Travel Hair Care: 5 Essential Tips To Maintain Your Hair On-The-Go

Whether it’s a weekend trip to a different city or an adventure to another country, traveling is good for the mind, body, and soul. It’s a great reminder of the important things in life. When you’re old and gray and look back at all you’ve done, it’s more likely that you’ll remember your experiences and the memories created rather than the things you owned.

One way to preserve those memories is by taking lots of photographs. However, your Santorini pics show just how flat and lifeless your hair was. Your trip to Dubai is forever immortalized by photos of the Burj Khalifa, the undulating dunes, and images showing your frizzy hair looking like a bird’s nest.

Read on to find out why your tresses may appear to rebel against your efforts to make them look good while on vacation.

Why Your Hair Changes When You Travel

It’s hard to predict how your hair will react when you travel. One trip may have you sporting soft waves à la Gisele Bündchen, while your holiday hair on the next trip is reminiscent of Natasha Lyonne’s unruly hair.

Here are five out of the different types of variables that may explain why your once-luscious locks look less than stellar when traveling away from home.

Photo credit: Stocksnap

1. Airplane air: The air inside an airplane cabin usually has a humidity level of less than 20%. This is considerably low compared to the recommended indoor humidity, which should ideally fall anywhere between 30% and 50%. The low humidity levels combined with high flying altitudes can cause your hair to become frizzy and dry.

2. Water: Depending on your destination, the water in your shower may be hard or soft. Hard water has plenty of minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium. Soft water, on the other hand, contains little to none. Hard water can make your hair coarse and frizzy, as well as leaving your scalp dry. Soft water can give your hair a greasy texture or make it appear limp.

3. Humidity: Humidity refers to moisture found in the air. This moisture reacts with the hydrogen bonds present in each hair strand. An increase in humidity can cause fine hair to go limp and straight hair to become wavy. Wavy hair gets curly, and curly hair can get frizzy or curlier. In low-humidity areas, hair can become dry and brittle and is prone to breakage.

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4. Sunlight: A little bit of sunshine is not only great for getting that sun-kissed glow, but it’s also beneficial for your hair. Did you know that the vitamin D found in sunlight helps with hair growth? However, too much of something is not always the best, and the same goes for overexposing your hair to the sun. UV rays can break down proteins in hair resulting in brittle and dry strands, split ends, hair breakage, or frizziness.

5. Pollution: Air pollutants like dust, soot, and smoke, settle on your tresses as well as your scalp. As they build up, they can cause damage and irritation like an itchy scalp, dry, brittle hair that breaks easily, or strands that look dull.

5 Hair Care Tips To Keep Your Hair Gorgeous While Traveling

Here’s a simple guide on how to keep your hair looking healthy while you’re away from home.

Photo credit: Picjumbo

1. Get a low-maintenance hair color before traveling

If your current hair color requires frequent visits to your stylist, consider getting a more low-maintenance look. Basically, it should be easy to keep up once you leave your home turf with the bonus of looking presentable as it grows out. Think balayage or shadow roots.

2. Travel with your products

Using the hotel shampoo and conditioner may leave your strands feeling dry and coarse because they’ve not been developed for your hair type. Carry mini-versions of your favorite hair products. If you can’t find them, dispense your products into travel-size containers to save space.

Apart from your regular shampoo and conditioner, you need some additional products in your travel hair arsenal. A dry shampoo helps to avoid that greasy look and helps you stretch the time between washes. Carry a lightweight moisturizing hair serum that is easily absorbed, adds shine, and helps to fight frizz. A couple of travel size deep conditioning masks can give your hair a much-needed shot of moisture.

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3. Double down on the updos

When you’re lugging around heavy luggage or trying to figure out public transport in a foreign place, having your hair loose can become quite a hassle. A messy bun or ponytail will do just fine, but how about making your hairstyle Pinterest-worthy? Head on over to YouTube and master some stylish yet travel-friendly styles like how to do a fishtail braid or a braided crown. These styles are a cute way to hide greasy hair, plus you’ll have waves and texture when you take them down.

4. Hair accessories are a must-have

When you don’t have the time or inspiration to style your hair, accessories can help you avoid bad hair days. Hair ties, scrunchies, and bobby pins can help perfect your updo. Thick headbands can get you through potentially dreadful hair days. Not only is a hat stylish, but it also helps to reduce UV damage to your hair. A silk scarf can be used as a headband or add a little extra to your top knot or messy bun. Packing a silk pillowcase is not only good for your skin, but it also helps to reduce incidences of hair breakage.

Photo credit: Kaboompics

5. Mini styling tools will keep your hair on point

Travel-size styling tools are ideal because they don’t take up too much space in your luggage. A compact blow dryer with a handle that folds away can give you a perfect blowout when you need it. A mini flat iron is great if you want your hair straight or with some added curls or waves.

Travel hack: If you are going on an overseas trip, the chances are high that you’ll need a universal travel adapter as plug shapes can vary from country to country. Invest in compact dual-voltage hair tools. Otherwise, when you plug your blow dryer into an outlet while traveling abroad, not only do you risk blowing a fuse, but you can also knock out the power for half the area.

Bonus Tip: Keep your hair moisturized before and during your flight

If your travels include long-haul flights, dry hair is a real possibility. Infuse your hair with extra moisture by using a deep conditioner at least 24 hours before your flight. On the morning of your departure, apply a small amount of a moisturizing leave-in conditioner to your hair. During your flight, protect your locks from drying out by wrapping them in a silk scarf.

Photo credit: Stocksnap

Bio: Emily Weber works with the popular Swiss hair extension brand, Rubin Extensions. She’s previously worked as a freelance writer in all things beauty, hair and fashion. In her downtime, she loves to travel, bake and the occasional pilates workout to balance it all out.