, they thought it was real and thought that I put the plaits in every morning!

Rosalie
6 years ago

I actually just traveled to another continent last night. I washed and conditioned then put my hair in flat twist for the flight. When I got here I took it out for a defined twisted out that will last a week hopefully. I brought a conditioner to cowash mid trip, a leave in to help refresh, hair tie and satin scarf. I love to wear my hair out. I don’t do much when I’m in NY so need for the hoopla when traveling.

MissDaniMac
MissDaniMac
6 years ago

Id love some advice,
Im actually going to Cuba next week and being that i’m going to be doing a lot of swimming both in the pool and in salt water I was wondering if I should where my hair out, so that its easier to wash, or if I should keep in the crotchet braids that I’m currently wearing. Also should I be washing with shampoo every day that i’m there (since Im going to be swimming daily), or will a co-wash suffice?

Adeola @ TheManeCaptain
Reply to  MissDaniMac

You can use braided extensions, which should hold up while you’re there. It’s also easier to wash braided hair than loose hair. I would also use a silicone based conditioner to give your hair the layer of protection and then shampoo wash and deep condition after swimming. Since you’ll be swimming everyday, I would just wait until I get home to do a proper clarifying wash. Have fun on your trip
http://www.themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

Pseudonym
Pseudonym
6 years ago
Reply to  MissDaniMac

I would just wear my hair out, but that’s how I travel either way. There are mixed and Afro Cubans, so you should be able to find a good conditioner when you get there and if you’re going to be swimming, there will prob also be lots of sweat and it’ll just feel cleaner to get it allllllll off. 

Have fun on your trip!

Deb
Deb
6 years ago

You and your hair are gorgeous! Love these tips. God bless..

CS
CS
6 years ago

Great article! I’ve done most of these tips while traveling. I love to travel light to speed through airports and avoid long customs lines. My tips for keeping everything down to a carry-on would be to look for solids whenever possible. Solid shampoo/conditioner/lotion (or cocoa/shea butter) and powdered toothpaste will allow you to make room for more liquid hair products. Also, oils are pretty easy to come by in a lot of places. If you don’t speak the local language use Google translate to find the word for “olive oil” or your favorite oil, write it down and take it… Read more »

LBell
LBell
6 years ago

I remember when the very mention of a black woman traveling abroad was immediately met with BUT WHAT ABOUT MY HAIR???? Heck, even today there are certain US states whose colleges black women won’t even consider because WHAT ABOUT MY HAIR???? It’s a wonderful feeling to know enough about your hair care such that you can go pretty much anywhere and enjoy yourself with only a little prep… I agree with everything in this article and a good portion of the advice in the comments. Hopefully you’ve spent enough time on your hair (via experimentation and a period of product… Read more »

Coco.plum
Coco.plum
6 years ago

Lol I learned the hard way about going to a different country with natural hair … didn’t take care of it like I usually did it broke off so bad I had a bald spot but it grew back and now I no what not to do.. great article !!!

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[…] The Natural’s Guide to Traveling Overseas – Black Girl with … http://bglh-marketplace.com/Pingback: The Natural’s Guide to Traveling Overseas: How to Style and What Products to Bring – Beauty Tips Around The World | Beauty Tips Around The World … I love to see international travel tips for black women! As long … […]

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