The Natural’s Guide to Traveling Overseas: How to Style and What Products to Bring

by Adeola of The Mane Captain

Traveling can be stressful, whether you’re doing it for business or pleasure, over long distances or short. For us naturals, the stress escalates as we contemplate which tools and products to bring along and what to leave behind to avoid fees for excess weight. Some of us might even have to worry about the effects of environmental changes on our hair and the cultural acceptance of our Afro hair in the host country. To make sure you and your hair have a great time while away, try these tips the next time you travel.
Revolution Square, Cuba

Before Your Trip:

Wash, condition, deep condition and perform all your elaborate hair rituals a night or two before your departure.
Put your hair in a style that will hold up for a few days.

Have a plan for the hairstyles you wear throughout the duration of your trip so that you’ll know the particular products and hair tools you’ll need to bring along

Research the climate of your destination. Is it dusty, hot, humid, cold, or rainy? If so, it’s best to keep your hair in a “well behaved style” such as twists and buns that are able to withstand extreme weather conditions.


Tools to Bring

Whether you’ll be spending your days at the beach, sight seeing, or attending business meetings, having these simple tools will allow you to change up your styles when needed.

Rat Tail Comb: for sectioning
Paddle Brush to smooth out a bun, afro puff or pinned hairstyles
Hair Clips: for Sectioning
Bobby Pins: for pin ups
Hair Ties: for buns and puffs

Hair Accessories: to spice up your hair

Spray Bottle: for daily spritz if the environment of your host country demands it
Satin Scarves: to smooth down those buns, puffs and pin up styles. Scarves can also protect your hair from extreme heat and dust

Hats: for the same purpose as the scarf, and to cover up unpredictable bad hair days which can arise in extreme weather conditions

Satin Bonnet: for night time
Travel size product containers: to keep your products in

These save space and weight

Products to Bring

Shampoo/Conditioner: for Impromptu wash, especially if you’ll be swimming or involved in extreme sporting activities that can dirty your hair

Leave-In Conditioner and Moisturizers: to restore moisture, especially after a long moisture-sucking flight.
Oils/Butters: to seal in moisture after an impromptu hair wash and for your nightly scalp massage
Styler: this is completely optional

During Transit

Avoid going to the airport with big hair so that you can avoid the “awkward hair pat down.” Bound styles like twists, cornrows and flat twists are also able to withstand shrinkage and frizz, and they’re easy to sleep in during long flights and car, train, or bus rides.
I wore an afro on the last day of my trip

During your trip

Avoid trying out new products and hairstyles which can be unpredictable and time consuming.

Be prepared for the extra attention, comments and remarks you will receive in your host country. Also be open to answer curious questions about the nature of your hair as the natural hair community is still growing, so the locals in your host country might be unfamiliar with it.

Be prepared to have your hair behave in ways you’ve never experienced before

Stick to low manipulation styles which will be accommodating to the climate of your host country and the activities you’ll be doing.

If you’re going on a business trip to a place where Afros aren’t common, conservative hairstyles such as a bun, roll tuck n pin, and twists are suitable alternatives.

How do you take care of your hair while travelling? 

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