Summer time baby! It is here, we have been ready and honestly we just want to have that sense of freedom we’ve been missing for some time. With the world showing just a glimpse of normalcy on the horizon, vacations are a must! Now vacations are all about relaxation, eating, enjoying the people you’re with (or yourself, I get it sis) so the very last thing you want to do is worry about your hair. You have either decided to throw your hair into a protective style or brave through the entire trip with your natural hair loose. Either way, you’ll have to think about the weather, your plans and how you are going to maintain your mane. We have a few insightful tips that can help you have the most carefree vacation you can have in times like these.
The first arrangement you make when you are planning a trip is how you are going to style your hair. Most likely you're thinking something lightweight, low maintenance and long lasting. One thing that you really want to think about is stretching your hair. You want to have an arsenal of styles that elongate your hair for reasons we’ll discuss later in this post. For now, here are some top tried and true styles to rock on your next vacation.
- Box Braids
- Passion Twists
- Braided Updo
- Faux Locs
NaturAll has a bundle that will allow you to install these protective styles with ease. Our AvoKiwi Protective Styling 6-Step Recipe includes our Hydrating Twisting Paste and Hydrating Oil Blend. The twisting paste will allow your style to last without any product build up while it still provides moisture to the hair strands. The Hydrating Oil Blend is a perfect travel size that you can throw in your carry on to apply to your scalp as needed.
While you may have an idea in mind, be sure that it is something you can maintain when you are away from home. You may not be able to bring your entire vanity with you and you can only take so much on a carry on. Always have a back up plan in case your style does not last as long as you like. A slicked pineapple or a couple rough twists should be enough to get you through until the end.
Pro Tip: Check the weather before committing to a style! You may have some sunny days, you may one day have straight torrential downpours. You want to have a style that you can easily pivot or that will stand all types of conditioners.
Protect your Crown
One rule that many naturals don't think about heavily enough is protecting their hair from sun exposure. Generally, people with hair that is thicker, more coiled and darker in color are the most protected from the sun. One of the natural functions of hair is to protect your head from
over exposure from the sun. However, your hair itself still encounters significant amounts of damage. UV rays from the sun eat away at your hair (a dead protein) which is why you can experience brittle hair or a lighter color than you would typically experience. Over exposure to the sun also weakens your hair follicles. Weakened hair follicles create weak hair strands which in turn will give you brittle, dry hair. Unfortunately once a follicle is damaged, the quality of hair growing from it will not change until the shedding phase.
One of the best ways to protect your hair from sun exposure is to cover it up completely. Whether this is with a hat, a headwrap or an everyday scarf, you want to have something to block the rays. If you don’t want to cover your hair completely, I would recommend applying products that will help protect your hair or at least seal in moisture before you head outside. There are products on the market that are formulated to protect your hair from UV rays, so you can definitely go that route! When it comes to protecting your hair from the sun, it can all be so very simple. Look at your favorite leave-in conditioner. If the first ingredient is water, you are on the right track! You also want to have a product that seals in moisture so the sun is less likely to draw out all the moisture from your hair shaft. Coconut oil is a great option for this purpose. Our Hydrating Leave-In Conditioner is a great option to protect your hair from the sun. The main ingredient is water and both the avocado oil and coconut oil serve as humectants and will help your hair retain moisture.
Combating Chlorine and Sea Water
One thing we will all encounter while on vacation is some form of open water. Most likely you’ll find yourself sipping poolside or surfing some waves. Chlorine and sea salt affect the hair in two different ways but you should prioritize protecting your hair from both.
While pools in the most recent years are beginning to be filled with salt water, chlorine is still very present in most pool settings. Chlorine is a type of bleaching agent that kills bacteria and keeps the water as clear as possible. The genetic makeup of chlorine is meant for it to eat away dangers that some form from human bodies but it also eats away at things like oils, the sebum on your scalp and even the protein in your hair. This process results in brittle hair which we all know leads to breakage and split ends. This is why your hair feels so stringy and lifeless after a day in the pool. The best way to combat this damage is to cover your hair completely with a swim cap or waterproof headwrap. If this is not your style, you can also try the coating method. Coat your hair with a lightweight oil or butter. The outer layer on your hair will act as a barrier against the chlorine.
As we all know, salt draws out moisture and the ocean is no different. The saltiness in the water does lots of damage to the hair once you are on dry land. In conjunction with the smoldering sun, salt water is sucking up all of the moisture in your strands right into the atmosphere. Now you can combat this the same way we mentioned with chlorine by creating a barrier with an oil or butter. Another solution (that’s actually great for chlorine as well) is to pre saturate your hair BEFORE you jump into a body of water. Completely wet your hair with fresh water (you could mix with a product of your liking) so your hair strands become engorged. This way when you hop in the pool or sea water, your hair will not soak up all the bad stuff and when your hair eventually dries, it is not drying the chemicals or salt into the hair shaft.
These two bodies of water are also the reason behind why braided protective styles are the best options for vacation hair. These styles leave your hair stretched which will aid in the detangling process later. Hair that is exposed to chlorine or salt water shrinks significantly tighter and dries quicker. Brittle, tightly coiled hair takes a lot more patience and time to detangle and can cause further damage.
This one last remedy requires a bit more preparation. Vitamin C is a great way to negate the negative effects of chlorine and salt. If you choose to swim with your loose natural hair, you can reverse the negative effects of summertime fun with a one to one mixture of warm water and vitamin C powder. Apply to your hair right after swimming. This will reverse the damage that dried chlorine or salt water would do to the hair and will condition hair strands.
Whenever you decide to come back from your getaway, no matter the style you choose, you will have to perform some type of restoring process to the hair. Notter the water or the sun exposure, the heat makes you hot and while the sebum on your scalp is liquified (super helpful in keeping the scalp moisturized) you also are sweating a lot more than usual. So add a clogged scalp to hair that’s either been in a protective style or has been loose and slightly neglected, you’re going to need a wash day full of TLC and patience. The main parts you need to focus on during this time is shopping the hair and replenishing nourishment. NaturAll has an amazing option for the after vacation wash day. Our Repairing Ice Cream Treatment Deep Conditioner includes wheat protein. Avocados are already great sources of protein and the extra boost of the wheat protein will help your hair with the rigidity it needs to repair itself. The argan oil included in this formula will condition the hair and promote scalp pH balance.
Shampooing the hair is crucial because you want to rid the surface of your hair from any sand, dirt or chemicals from the elements you were around. You don’t want to necessarily go for a clarifying shampoo (if you had a protective style the whole time, a clarifying shampoo should be fine) if your hair has gone through too many drying situations. Instead, opt for our Hydrating AvoKiwi Shampoo. This shampoo thoroughly cleanses your hair and scalp while the kiwi extract introduces and seals in moisture. You may even want to shampoo twice, just to ensure the entire head is cleansed of any bacteria or residue left from a world of fun.
Be Care Free, But Careful
Like we said before, no one wants to go on vacation having to worry about spending 2 hours every morning doing their hair simply because they enjoyed the beach or the pool the day before. The best way to avoid the headaches natural hair can bring is to be prepared for any and everything. While you can’t predict the weather, you can plan for what the experts have and that’s the best you can do! You may have planned to bring all of your moisturizing arsenal just to realize you have to leave it all at the airport. Be prepared for the worse with not only your products but your prevention methods as well. You’ll be happier knowing you’ll be able to handle whatever your adventures throw at you!