“I am going to be out of the states for about 9 months for a job position in Tanzania. Considering the area I will be in does not have many resources, I am looking for the best long term style to keep my hair protected and growing? I will be in a village that more than likely will not have running water. Any suggestions?” – Paris
Congratulations on your assignment in Tanzania. Traveling abroad with curly hair can get scary seeing as it can be hard to find hair products suited to natural hair. Add to that a village that may have no running water and you have a bit of a scary hair situation on your hands. With that in consideration, here are four simple things you can do to make your trip more enjoyable and keep your curls in tact.
pick up a good dry or waterless shampoo
A good dry or waterless shampoo works great as a back up when regular shampooing is not possible. We like Suave Professionals Waterless Foam Shampoo, Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk or Tresemme Fresh Start Waterless Foam Shampoo. You can use them a few times a week to cleanse your scalp. Also, another trick is to cleanse your scalp with an apple cider vinegar and water mix with a 1:1/2 ratio. Because it may be hard to get your hands on the vinegar, you can use john masters organics Herbal Cider Hair Rinse & Clarifier which combines organic apple cider vinegar with rosemary, nettles, yarrow & wild cherry bark to naturally soften hair while eliminating residue buildup. You can cleanse your scalp with these by applying them directly onto your scalp and taking a soft cloth and wiping your scalp clean. Once or twice a week should do the trick.
don’t forget to moisturize
Tanzania experiences a long dry season that lasts throughout June, July, August, September and October. Because you’ll be traveling there during these months, maintaining your moisture balance will be vital to preventing dry and brittle hair that will surely lead to breakage. Since you may not have access to clean, running water, pack two 8 ounce bottles of our rosewater mixture but watch the glycerin. Glycerin can get sticky and since you can’t wash you hair as you would like, you want to avoid build up. Your mix should be no more than 75% water and or oils and 25% glycerin.
invest in a good butter and oil combination
After cleansing your scalp and adding moisture with your spritz, it’s important to make sure that your hair remains moisturized in the dry heat by sealing in your moisture. Pack a good shea butter-based cream like Shea Radiance Nourishing Hair Repair Cream and/or coconut oil or combination oil based sealing product like Clear Ultra Shea Nourishing Scalp & Hair Oil or pure jojoba oil. By using a shea-based product and light oils, you can avoid the build up you would get from using straight shea buter. These are good choices because the leave-in spray especially can be evaporated by the environment and absorbed into the hair. Without sealing in the water, this becomes problematic and can lead to breakage. Be sure to protective style by keeping your hair in box braids or twists, pulled up or pinned back.
don’t neglect your hair extensions
Keeping your hair free of added hair/extensions ensures that you’ll be able to retain as much hair as possible by allowing regular shed hair to be released from the scalp and hair as it normally would. You’ll also be able to thoroughly moisturize with water and seal all of your strands when it is available. If you do decide to braid your hair, be sure to follow our tips on how to keep your hair braided without damage. Water is the one true source of moisture so keeping the hair out of extensions but pinned up and protected in low-manipulation hair styles as much possible to ensure that your hair gets what it needs is going to be the best way to go.
Safe travels and cheers to your hair!