Last Updated on January 17, 2021 by Nina Ahmedow
Hair is such a sensitive subject for most women, and it plays a great role in many cultures and in fashion.
We always want our hair to look good, and that is true when we approach travel hair care as well. Trying to maintain our own beauty standards while living a more sustainable lifestyle can be difficult, especially if your hair type is already more time-consuming to care for. But when you add travel to the mix hair care can become a terrifying subject. Many sustainable brands still focus more on basic efficiency as if women who care about sustainability all have short and easily manageable hair.
Sustainable products are often merely functional. Personally, I’ve learned that it’s much easier to wear my hair straight, especially when I travel because the time and effort it takes to wear it wavy/curly in combination with the lack of adequate travel hair care products is simply too complicated. (And yes, of course, that means that my hair is a lot less healthy than if I were to treat it better. But when I travel, in particular, I want to save time as well.)
In my early to mid-30s I tried my best to follow the Curly Girl Method, and yes, it’s as amazing as everyone says. But it also takes a lot of effort that I simply couldn’t keep up once I moved to Greece. I have a whole post about my vegan and cruelty-free hair care routine and one about the best vegan shampoos if you want to know more.
But when I tried to switch to sustainable products my hair became even more difficult to manage. Because now I couldn’t even use some of the basic styling products anymore because they really weren’t good for my hair or the planet.
So is it impossible to use sustainable products and have pretty hair? And what about when we travel? On the one hand, we want to use eco-friendly travel hair care products that are also easy to transport, but on the other hand, we want our hair to look nice in pictures. I’m trying to answer this question for myself because I’m tired of having my hair look less good than it could. Don’t we all take more pictures when traveling than when at home?
Sustainable Travel Hair Care Tips
Sustainable hair care can actually be helpful when traveling because things like shampoo and conditioner bars are not liquid and can go in your hand luggage. But again, they don’t always make our hair look its best. What are some ways we can combine sustainable hair care with our love of travel while still looking good? Here are some ideas for the sustainable traveler who wants to have beautiful hair while traveling the world. I’m hoping to update this post frequently so please leave any additional tips in the comments. I’ll make sure to try them out and report on them!
And because I don’t want to promote mindless consumption you don’t need to purchase any new travel hair care products to follow these super simple tips.
1. Updos Are Some of the Easiest Hairstyles
If you have long wavy or curly hair like me nothing is going to mess up your hair more than wearing it down, especially when traveling. The amount of time (and pain) it takes to detangle all that hair is not worth it, so consider wearing your hair up at least while you’re on the plane or other means of transport.
2. Skip the Shampoo
So the Curly Girl Method suggests not using shampoo at all for curly hair, and only once a week for wavy hair. Otherwise, you cleanse with conditioner because it also contains some cleansing agents. But even if you have straight hair it might be a good idea to see how long you can go without shampoo. If you’re only going on a weekend trip you could wash your hair before you leave and then when you come back. No new sustainable shampoo needed. But the key is to really know how many days your hair will look good for.
3. Don’t Use Heat
This is a way to pack lighter, but it also means that you’ll have to use less electricity making your trip more eco-friendly. Styling tools like straightening or curling irons only weigh you down when traveling. And think about whether or not you really need a hairdryer. If you know the right methods air drying can make your hair look even better. In the warmer seasons, I always let my hair air dry.
4. Use Products for Multiple Purposes
So you need an oil for your hair but the glass is too big to bring on as hand luggage? Well, when you get to your destination you can always buy something like coconut oil which is excellent for hair but can also be used when you cook your delicious vegan meals. And if you’re staying at an Airbnb you can leave the leftovers there for the next person to make use of. (Obviously, you remove the oil you want to use for your hair and place it in a bowl.)
5. Decant Products into Smaller Bottles
Bringing your own products doesn’t mean you have to check in your luggage. Many companies make 100ml bottles (which is the maximum size you can bring on a plane in your hand luggage). Simply decant whatever products you need (conditioner, hair oil, etc.) into those. The heavier your bags are the more fuel planes need so packing light is an important step towards more sustainable travel.
6. Experiment With Scarves or Hats
It’s difficult to style your hair without styling tools and products, but if you still want to look fashionable you can always use accessories. Plus, they’re going to protect your hair from the elements and yourself from the heat.
7. Learn Some Simple Hairstyles That Look Good
Understand what looks good on you and your hair and then learn a few styles that can become your go-to styles when you travel. Wanting beautiful looking hair doesn’t mean you have to straighten or blow-dry your hair, tease it, and do all kinds of other things to it. Use that time to explore your destination!
8. Braids Are Quick and Gorgeous
Braids are not really the kind of style I normally go for, but they can be super useful when traveling. I prefer simpler styles like fishtail braids, but if you’re good at braiding your hair it won’t even take you a lot of effort to do some Game of Thrones type of styles. The more you braid your hair the fewer styling products you need to bring. Plus sleeping with braids keeps your hair in place better.
What do you think of these travel hair care tips? Do you follow any of them? Do you have any additional travel hair care tips with sustainability in mind?