This post was updated April 1, 2018.
Calling all curly girls!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had to figure out HOW to keep my curls curly while traveling because it’s a very disappointing experience when you take off with fun, happy curls and then land with flat, dry and non-existent curls.
So, what can a curly girl do?
Coconut oil has become my saviour! Not just for keeping my skin hydrated, or using it as sunscreen, I started using it in my hair, as the only product, and I have had wonderful results! Also, it is GOOD for your hair. There are many articles out there that talk about the benefits, Google away if you’re interested!
The key, however, is not to over saturate the hair, because if you do, the back of your neck will be rather slick your entire flight. And your clothes might be stained too. And I don’t just use this for flying; I use it every day too!
A few caveats to note:
- Using Coconut Oil in your hair makes the grey/white hairs stand out. I’ve discovered I’d rather have beautiful, shiny curls intact than worry about my age showing itself.
- People might not like the smell.
- After a few days, you need to do a thorough washing.
The goal is to find a very high-quality liquid and not the kind that you have to warm up in your hands first. I am currently using Nuco Liquid Premium Coconut Oil. Sure, it’s for cooking, but so far, my hair loves it. You can find it at Whole Foods, or you can buy it here.
Now some of you might be wondering, how much do I use? Well, I have type “3B” curly hair. (According to naturallycurly.com and similar sites.) For daily use, I usually pour about a quarter-size to cover the palm of my hand, rub my hands together and then spread through my hair. And then I do this again, and only saturate the ends, “scrunching” from the ends up to the root. For plane travel, I apply in sections, making sure the hair is covered root to end, and then apply again specifically to just the ends. I also use a microfiber towel to soak/scrunch up excess, and I leave it draped across my shoulders to prevent staining my clothes while I’m getting ready. I have used this method for 18.5 hours of flying time (on three different planes), and my curls were still happy (not dry, not flat) when I got to my destination. Amen.
Another great product using Coconut Oil that I just discovered on my last trip is Desert Essence’s Coconut Soft Curls Hair Cream. I was flying from Honolulu, HI to FL and I used about a quarter of the bottle as a leave-in conditioner/styling product and only put coconut oil on my ends. My hair still looked FAB when I got to FL, and it was shiny and soft!
Microfiber towels are also great for curly hair. Fluffy terry towels can be too drying and if you wrap your hair in a towel turban, as I often do, it can break the hair. Check out this great alternative, and microfiber towels are easy to carry for travel! (Just make sure Housekeeping doesn’t mistake it for one of their towels!)
You might be wondering, what about a hairdryer? I prefer to air dry whenever possible to maintain the overall health of my hair. When flying, however, it’s important to dry your hair before getting on the plane. Why? Because you want to avoid the dreaded “flat spot” that will be created from where you rest your head on the seat. And I always use a diffuser. If I am traveling to a cold destination, then I usually bring a collapsible travel diffuser. It doesn’t always fit on the provided hotel hair dryer, and if that’s the case I just hold it against the dryer and do the best I can.
I’ve used several other curly hair products for years, and I still take them with me, depending on the climate, because I can’t always carry coconut oil or find it at my destination.
These products are:
- Ouidad Climate Control Heat & Humidity Gel
- Ouidad Moisture Lock Define Shine & Curl Styling Gel-Cream
- Devacurl Ultra Defining Gel
- It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product (If you are a Rewards member at Ulta Beauty, they often give this as a freebie in a trial/travel size for certain purchases. I buy the bigger size and fill the trial size for travel.)
- Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream
High-five curly girls, we can do this! 🙂
2018 Update: As many of you know, I cut my curly locks last year and have way less to manage, in terms of daily maintenance and travel care. However, all the products I listed above are still valid. The only one I’d remove is the cooking coconut oil, for safety reasons, lol. With the pixie cut, depending on how short it is, I’ve alternated between Ouidad’s Clear Control Pomade, Curl Quencher Moisturizing Styling Gel and Innersense Harmonic Healing Oil.
Do you have tips for traveling with curly hair? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!