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My one vanity on the road: curly hair

Posted by on September 9, 2011
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I’m more than ready to leave behind the excess and embrace the low maintenance, but I must admit, there’s one thing I’m feeling a bit vain about, and it’s my curly hair. (I’m taking four T-shirts, a couple pairs of shorts and a dress as the majority of my year-long wardrobe; I think I’m allowed one vanity!) Since I refuse to take a hair dryer, flat iron or curling iron—if I’m going to do this trip, I’m going to do it right—I’m trying to reconnect with my curly hair roots.

It’s been a while since I wore my hair au natural (New York weather wasn’t very forgiving), so in effort to get my hair regimen down pat for this year of traveling, I gave up on the heat styling this summer. There was a lot to test out: Which product? How much? What about frizz control?

Yes, I too thought I was being ridiculous, but the wonderful travel blogger Kate of Adventurous Kate made me feel a little less silly with her post about traveling around the world with curly hair. Validation! Huzzah!

See, I’ve had a long and storied history with my natural curls. Exhibit A, 2 years old:

Just your average brown Shirley Temple.

Exhibit B, 5 years old:

That was when my mom sent me to school in pigtails after BRUSHING OUT MY CURLS. (FYI, that’s a cardinal sin.)

Let’s fast forward to high school:

Senior portrait, in which girls hold faux roses in the most awkward of positions. As you can see, I usurped hair care control from my mom, and I think (hope) it paid off—except I do sort of look like I’m wearing a wet mop. I carried on with my curls to college in Chicago, where, apparently, the sub-zero temps were just right for my hair. Who knew?

After a summer of trying out different hair product recipes, I think I’ve settled on Aveda Be Curly (see left, me yesterday, a good hair day) if only because I bought a huge tube and need to finish it. (Unfortunately, my Frizz-Ease probably won’t fit in my toiletry bag. Can’t wait for the humidity in Asia!)

Of course, I’m not completely serious about all this. Who cares about my hair when we’re in amazing places, seeing amazing things and meeting amazing people? In all likelihood, I’ll throw my hair into a bun every day because it’ll be too darn humid to wear it down. And as Kate said, these new countries and their climates might actually do wonders for my hair. Just like we plan to sample local food, local culture and local customs, how about local hair care? More often than not, homegrown products are superior to the mass market brands.

And so there’s the one thing I’m going to be vain about. Laugh if you want, but I think it’s nice to have just one superficial thing to dwell on while sleeping in 8-person hostels, sharing a bathrooms with dozens and getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. Don’t tell me I’m the only one who thinks about these things?

–Archana

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3 Responses to My one vanity on the road: curly hair

  1. Leif Harum

    Hey you guys,
    Im excited for your adventure! Your site looks really good as well. Well written and interesting articles.
    My buddy and I started a group on Facebook called emerging travel bloggers. Its a pretty small group and we have this method worked out where we support each others posts through the group. If you guys want to join, let me know. Also, I put a link up my in blogroll here, http://www.runawayguide.com/runaway-travel-links/
    It would be sweet if you could do the same for me.
    Cheers,
    Best,
    Leif

  2. Eaman & Archana

    Thanks so much, Leif! Your blog is great, too — we added you to our blogroll! And we’d definitely be interested in joining the Facebook group. Let us know how either via Twitter or our contact email!

    Happy travels!

  3. Aruna Shulha

    Hi Archana, I saw your status on Facebook and saw that you guys are travelling for a year, so exciting! I’m wishing the both of you a lot of fun and adventures…but stay safe!

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