We're deep, deep into summer and that means vacations with lots of sun, salty ocean water, pools with whatever's in them, and all the different water that comes out of the hotel showers. Oh, and don't forget all the fun shampoo samples in hotels! ... Here are some tips for taking your hair on the road.
• Don't forget to take your favorite professional shampoo and conditioner from home, in air-travel appropriate containers if needed. Oh, yes, it can be so much fun to test all the hair products offered in hotels, and some of them are great, but some also are pretty harsh and can leave your hair parched.
• This is particularly important for colored hair, especially if you just got it done for a trip. Don't dabble with free samples if you have colored hair. What a drag it would be to see those beautiful new highlights swirling down the drain.
• Wear hats! This is the best protection from the sun and wind that can fade your color and dry your hair. And if you don't like hats, rub a little conditioner in your hair, maybe with some built in sun shield, to protect your beautiful locks.
• I mentioned this in another column recently: go easy with the hot tools when traveling, especially if you're in a climate that causes frizz. Naturally, curly hair is more susceptible to frizz. The more moisture you can leave in your hair, the better.
• Traveling is the time to go with those fun braids, fishtails, ponytails and top knots. These are easy to do on the go, especially when getting out in the ocean for a snorkeling adventure with a mask. Think about what you'll be doing on your trip. You don't want your hair to stop you from a planned activity because suddenly you're worried that you'll lose that loose wave or that your hair will get caught in the rubber mask strap.
• When you get home from all that fun in the sun, treat your hair to a good cleansing shampoo and conditioning treatment. Nurse it back to health. DON'T use a cleansing shampoo if you just got your hair colored. By this time, though, most of us are ready to get all that road dirt and residue out. A cleansing shampoo is just the thing.
Finally, my motto for travel and hair: "less is better." Your hair probably needs a vacation, too, and while 'strange' water and baking sunlight can be hard on your hair, the heat-intensive styling we do regularly at home can do a lot of cumulative damage.
So, have fun on that trip, relax and give your hair a break.