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Need tips on how to manage your hair while traveling? Look no further! In this guide, we share how to handle your mane, what products to bring, and what tools to leave behind.
Travel Hair Tips
When you’re traveling, the last thing you want to do is spend two hours fixing your hair. You’ve got to make the most of every minute.
Truthfully, though, styled hair and fresh-faced makeup truly add the finishing touch to create a polished appearance. That’s the real secret to chic style. It doesn’t matter how perfect your travel wardrobe looks if these other factors are missing.
Now this doesn’t mean that you need to bring your entire beauty cabinet on a trip, or start using hair tools if that’s not your thing. It’s just a reminder that you don’t need to skip your hair routine entirely, because you can just bring the essential items that enhance your features for a natural yet chic look.
The goal is to find the easiest hair solution that works for you. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Choose Essential Styling Tools
Don’t pack all your styling tools into your suitcase and never pack a full-size hair brush. Call your accommodation in advance to see if they offer a blow dryer. If not, look for a foldable travel hair dryer. Don’t forget about a mini brush and mini comb.
Unfortunately, mini flat irons aren’t as effective as travel blow dryers, especially if you have extremely curly hair. If needed, pack a slim 1-inch or smaller iron. Also, some flat irons can double up as curling irons like the one shown above. Give it a try!
It’s important to note that hair styling products may not work in other countries. Look for items with dual voltage to be sure. Keep reading for more information about voltage and adapters.
Read our tips on how to style curly hair while traveling!
Travel Hair Styling Tips
Here’s a list of hair accessories you may want to consider for your trip (depending on your destination):
- Travel-size Brush or Comb
- Bobby Pins
- Hair Ties
- Hair Bun
- Hair Scarf
For bad hair days, these beauty hacks might help:
- Bun – an easy way to hide dirty or disheveled hair
- Ponytail – whether you tie it high or low, a ponytail can create a clean and chic appearance on a hot day
- Bobby Pins – twist it, pin it, hold it down. Do what you have to do with these little wonders
- Hats – add style and hide bad hair days. What’s not to love?
- Dry Shampoo (or Baby Powder) – throw it on and shake it out when you’re on the go
- Headbands – a thin, delicate style can transform you from blah to glam
- Braids – learn how to create at least one braid look
Find out the best dry shampoo for travel!
If you decide to leave your tools at home, these are some heatless hairstyle ideas:
- For volume and waves, pack a few foam curlers that you can wear overnight to set your hair. Remember, just pack a handful, not a whole set!
- Do you use claw clips? If so, after you wash your hair, clip it into a low bun while still wet. It will air dry to create natural looking waves. As a bonus, if you have frizzy curly hair, this method may also create smooth waves instead of tight curls. Add some styling product before tying it back.
- Create an elegant up do with the sock bun method. Opt for a pre-made bun roller that weighs nothing and can be crammed into a small space if needed. If you leave your hair rolled in a bun for an extended period of time, it can also create volume and waves. Perfect for a day-to-night transition!
- Similar to a sock bun, braids also result in waves and are a feminine way to style your hair. This style is great for an active trip because it’s feminine yet keeps your hair out of your face.
You can also find hair tutorials for just about anything on Pinterest. Search for short easy hairstyles or simple braid ideas. Alternatively, try out a new look!
I’ve compiled some of my favorite Pinterest tutorials in this article: No Heat Curls and Heatless Hairstyles.
Using Hair Styling Tools Abroad
One of the biggest questions about voltage arises from hair styling equipment. Is it okay to use you hair dryer or flat iron in Europe?
The answer? Maybe.
Having the right voltage is crucial when you use electronics abroad including your hair tools. Because blow dryers and flat irons (straighteners) require a large amount of power, you need to look for products with dual voltage options.
Read our full explanation on how voltage works when you travel and which adapters/converters to use.
Dual voltage electronics have two voltage options: 110-120V and 220-240V. They are ideal for travel because they are safe to use at home and abroad, too.
