Have you ever aspired to be #teamcarryon–means you fly without checking luggage, saves you time and $$ (unless you’re flying Southwest)–but then remembered you are T.W.N (traveling while natural) and need ‘stuff’ to take care of your hair while traveling that FORCE you to check a bag? No? Just me?
Let’s face it, the way airlines are charging us for every little thing these days (to be able to check in early, select seats, baggage, ) the last thing we want to do is have to ADD to our luggage with hair care products. But such is the life of a natural. You have to plan for her. Pack for her. It is a necessary evil, because although you are on vacation (or maybe work travel), you still want to slay for those vacay pics. Oh and keep your hair healthy :).
While a lot more consumer product companies and brands are beginning to offer ‘travel sized’ products that are TSA friendly, if we are honest they sorta solve one problem–having to check luggage– and present two others: Travel sized products are wildly expensive compared to their full size offerings (if you’re into getting bang for your buck) and, arguably the most important point, when has 3 OUNCES of ANY product been enough for any natural for more than a day?
Since I travel quite a bit and this is regular consideration, I’ve come up with this ‘guide’ to get you through T.W.N, or traveling while natural:
- Where: Where are you going? What is the climate there? Is it humid? Dry?
- Time: How long will you be there? How much free time will you have to do your hair?
- What: What will you be doing there? Swimming? Rolling through mud? Will your activities cause your hair to get wet or get dirty?
- How: How are you and will you be wearing your hair?
It may seem obvious to consider where you will be traveling to, what you will be doing, and how long you’ll be gone, but if you’re not sure where start to T.W.N, this is it. The only way to plan for your hair is to consider what it will need while you’re traveling. What it will need depends completely on what environment you’ll be in, what you’ll be doing, and, well you get the point. If you can answer these questions you can begin to decide what products and tools to pack.
Now that you’ve answered the tough questions, it’s time to plan hairstyles and select products and tools.
- Protective: This is probably the easiest way to go, particularly for trips that are more than about 3 days. Remember, protective styling can be done with your own hair, for example two strand twists, or with synthetic hair, such as braids, faux locs, marley twists, sew ins, wigs, etc. Your hair length and type will play a major part in determining which protective style would be best for your trip, in that some hair textures can hold styles longer than others. Another reason I support protective styling which traveling, you should be spending your time enjoying your trip–not DOING your hair. Go with styles that are quick and easy, whether they are protective or not.
- Products: Once you’ve select your style(s), it is time to decide which products to pack. My advice? Select the least amount of products that can serve the most function. Multi-purpose products. Can I use it for a wash & go AND a twist out? This is going to allow you to pack less which means you’re less likely to run over the 50 lb weight limit. They don’t know our struggle! Select the right products for the climate you are traveling to and the hair style you’ve chosen. You can also place some of your product from home into travel size containers, but again, unless you have a TWA (teenie weenie afro), how far is 3 oz going to take you? Depending on where you’re traveling to you can also purchase product there, but if you don’t use it all, you’re wasting product and might as well just pay for the luggage to travel with the full size amount (just my opinion).
- Tools: If you’re T.W.N, you’re more than likely not considering any heat tools. Depending on your chosen style, a couple clips, a bonnet, spray bottle (empty, don’t end up with soggy clothes, regardless of the ‘locking feature’), and one comb if your hair is loose, should suffice. Remember, less is more, not only for luggage weight but also because you don’t want to be spending a ton of time doing your hair while traveling.
Now I know this all probably sounds very high level and you may be sitting there thinking this sounds great but I still don’t know what to pack. No worries. I have a little case study for you. If you’re following me on snapchat (which you totally should, @kingteeuhh) you know about two weeks ago I went to Barbados for Crop Over 2016. It was MAD (like sick, lit, everything, you should have been there type flow), but more on that in another post.
So working with our list of considerations, mine looked like this:
- Where: Barbados–HOT/Humid/Hades.
- Time: There for 6 days, no time for sleep or hair.
- What: . Partying, including a couple boat/swim parties and Foreday morning (paint, mud, powder).
Because of those considerations, I planned accordingly:
- Styling: I knew I would be short on time and energy so I decided to go with a protective style, a sew in with HeatFreeHair. It is more or less identical to the texture of my natural hair but longer. Since I’ve worn this hair before, I knew I could execute a wash & go quickly, in the shower, and with ONE styling product. Because I am not new to this Carnival life, I knew I would not only not feel like doing my hair, but I wouldn’t have time to either. Perfect for my circumstances. So here is what I packed to do my hair while in Barbados:
What is pictured:
- Perm rods: Hair was in a stretched/curled style on the way to Barbados (from the week before)–didn’t use these there
- 2 Clips: For sectioning, helps to quickly distribute product
- Spray bottle: Remember to pack it empty. Can be used with a little conditioner and water to refresh styles without getting completely wet or simply add a little moisture.
- Edge control: Obvious. No brush needed, slick them edges with your fingers chile.
- Conditioner: For co-washing (remember the paint and powder). For daily moisturizing.
- Pillow Soft Curls: Styler I used for my wash and goes. Nothing else.
- Wire Brush: To detangle and clump curls.
- Not pictured: Elastic band, but it’s hot and sometimes you have to BUN it. *O.T. Genasis Voice*
- Not Pictured: A bonnet, because I want my edges.
T.W.N can be really over whelming if you think you need to bring your home hair care everywhere, but it can be simple if you keep it simple and plan accordingly. Take some time to think about where you’re going, what you’ll be doing, and what you’ll be able to do (realistically) with your hair while you’re there. Select 1-2 products that can meet all (or most) of your styling needs. Remember to pack your spray bottles empty, and place your liquids/oils/stylers in a plastic bag and/or place a piece of heavy tape around the caps and lids. There is nothing worse than arriving in your destination only to find that product leaked all throughout your luggage.
What are your favorite items for T.W.N? Comment below!
Tee is a Sister, Aunt, grad student, and passionate creative. She enjoys creating, experimenting, and traveling–enjoying life. She is an engineer by trade but thoroughly enjoys feeding her creative side with beauty, blogging, and YouTube. Aside from working full-time and being a full-time grad student, she cultivates content for her blog and YouTube channel to share experiences and lessons learned.
Check out her website King Teeuhh where she celebrates the boldness of womanhood by encouraging women to live boldly in their desires and fervently pursue their passions.