“Passport? Check. Backup charger? Check. Socks, underclothes, and rain jacket. Checked three times. Now about these hair products...” I thought to myself. I did not know how to pack for my hair. My products would weigh my luggage down and in my mind, I thought everyone carried hair products for the various hair types. I packed my two most important hair products and zipped my suitcase to completion. Upon my arrival to Spain, I was awakened by the reality that not everyone will have available products for naturally curly hair. Therefore, I had to get a bit more creative than usual to protect my hair, especially during the cold, brisk, winter weather.
For students with naturally kinky, curly hair, hair products are beloved. Unfortunately, due to their size, you may be prompted to leave them in the states. No worries! Some products can be remade with items found in the aisles of the grocery store. One product that is easy to make, not to mention crucial for the health of hair, is a deep conditioner. Deep conditioners penetrate the hair and make sure the shaft and scalp are strong and moisturized. The most essential ingredients of homemade deep conditioners are mayonnaise and eggs. Mayo has oils in it and eggs have protein. Because I love a nice moisturized scalp, I may throw in a little more oil before mixing my conditioner. After hand mixing the ingredients - yes, with my hand - I place it on my hair in sections, comb it through, and place a shower cap on for 30 minutes or so. When the time is complete, I wash it out and proceed with my wash day regimen.
Curlfriends, use study abroad as a chance to experiment with your hair. Want to try natural recipes? Go for it! Need to practice braiding? Youtube is international! See new trends on social media you want to recreate? Give it a try! For those who need specific hair products - trust me, I love my Cantu as well - I believe some places such as Spain allow Amazon shipments. Before requesting anything online though, make sure you know how mailing works in your host country!
Advice I would give any curlfriend traveling abroad is to bring at least two products you are familiar with and one extraneous styling tool you don’t think you’ll find abroad. I brought two products I knew would give me the curls I wanted regardless of the weather. I also packed flexi rods for when I wanted to change things up a bit. I packed a comb and brush, but no worries if that is forgotten, stores will carry the basics. If you are in love with gel, pack that too.
This is a part of studying abroad I did not really think about. I assumed that some brands and items in America would be sold overseas. But not to worry, it was just a little bump on a big adventure!
Author: Arlette Hawkins