Travel Style – Hot Weather Hair Tips

In my week-long series, each post is devoted to tips on how to stay cool (or at least look cool) during hot weather travel. Today’s post is all about hot weather hair beyond the scrunchie and ball cap.

Hair is one of those things that most woman have struggled with at one time or another. One day it’s the mane of legend, falling perfectly like the Duchess of Cambridge. The next day it is out of control, when even your cowlicks have cowlicks. I think “travel hair” should be about more than pulling it into a pony tail or donning a hat. Both are fine options, but there are ways to add some style to your locks, even in the heat.

Personal note: My style choices are informed by my preference for well-coiffed but undone hair. I am not a fan of overly styled looks. You know, that “instagram” hair wound around the barrel of an iron, then loosely pulled apart. It has no individuality and is not terribly chic. It may be fine for a young girl who is surviving her school years and figuring out who she is, but for the rest of us a little individuality is a good thing.

I like hair that is an afterthought to the wearer. Hair that says, “I have so many more interesting things to do other than fuss with my hair.” Perpetually chic ladies like Audrey Tatou, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Tracee Ellis Ross, Diane Kruger, Helen Mirren, Ruth Negga, Christy Turlington and Charlotte Rampling all fall into that category. Always pulled together but never overdone. That noted, maybe you have a different style, so take my writings with a grain (or shaker) of salt.

Hot weather hair styling depends on what kind of hair you have. Is it curly, straight, coarse, fine, or all of the above? Do you wear it long, short, or somewhere in between? It can also depend on the type of environment to which you are traveling. Hot and dry or hot and humid. My tips are broken down into each type of environment and include product recommendations and style options.

Hot and Dry: When you travel to a hot and dry environment, your hair may need more moisture and it may be prone to static electricity and fly-aways. Depending on your hair type, it can also be more prone to breakage. The upside to hot and dry is that your hair will likely have more volume due to less moisture in the air.


  • Shu Uemera Ultimate Remedy Extreme Restoration – A bit pricey, but provides a surprising amount of moisture for a shampoo.
  • Lush Jungle Solid Conditioner – I am all about non-liquid products for travel convenience and this bar is a great alternative to creme rinses and conditioners. For me, the smell is a bit fruity but I do appreciate how well it works.
  • MoroccanOil Intense Hydrating Mask – This travel-sized treatment provides deep hydration for all types of hair, but if you have fine hair use it sparingly. The smell is great and it makes for a nice midday swipe to tame fly-aways.

I am all about embracing your natural texture. For me, this means to love my stick straight hair. For you, it may mean loving your natural curls. We are all beautiful so why not celebrate that beauty by playing up the texture you have?

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  • Growing out a cut or have slightly wavy hair? Work some leave-in conditioner through your strands, embrace your natural texture like Alexa Chung.

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  • Want to tame long hair? start with a hair serum and pin it back into an unfussy gathering a la Rashida Jones.

Image result for hairstyles for shoulder length hair AND vacation

  • If you don’t want to fuss with your hair, a hat (fashionable, of course) is always a good idea. I am a hat person and have several. Traveling as a minimal packer, I try to choose hats that will pack well.
    • I LOVE this one from J. Crew and the fact that it’s labeled as packable is a bonus! I just added it to my wish list!
    • This light grey stripped patrol cap looks promising, too! I prefer a patrol cap to a baseball cap because it has more style and is less sporty. My faded black patrol cap gets worn a lot!
      Women's Military Cap

Hot and Humid: When you travel to a hot and humid locale, your hair may either puff up like Monica’s or fall flat like you dunked your head in oil.  The key here is to manage the increased moisture in the air. The upside to humidity is that you need less conditioner and moisturizer and your skin may feel better (at least, mine does).


  • Kiehl’s Silk Groom Serum – I am not a hair expert, but I think this would be great on all types of hair textures. On wet hair, this helps seal out humidity and provides a ton of shine (even on coarse hair) all without weighing hair down.
  • R+Co Aircraft Mousse – This is one of my favorite products. It provides some tackiness to hair which helps build volume. A little goes a long way and the smell is nice and fresh. On wet hair, it creates grip as it dries, and on dry hair it creates a nice piecy-ness that works on straight or wavy hair.
  • Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray – I got a travel size of this in a Birchbox and it was love at first spray. I think it is a bit pricey, but two shots dirty up my clean hair just enough to give it some volume.
  • SexyHair  Spray ClaySpray Clay and Powder Play – These two products are HEAVY DUTY. Both give fine hair grip and grit. For my hair, when it has a bit of grit, it seems to attract moisture to pump up each strand instead of falling flat.  Be warned, if you use either of these, do several trials well before you leave for your trip. It is easy to use too much and then you are left with really icky hair.

Again, I recommend sticking to your natural texture and lean into the humidity. If your hair gets big, own it. If it becomes super straight, use that to make a casual off-the-neck style.

  • If you have super curly hair, glide some curl enhancer through it and rock your lion’s mane a la Solange Knowles.

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  • If your hair is coarse and wavy, work some mousse through it and let it air dry for the perfect French-inspired insouciance like Juliet Binoche.

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  • If you have hair like mine, apply some texturizing powder at the root and opt for a pin-straight, sleek low chignon like Natalie Portman.
    Image result for low messy chignon hair celebrity

What I Use: For reference my hair is just past my shoulders (currently) fine, pin-straight, and heavy. I rarely use a hair dryer or styling implement – maybe three times a year. This is partly laziness and partly that I have other things to do than fuss over my hair. You may be different but do consider forgoing a blow dry a few days a week.

When I am in hot dry conditions, I use Lush’s solid shampoo in Godiva and add a little UltraBalm to the ends or to tame strays.  The shampoo bar doesn’t count as a liquid, cleans well, and smells nice. The UltraBalm is one of my must-have products for travel and I use it for so many things, including as a hair product.

When I am in humid places, I use Lush’s Seanik shampoo bar and two of either the R+Co Mousse, SexyHair Spray Clay, Powder Play, or Tresemme Dry Shampoo. The base of squeaky clean hair, roughed up with some mousse when it’s wet, and a shot or two of dry shampoo on dry hair gives my hair enough volume to create some texture and give me more hold for a ponytail, messy bun or just worn loose with tucked behind my ear.

What do you think? Do these tips give you some ideas beyond the cap and elastics? Let me know in the comments!


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