Hair On Vacation By Heather Katsonga of

Your ticket is booked and your bags are packed, but how will you care for your hair while on vacation? You'll have to do some pre-planning and Heather Katsonya-Woodward of Neno Natural has a few considerations for a pretty girl with coily curls:

1. Convenience. Do you want to have a break from hair management too?       2. Weather. What will the weather be like?       3. Activities. Will you be swimming and therefore immersing your hair in salty or                  chlorinated water regularly?       4. Products. How much and what should you take?!

Convenience Generally, when I go on vacation, I also want to have a break from managing my hair. I try to arrange a completely protective, low manipulation hairstyle before I go. I prefer braids, but if you like sewn-in weaves, they are great too.  For my next vacation, I'm considering wearing a wig. I'm about to purchase a very authentic looking natural hair weave. This is a great money saver; I can cornrow my own hair for wearing the wig so I don't need to "waste" cash on a stylist. Weather It's not just the cold that hair doesn't “like," it's any extreme temperatures. If you're going somewhere very hot and dry, you will find that your hair will dry out before midday — even after a good moisturizing session. A wash-and-go style can become very hard and crunchy in hot weather. I also find shrinkage to be worse when it’s very hot than when the temperature is mild. If you're going on a skiing holiday, the extreme cold could lead to brittle dryness. Hats, tucked-in hair styles, updos that hide hair ends, and completely protective dos are ideal here.

Swimming Beach and poolside vacations are my favorite! If you're only going to swim a couple of times, it's okay to go into the pool

"as is" without preparing your hair. If you plan to swim regularly in salty seawater or chlorinated pool water, you should make some preparations.

Spritz your hair thoroughly with water, and generously apply a good conditioner. You don't have to use an expensive brand; even a $4 commercial conditioner will do.  Lock in the conditioner with any good quality vegetable oil such as avocado, grape seed, or even olive oil. I suggest you don't use an expensive oil such as jojoba or argan oil, because you're going to wash your hair after the swim. You can now go swimming.

If you want to add an additional layer of protection, twist the hair into sections and tie the twists together loosely if they are big enough — or wear a shower cap. After every swim, wash the hair through thoroughly, condition using a daily use conditioner, and air dry in plaits or twists.

Products to take

Keep in mind that your products may not be sold where you are going, so if you'll be gone for more than a week you will need to pack your products. But only pack products you have used before and like! Don’t forget restrictions on what quantities of liquid you are allowed in carry-on. You don’t want to throw away perfectly good product if it’s not allowed!

I made the mistake of taking a brand new, never-before-used conditioner on holiday only to find it didn't work with my hair! I was in a country that doesn't have natural hair products at all, so I had to use my oil blend (Neno Natural's Hair Growth Stimulator) to condition my hair. This was OK, but I prefer creamy conditioners because they’re better for detangling.

However, my top recommendation is to have fun and not obsess over your hair. Upon your return, give it a good deep condition to make up for any neglect.

Heather Katsonya-Woodward can be reached via her website at

On Twitter @NenoNatural

On Facebook  Long Healthy Hair

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