Hair and all matters hair are very crucial when planning a trip. I am an advocate of the fact that hair should not hinder or affect your travel experience. My hair is all natural, meaning that it has never been chemically processed. That being the case, I have to consider hair care regiments that work for my African hair and myself. If it comes in contact with moisture whether gas, liquid or solid state, it will recoil and shrink. It also has the awesomeness of being malleable thus can be a free spirit afro in one minute, straight flowing in the next and even accept foreign materials like hair extensions for a different look. Since I tend to be an outdoor traveller and one who is very active in the “outdoor” space, I have to really consider “what look” to have. Below are some of the different looks I enjoy and the reasons why.
- Free Spirit Hair
This is when I allow my hair the liberty to be free, either by choice or chance when I travel. This option allows my mane to show off its natural curls, its true African texture as well as be itself. It also allows me the freedom to engage in hair gone wild sessions. I once applied red ochre on it, on a whim, when I visited Marsabit county in Kenya and specifically Loiyangalani area. While here, I was fascinated by the “red colour” the ladies had on their hair, which is a form of beauty that I could not resist the urge to be “beautified”. I could thereafter wash it off or stay with it for the duration I wanted.
This is one of my most common trends. I like it because I can easily style it differently, I can engage in sports easily and wash it after. This best happens when the sun is out, to allow the braids to dry adequately. It can be plaited in three braid strands or two braid twists. It is also a good option for trips that are not too short nor too long.
3. Cornrows with no hair extensions.
In Kenya, we call this form of doing hair as “making lines.” This is because the hair is plaited in several “lines.” I advocate for this when I know I am either travelling for a short period of time yet plan to engage in activities like swimming. This is due to the fact that I can easily wash my hair in this state and it can dry easily. It is also very easy to undo when I require to change hair dos on the road.
4. Cornrows with braid extensions
This look is also very easy to do as well as manage on the road. It also allows me the freedom to engage in outdoor sports like swimming while also looking chic enough to attend a function. They are best for durations that aren’t too long otherwise the “braid” will start wearing out.
Weaving is where a hair extension is sawn onto ones natural hair. The advantage of this is it allows one to be able to change styles easily while also offering the natural hair a protective cover especially in areas with harsh weather. Depending on the type, you can easily wash it, blowdry, flat iron and style it as desired. Major challenge is if you have on a very expensive one, you will tend to focus on not “damaging it” and thus curtail your experience from activities that could get it wet or dirty. It is preferable for trips that aren’t for too long.
This is a synthetic hair cap that can be worn and removed easily. It allows one the liberty to easily change hair dos depending on mood, activities and look desired in a few minutes. It is a great option for any travel but more so, long duration trips.
7. Head scarfs
This is a great way to change your look or even disguise “bad hair days”. One can easily style their look with this so I highly recommend carrying one.I have also used it as a head cover in some communities that advocate for women to cover their hair while in public. As a traveller, it is highly recommended to try and blend in where you can, instead of enhancing you standing out.
These are very important and more so in areas that are very hot. They help the hair to be protected from weather elements like the sun or rain as well as sometimes being accessories to your final fashion look.
9. Hair Etiquette:
I highly advise that you should take time to take care of your hair even though one is generally always on the road(my case). Ensure it is always clean even if it means you do it yourself. I have visited destinations and met hairdressers that knew nothing about working on African hair, so, be prepared to be your own hairdresser or stylist in some cases.Alternatively, have a hairdo done back home that will survive the duration of the trip.
10. Hair products:
I highly advocate for one to carry their own hair products as you may not easily find it in all destinations, unless it is an international brand. If it is a local brand or a regional brand, you will definitely have challenges when abroad and you may not know of a great substitute. If it is an international brand, you will be ok though sometimes the price may vary from your own country.
Hair is a part of your travel and thus, always ensure you choose what works best for you even if it includes shaving it off. However, they say that a woman’s hair is her crown, so treasure and treat it well. I know travel doesn’t always allow adequate time to pamper ones hair, however, a little Tender, Love and care goes a long way.