In the age of Instagram and capturing every single moment of your travels on camera (I almost wrote on FILM lolz!), we want to look our best, even when we’re sweating up a storm on a wildly humid day in Thailand or Mexico or anywhere else.
All of these hairstyles are quick and easy, while still making you feel put together on those days when you just need to put up your hair. Most only require a few elastic bands. Some may require a few bobby pins depending on how long your hair is.
Side braid or Twist
This is one of my go-to styles when my hair is a little bit greasy, but I don’t want to wash it just yet, it’s really frizzy from the humidity, or it’s been a sweaty morning and I need to figure something out.
It’s a super simple way to get your hair out of your face without putting it into a slicked-back ponytail that just shows off how sweaty you are.
The easiest option is to just do a twist. Part your hair the way you usually do. For me, that’s on the side. The side of your head that now has more hair on it is where you’re going to put the twist. Then I grab two pieces of hair and begin to twist and pull the hair towards the back of my head. I pick up a little bit of hair with each twist, the way you would if you were doing a French braid.
Once at the back you can stick a bobby pin into it to make sure it stays. I usually just hold it with my hand and then pull it into a ponytail. If it’s really hot, I’ll pull my hair into a low bun instead to keep the hair off of my neck.
This tutorial will show you how to make the side braid (which she calls a Dutch braid):
This was one of my go-tos when I had really long hair and I wanted to look cute while also getting my hair up. A top bun also covers the top of your head where your hair can often look the greasiest.
You can still rock a top bun if your hair is slightly shorter, just make sure you pin up the loose hairs at the back with a few bobby pins.
To make sure that the top bun sits right in the middle at the top of my head, I usually flip my head over and put it into a ponytail. Then I wrap it into a bun and tuck it into the pony tail. I try to use a bit of the hair to wrap around and tuck into the hair-tie so that you can’t see the hair-tie at all. It just makes it look a little bit more polished.
If your haircut is layered, you’ll probably need to use a few bobby pins to secure any pieces that don’t tuck into the hair-tie securely. The bun should feel night and tight so that if you move your head a little bit the bun doesn’t move. If it moves, it’s likely not going to stay securely in for your day of exploring.
This is the type of top bun I’m referring to:
A simple braid is great for a day of adventure. If you’re going to be hiking or getting out on the water, a braid is an easy way to keep your hair out of your face while still looking a little bit cute.
I recommend testing out the right braid for you. I have a pretty big head and a lot of thick hair, so French braids are not for me. They make my head look bigger and I look like a little girl. Instead, I usually pull my hair down to the nape of my neck and then braid it from there.
This has quickly become a popular alternative to the boring pony-tail. My hair is too short to do this style, but if you have long hair, the bubble ponytail is perfect. A regular ponytail for gals with long hair can be a real pain when you’re traveling all day, especially if you’re doing adventure activities. The hair can get stuck to your neck, you get tons of fly-aways and it just ends up looking a hot mess.
Instead, grab a few hair-ties and add them to your ponytail. I think it looks cutest when the ponytail starts at the middle-back of your head, but test out what works best for your face-shape. Maybe you can part your hair and pull it into a low ponytail, then start adding the rest of the hair-ties at equal distances down the pony-tail.
High Pony Tail Braid
This is another great one if you have long hair. It gives your look a little more height than a regular braid. As someone with a pretty round face, I find that this is a much better look for me than if I pull my hair back into a low braid without tying it up first. Play around with what looks best for your face shape and hair thickness.
For this one, pull your hair up into a ponytail the way you would for the top bun. Instead of wrapping it around into a bun, leave it tied as a ponytail. Then section it off into three pieces and braid it. Tie it off with one more hair-tie and voila! This is a super simple way to add more height, to keep your hair out of your face, and to add a little more interest to your hairstyle while you’re traveling.
Cut it All Off!
Drastic, for sure, but it was one of the best things I did for my travel routine. Having a short haircut (I try to keep it at chin-length) has meant I don’t have to worry much about it looking scraggly, knotty, or like I’m working on growing some dreadlocks. I don’t have to tie it up into a bun or work hard to keep it out of my face. I can wash it and let it dry and it looks pretty cute without much effort. This definitely wasn’t the case when I had long hair.
I find the maintenance of short hair to be a lot easier. When I’m traveling, I just find a place that cuts women’s hair for a reasonable price and I show them a picture of how my hair looked about a month prior. I’ve never had a truly awful haircut while on the road, but even if I did, it’s easy enough to get fixed when it’s short.
The Best Hair Products to Use While Traveling
Okay – now onto what to do to keep your hair looking fresh(ish) while you’re on the road. If you’re backpacking or traveling long term, finding your favorite products can be challenging. I try to estimate how much I’m going to need of something and bring enough to keep me going for the whole trip.
I’m not super strict about what shampoos or conditioners I use, so I just pick those up along the way. Just make sure to avoid shampoos that have Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Chloride. A lot of cheap shampoos use one or both of these ingredients and if you use them for a prolonged period of time, you’ll have sad, dry hair by the end of your trip.
These are my essential hair products that I won’t travel without
- A Hairbrush. I used to HATE brushing my hair. I’m still not a huge fan. As a gal with curls, brushing my hair usually leads to lots of frizz and looking like an 80’s pop star. Not so cool in 2018. Now I use it on the night before I’m going to wash my hair. I usually wash my hair once every two or three days depending on how greasy it looks. I use a rubber-ended brush and just work through from root to tip for about 5 minutes. I’ve noticed a huge difference in shine since I started doing this.
- Argan Oil. The old me would have rolled my eyes at this, but these days I don’t leave home without a small travel-sized bottle of argan oil. Sun, hard water, and sea salt can wreak havoc on your hair and when all three are hanging out in your hair for more than a few days at a time, you can end up with seriously dry and pretty damaged hair. This is the Argan Oil I use and love (I try to buy it in bulk whenever I’m back in the US!).
- A Prep Spray. I only recently learned about how much prep spray can save your hair when you’re out and about in the sun. I’ve tried a few different ones and find that the Bumble and Bumble one is the best value for money. It’s definitely a splurge, but I don’t use it every day. I only use it if I know I’m going to be out in the sun all day or I’m going to be going into the ocean or into a swimming pool. It just adds a layer of protection to my locks and keeps it looking fresh. Get Bumble and Bumble Prep Spray from Amazon here.
- A Hat. I am a big believer in covering up my beloved hair in the sunshine. If I’m traveling to a hot country or traveling during the height of summer, I always have at least a baseball cap, if not something that has a brim all the way around. It’s cute, covers up my greasy hair, and it protects both my hair and skin from the sun. Win-win!
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