It’s the second half of summer’17 and in the spirit of vacation season, some of you may have experienced the cumbersome planning process when it comes to packing as a natural. Weeks before a trip I am usually thinking about how I will style my hair while I’m away. Based on the styles I plan, I can pack accordingly. While I have a tendency to overpack, I never want to cut corners when it comes to planning for my haircare regimen. However, it is totally possible to pack a thorough natural hair travel kit that doesn’t involve taking your entire bathroom arsenal of hair products. Here’s how to do it:
These are the main product areas I make sure to have when I am traveling and plan to wear my fro out at some time. Depending on the length of stay, the size of the products I take may vary. If I am only going to be gone for about a week, like with my trip to Cabo, I go to Walgreens and purchase tiny 3oz empty bottles that are TSA approved. I then put product into those bottles and double bag them using a ziplock bag or plastic bag. Short trips don’t require a separate hair product haul, just take what you’ve been using and put them into tiny bottles and you should be set!
Longer Stay = More Flexibility
You have more flexibility if you are checking in a luggage and with that comes the opportunity to add to your list of necessities. I could go a little while without Shea butter for a few days or even a week, but thinking about an entire 4 months without Shea butter would be hard to fathom. Now that I use it for more than just my hair, I would definitely crave moisturizing my body after a long warm shower. Furthermore, I can get by with using water and a leave-in conditioner for a braid or twist out, but an amazing curl enhancing product takes things to the next level. This comes in handy if I know I’m about to have a cute day and want to take some flawless pictures. As of now, Taliah Waajid’s Curly Curl Cream and Shea Moistures’ Coconut and Hibiscus Curling Cream are my top two favorites. With that, Shea butter and a curl definer are added to the list of necessities.
- Curl Definer
Stock Up on Your Faves
For longer trips, think of products that would be hard to find overseas or whoever you’er going. For example, when packing to study abroad for a semester in Italy, I knew I probably wouldn’t come across my favorite Cantu Leave- In Conditioner. There aren’t sections in the store isles dedicated to natural hair in Europe. It took months to scout out where I could find ethnic stores in Milan and if I was headed to a city with more black people, like London or Amsterdam, going to the hair store was always apart of my itinerary.
After 2 months I finally found a hair store in Milan, after joining the right Facebook groups and getting solid directions on where to find the store. The brands were quite limiting and a simple bottle of leave-in conditioner would cost to the equivalent of $15 USD and for smaller size than I would normally get. At this point my Cantu leave-in was almost gone but I refused to pay twice as much for half. I had to use other brands I wasn’t quite familiar with and didn’t like as much. In an attempt to pack modestly, I only brought one jar of leave-in knowing dang well I use about 2 every two months. My advice here would be to PACK YOUR FAVES IN BULK. You will thank yourself later.
Another product that’s hard to come by is a sulfate-free shampoo. Even when I finally found the hair store in Milan, and the one in Rome, the shampoos had sulfates and other ingredients I normally avoided. Again, I had only brought one bottle and definitely wished I had brought more. But have no fear, there’s always DIY cleansing methods and ACV became my best friend.
- Shea butter melts even if its in your checked luggage or carry on. Avoid wasting your product by bagging your butter.
- Tape the lid shut for you bottles and creamy products or IT WILL LEAK!
- Even after taping, things can get rough when transporting. Put your bottles in bags to avoid loosing precious ounces of your products
- If you do end up buying products from the markets or grocery stores, make sure you use Google translate app to translate the ingredients to make sure you’re not buying a product with harmful chemicals or ingredients
With that, I hope preparing for your natural hair while traveling is a little easier and you can focus more on the trip itself! In short, think of what you can’t live without and the basic necessities for your hair to be happy and healthy.