I have to admit.
I’m vain. I imagine that at the end of my life, God would be having a talk with me about how vanity was one of my pitfalls that led me astray. Even now, I struggle with this human flaw. In my mind, I always ponder if I am borderline narcissistic (I probably am) when it comes to expressing myself in my own style and…
Yes. This post is going to be all about hair: my rocky love affair with it and what I learned from it while on the road.
Brace yourself for an onslaught of bathroom selfies.
When in Brasil, Grow Out Your Hair
Living in Brazil brought the topic of hair to the forefront for me. In an evangelical community, long hair is a source of pride and taught as such:
“But if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.” (1 Corinthians 11:15)
Growing up, I had straight hair until puberty hit. My hair was always a frizzy mess like Anne Hathaway’s in The Princess Diaries. I fussed –toiled– with my hair often in attempts to make it look “perfect”. By high school, I started straightening my hair religiously. Especially with fine hair, I had not realized how much damage I caused to my hair. On top of that, I flirted with hair dye for highlights. Let’s just say my hair couldn’t be even more fried and porous than it already was.
It wasn’t until I was in Brazil that I noticed the mess I put my hair through. Girls of the igrejas with their long healthy hair were a complete foil to my weakened strands. My hair shedded like crazy and no amount of conditioner would hold to my locks. They were fried.
The torment I had put my hair through for so many years was the result of giving in to society’s standards of beauty. I would observe girls around me with their sleek, straight locks whether ironed out or natural. I had jumped onto that bandwagon real fast. I thought I looked better with straight hair compared to my wavy locks. I wanted to blend in — not stand out.
In college, I finally began to grow into my hair. Gradually, I started accepting my hair for what it was:
Fine, soft spirals
In Brazil I realized that I had to rekindle my relationship with my hair: to love my locks in the form that they were made.
My Hair Routine
Once a Week Routine
After living in Brazil and returning to the states, I decided to act fast to take care of my hair. I researched my hair type and then the products to use through trial-and-error. The routine outlined here is the routine I use daily, as well as before any travel ventures.
When traveling, I always do a deep conditioning for my hair the night before travel. I usually skimp on this when I’m actually at my destination, but this will just wreak havoc on your hair if you let this become a habit on the road. Deep conditioning your hair at least once a week is going to help prevent breakage and keep your hair moisturized and healthy looking. It does not have to be expensive, but it will be an investment.
Mix the oil of your choice (I use a mixture of castor oil with amla oil and a couple of drops of rosemary. Mix-and-match oils to find the perfect combo for your hair).
Heat up the oils until warm to the touch.
Dampen your hair with a spray bottle. Apply the warmed oil on to your scalp. Massage your scalp for a few minutes with your head upside down to stimulate blood circulation.
Loosely grab your hair and plop it on top of your head (pineapple method). Secure your hair with a scrunchie.
Wait an hour (overnight if you have time)
Shampoo your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo of your choice. For fine-haired girls, use shampoos labeled volumizing or thickening (natural and sulfate-free) OR opt for the No-Poo Method.
Gently squeeze excess water from hair after shampooing.
Apply a deep treatment conditioner starting at your ends and work your way up to your scalp. (NOTE: You want your hair more on the damp side before applying a deep treatment. If you’re hair is soaking wet, the treatment will just wash right out of your hair).
Leave deep treatment conditioner on for an hour + a shower cap or plastic bag wrapped tightly over your head to trap in moisture and deep treatment conditioner.
Rinse out with cold water.
List of the Products I use:
1. Amla Oil
2. Castor Oil
3. Rosemary Essential Oil
4. Shea butter deep conditioning
5. Shea butter leave-in conditioner
5. Shampoo: Sulfate-free
6. Conditioner: with argan or olive oil
7. Spray Bottle
10. Plastic Bag/Shower cap
11. Detangling wet brush or comb
12. Bristled paddle brush
13. Bobby pins
14. Daily vitamin (this is a must)
Overall Investment (From My Experience)
Oils + accessories = Lasts approximately 6 months — 1 year
Shampoo + Leave-in = Lasts 3 months +
Conditioner = Last 2–3 months
Deep Treatment Conditioner = Weekly ($1-$2 per week OR create your own deep treatment conditioner)
Daily Vitamin = 4–6 months (depending on brand and capsules in vitamin container)
Styling Your Hair
Option 1: How to Make Your Naturally Curvy Hair Straight w/out Heat
1. Comb hair gently while saturated with conditioner to prevent breakage. Start at the ends. Rinse.
2.Air-dry until damp or use microfiber towel.
3.Loosely twist hair and stack on top of head.
4. Straight Hair w/out Heat Tutorial by Alexandrasgirlytalk (I’ve tried it. It works.)
Pros: Sleek look.
Cons: If you have fine hair, there is less volume. I found the tendency for my hair to look more oily and flat. I have to shampoo-condition after a couple of days.
Option 2: How to Make Your Waves More Curly w/out Heat
1. SCRUNCH it after showering OR use spray bottle to dampen hair
2.Pineapple (plop) your hair on top and secure with scrunchie.
Pros: Volumized hair
Cons: Tendency to frizz if your curls don’t have enough moisture and protein
Option 3: Create More Defined Curls
1. Use your finger to curl certain strands to your liking.
2. Create mini pineapples on top of your head and secure with tangle-free elastics.
Warning: You are going to wake up with mega volume if you decide to go this route.
Pros: Mega volume. If you properly moisturize with a spray bottle and leave-in conditioner, you only need to shampoo-condition 1–2 times a week.
Cons: The same as above (frizzies if lack of moisture and protein)
Styling Takeaways :
- Oil+ deep condition your hair 1–2 times a week.
- Shampoo-condition your hair 1–3 times a week.
- Take your vitamins + eat vitamin-rich foods
- Style your hair gently without heat.
- That hair dye color might be cool, but if you have fine hair like me: don’t. do. it.
- Seal your hair (especially the ends) with a leave-in conditioner.
Must-have Products while Traveling and On-the-Go:
You want to lessen the amount you need to maintain and wash your hair while on the road. If you’re a natural wavy-curly: Embrace your spirals. Option 1 above takes too long, and you want to maximize your time exploring.
Your hair is going to get messed up anyways. Have your hair up OR let your hair down and let it dance to its own rhythm.
Romancing the Hair: Create Your Hair Profile
I’ve found that finding the right products and techniques have come down to first figuring out these three characteristics about my hair:
Hair Type –> 2b-2c (Lorde’s hair…)
- Want to know your hair type? → Click Here
2. Hair Thickness –> Fine
- Hair thickness? → Click Here
3. Hair Porosity –> Low
- Figure out your hair porosity? –> Click Here
Truth be told, my hair still gets frizzy and disheveled.
But traveling has taught me that it really doesn’t matter in the long run. Love the hair you have been given. Find ways in which you can easily maintain your healthy locks without sacrificing the time that can be used for travel and exploration instead.
Take care of your hair — nourish it — but care less about how it looks by society’s standards. You’re beautiful anyways.
Never forget: you were made exactly in the image that you were meant to be. ❤
If you are a traveler and would like to share expertise on how you take care of your hair while traveling or at home, please comment below. I would love to hear your stories on how you have embraced your hair.
The Ordinary Love Story