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Le sigh…let me just take a moment to shake my head in feigned remorse…I’ve had such sad beauty blunders while traveling and well, in life (let’s be honest).  However, I feel like with each trip abroad, I’m getting better at managing my stubborn locks while on-the-go.  Thus, I was inspired to write this post.  Not because you’d look at me & be all like, “She’s got great hair!”  –Um, no.  This is me, sharing part of my travel survival guide.  Because my hair is stuck back in the hunter-gatherer era, my modern self has had to figure out how to tame it by today’s standards, straightening it into submission.  With ultra-thick locks and a very very strong wave to boot, styling my hair has always been an uphill battle.  BUT, styling said hair while traveling?  –On another level.  The usual routine I’ve adopted lately of air drying overnight coupled with a one-two punch with the flat & curling irons is almost impossible to carry out abroad.  BTW, I realize this sounds kinda high-maintenance, but seriously, my wild hair texture requires a bit of a process.  I cannot roll out of bed & go, rocking that cute-if-done-right bed-head look, no way; my hair must be pinned or plaited in some fashion to be presentable in public.

With the plethora of products & picks vying for a piece of precious space in the carry-on, I’ve decided that bulky tools like ionic blow-dryers and large-round barrel brushes don’t have a place in mine.  Neither do hot rollers — yes, I’ve actually packed a set of these into a carry-on before…total misuse of space.  Even more woesome, I fried my old Chi from the inside-out at the Sofitel in Munich.  I was using a plug adapter, but novice international traveler I was, didn’t realize the whole difference-in-electric-voltage factor.  –What??  I just thought the little plug adapter would take care of all that.  Apparently, you need a dual-voltage flat iron in addition to your plug adapter.  Furthermore, I’m reading on the travel chat boards that even dual-voltage flat-irons just dont get as hot when plugged in overseas (something about them taking a lot of voltage –more voltage than 220, really– and not preforming optimally).  At any rate, charring that Chi was regrettable and I kinda took a moment in Germany for my dearly departed first ceramic flat iron, in thankfulness for her 5 years of dutiful service.  😉

So, during the hustle & bustle of exploring a new city, there’s no space, no time, no flat iron, no proper usual hair products…what to do, what to do?  I suppose I could scour the web to order travel-size versions of my fave styling oils, sprays, and smoothing serums, but what typically occurs is a quick run to CVS about 2 days (or hours) before leaving.  Take the elements encountered in travel territory –not just heat & humidity– but jaunts on & off public trans, lack of usual beauty touch-up tools in the downsized travel purse (probably a cute cross-body!), traversing anywhere from climate-controlled museums to sun-soaked botanical gardens; take all this and pair it with the aforementioned lack of space, time, & heat styling tools…and products really come into play.  Pretty please, TSA, why can’t you make an exception for Bed Head’s Biggie Masterpiece Massive Shine Hairspray?  Now, your corner store pharmacy isn’t really known as a place to find salon-quality products (and travel-sized versions, at that) but I’ve found a couple subsitituions that do it for me.  Easy-to-nab at your local CVS, here are a couple examples currently in my utilitarian-chic ‘quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag’:  Organix Hydrating Macadamia Oil, dry styling oil (not exactly the gloriousness of Moroccan Oil, but it does the trick) and TRESemme’ Fresh Start Dry Shampoo (seems to get the job done just as well as my Rockaholic Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo by TIGI).  I also try to bring along a small jar of a hydrating hair mask because now that my hair’s longer, I will run out of a travel-size conditioner in like two days.  Plus, the conditioner in those little hotel room bottles always sucks.  There’s likely no time to luxuriate in a bubble bath while the hair mask is on, but I’ve had results from just lightly applying it to my ends at night and sleeping in a low bun.

Speaking of buns, I’ve come to rely on a series of buns and braids to keep my mane in check — especially during summer vacations when the humidity wreaks a relentless assault on our hair.  Usually you will find me sporting milkmaid braids, a messy side braid, or my favorite:  the top knot.  Goody spin pins work amazingly well to create a pretty proportioned bun while not forfeiting the function of actually holding it in place.  Pinterest is a rich source of ideas on this subject.  One of my favorite time-wasters is searching pinboards for inventive travel hairstyles.  Check out my New Beauty Ideas board…literally every time I log-on, Pinterest is a treasure trove of hairstyle inspiration!  Also, an arsenal of headbands, bobbi pins, and hair elastics come in handy while taking virtually no luggage space.  I especially adore headbands like this from Anthro…lots of style for little effort.

The milkmaid braid makes a debut in Goa, India.  Right on the Arabian Sea, I can feel the heat & humidity just looking at this picture.  Beautiful place, no question, but almost as hot as it gets.

If all else fails, just treat yourself to a salon blow-out.  You deserve it, darn it.  –At least that’s what I tell myself!  You’re on vacation, after all.  Think of how many pictures you’ll be taking, posting, and putting in albums to look at for years to come.  Oh, and have you been to one of these new blow-dry bars where all they do is blow-outs?  Blo in Austin is simply a treat.  And with the dry shampoo I’ve packed, I can extend the blown-out look for a couple days longer.  After all, our hair is our “crown” and we should let it shine!