Some electronics, such as newer Macbooks and iPhones have dual voltage that automatically adjust in their destination. However, other electronics such as hair tools you may need to adjust the voltage manually by moving a switch.
Voltage refers to electricity; different countries have different types of electricity. This means that your electronics are the same voltage as the country in which you bought them so if you take them to another country, they may not work. Visit this website for a full list of voltage by country.
For example, in the US we use 110-120V whereas in Europe they use 220-240V. If we plug our electronics into each other’s outlets they can blow a fuse and stop working. In some cases, they can even fry your hair.
Keep in mind that this not always a guarantee your hair styling tool will work as well abroad as it does at home, even with the dual voltage setting. Flat irons generally work well but hair dryers tend to experience more issues.
To ensure you won’t have voltage problems, buy one there.
The ideal situation would be to pack a foldable travel blow dryer with dual voltage options like the ones shown above. However, this feature doesn’t always guarantee it won’t blow a fuse when you arrive ruining your dryer and possibly frying your hair. Sometimes it’s better to buy locally at the airport or drug store.
Dealing with changes in voltage can be concerning to some travelers especially if you’re headed to Europe. To avoid voltage issues with travel blow dryers, it might be easiest to buy one upon arrival especially if you plan to spend an extended period of time in your destination.
Here are a couple lists of dual voltage hair tools:
Visit this website for a full list of voltage by country.
Travel converters don’t work well with hair tools that are not dual voltage
Don’t Forget an Adapter (NOT a Converter)
It’s important to understand that an adaptor and converter are NOT the same thing. An adapter fits the outlets and a converter changes the electrical current.
If your hair tool requires a converter (it’s not dual voltage) then it’s best to leave it at home, buy one that is dual voltage, or buy one at your destination. While there are some travel-friendly converters like this one, they’re usually only good for products up to 50 watts (hair tools are higher than this).
Note: if you decide to try to use a converter abroad you’ll also need an adapter so you can plug it into the local outlets. (See below)
Universal travel adapters include plugs to fit most countries
If your hair tool is dual voltage, then you do not need a converter. What you will need for your hair tools and all electronics is an adapter, which allows your devices to plug into various outlets abroad.
If you’re traveling to several countries during your trip, or if you are a frequent flyer, you may want to use a universal travel adaptor like this one.
However, if you only have one stop on your trip, just pack an individual adapter for that country’s plug type. Visit this power outlet guide for travelers to see a full list of plugs and outlets by country.
Remember, an adaptor does not convert voltage, it just allows you to plug your electronics into the local outlet. Always check the voltage for all your electronics. Learn more here.
Travel Hair Care
Aside from styling your hair, one of the other challenges when trying to pack light is limiting toiletries. But how do you limit shampoo when you can easily use up an entire travel size bottle in one shower?
Unless you are absolutely married to your hair shampoo, this is the one place where you can easily save space as many hotels and even some Airbnbs offer shampoo as part of their amenities.
If you’re traveling for an extended period of time, purchase shampoo as you go and if you’re traveling for a weekend, take a travel size bottle. You can also decant your favorite shampoo into a reusable bottle like this.
A popular option for female travelers is to travel with a solid shampoo bar. They’re great if you’re traveling for a long time because they can last up to 50 washes. As a bonus, they’re also handy if you want to eliminate liquids.
Unfortunately, there aren’t that many solid conditioners. A few ideas to downsize your products are to use a 2-in-1 shampoo conditioner or opt for a multi-use product such as coconut oil. You can use natural oils for a variety of things from hair care to skincare. Learn more!
Take a look at these solid toiletries for travel!
How do you manage your hair while traveling? Share in the comments below!
For more tips on travel hairstyles, please read these posts:
- How to Dry Your Hair Fast
- How to Make Your Blowout Last
- Best Hair Products for Travelers
- Best Toiletry Bags for Travel
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