We live in an age of go-getters and jet-setters. So much so, that I can’t scroll through ten inches of my Instagram feed without seeing photos of airplane wings, #nofiltered beach sunsets, or any myriad of “perspective shots…” you know, where someone holds up a leaning tower, kisses an Egyptian sphinx or touches the top of the Eiffel Tower? We want faraway adventures, and we want them stat! I know I’m constantly scanning airline deal websites, trying to find last minute flights to exciting destinations. Because adventure is good, right? Even if it’s just a staycation, an hour up the road— it’s good to go out and explore. But you know what puts a huge damper on all these jet setting adventures? A bad hair day. And what makes that even worse? A series of bad hair days, all in a row.
Because here’s the thing about traveling to new places… you never know how your hair will react. Climates, temperatures, and just the travel process in general can play a nasty trick on your hair. Normally smooth, well-behaved hair can majorly freak out on vacation. Visiting a tropical beach location can cause your hair to double in size (heeeeey frizz!) with all that humid, damp air. Or a sandy desert vacation could leave your hair feeling baked and bone dry.
So, to follow the Boy Scout motto and “always be prepared,” here is a roundup of my favorite hair care TRAVEL ESSENTIALS. They all come in those (adorably!) small TSA-approved sizes. And they’re all a really great insurance policy that no matter what curveball bad vacation hair throws at you, you’ll be able to knock it outta the park! Consider bad hair days HANDLED.
Shampoo & Conditioner : Unless you’re staying at high end establishment, and the complimentary shampoo and conditioner the hotel offers are some you actually want to use, BRING YOUR OWN shampoo and conditioner. I’m of the opinion that shampoo and conditioner are the foundation of your style and your hair’s health. So to keep your hair feeling less homesick while you travel and more “normalized,” bring small bottles of your favorite shampoo and conditioner. I love bringing small portions of my favorite Purology shampoo and conditioner.
Leave-in Conditioner : A really killer leave-in treatment is like wearing a bulletproof vest in combat. It’s essential. It’s necessary. It keeps you (your hair) alive. Use a leave-in conditioner always, and ESPECIALLY on vacation to new and different climates. A good product will detangle hair, add moisture and shine, provide thermal protection & aid in split end mending. My favorite is It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-in Product.
Smoothing Cream : To be honest, my favorite smoothing cream is actually a gel. But it’s a coconut oil infused gel and it’s so ultra hydrating! I use this when my natural air-dried hair needs some control and structure— but I also don’t want it to feel “crunchy.” I also use this when I need to tame those annoying flyaways, or when I’m rocking a slicked back tight topknot. It’s an incredibly versatile product. My favorite is IGK’s Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel.
Finishing Oil : When our hair is in dry climates, it gets thirsty and needs some extra hydration. When our hair is in humid environments, blowing up with frizz, moisture will help to calm it by giving it some weight. A moisture-rich finishing oil is kind of a one-size-fits-all tool, when combatting hair issues. I use this on straight hair, curled hair, natural air-dried hair, ponytails and topknots. This product is my BFF and I take a small bottle with me everywhere. My favorite is Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil.
Dry Texture Spray : If you’re on the fence about whether you should bring a hairspray or a texture spray, lose the hairspray. Just chuck it right out the window, and save yourself some precious suitcase space. Because a dry texture spray always wins. A texture spray offers a similar “staying power” to that of hairspray, but in a breezier, less-stiff, infinitely cooler way. Texture sprays give your hair movement and flow, but also provides some shape to your style. If you want to look like a hot surfer babe, bring the texture spray with you. My favorite is IGK’s Beach Club Texture Spray.
Dry Shampoo : We’re all addicted to dry shampoo at this point, right? It was a gift from the hair gods— can I get and “AMEN?” We all love it and use it, so I feel silly even mentioning it one this list, because don't we all have a travel version in our car, gym bag and our office desk? No? Just me? It’s a given travel necessity. A good dry shampoo can give flat roots some UMPH. It can camouflage greasy roots that need a good wash (but you’re busy adventuring and don’t have time for boring things like shampooing). It makes hair smell delicious! Dry shampoo is magic fairy dust. My favorite (that smells like paradise) is Amika’s “Perk Up Dry Shampoo.
Anti-Frizz Sheets : These little sheets are game changers for gaining control over frizz and unwanted fluff! All you do is pack these in your purse and swipe them over that crazy frizz that accumulates over the day— then BOOM, it’s smoothed out. And one of the best parts about these is that they’re not a liquid! So it’s one less airplane size requirement you don’t have to worry about. I love these Ouai Anti-Frizz Hair Sheets.
Good hair days are 10,000% possible! You have all the tools now. Use the tools. And enjoy those wonderful vacations!
Happy travels, you jet-setter!
Article and Product Images by Amy Hutchens.