VACATION HAIR CARE SERIES: Shopping for hair products

In my previous post, I talked about what to take with you when going on vacation.

Many ladies do a protective style for the duration of their vacation and this makes life so easy. On the other hand, some ladies want to go with their hair. This series is mainly for those ladies who are brave enough to go on vacation with their own hair.

Today, I’ll touch on how to buy hair products when you go on vacation. If you left home without any hair products, don’t fret. Read on.
If you’re holidaying in the U.S, you’re lucky! There is a plethora of hair products to buy!! You can easily stock up on brands you can’t easily get back home. Before you buy, it’s a good idea to read reviews. I usually like to go to Naturallycurly.com and Amazon.com to read reviews. You can find many good products in regular beauty supply stores but my favourite places to shop for hair products are Sally Beauty Supply, Walmart and Target. Some products, however, can only be found online. It’s a good idea to try the product before going back home because you can usually return your products to the shop.

Now, if you go to a place where African hair products are difficult to find, don’t fret. It’s time to READ ingredients.

Basic things to buy:

  1. An oil. You can get oils in any departmental store or supermarket. Olive oil is usually easy to find. If you’re lucky, you might get another type of oil. Castor oil may be found in pharmacies. You can use your olive oil to prepoo, mix with your deep conditioner and/or to seal in moisture.
  2. A shampoo. Look for one that is free of sodium lauryl sulfate or ammonium lauryl sulfate. If you can’t find any, you’ll just have to make do with your find. Dilute the shampoo before you use it and if possible, add a little conditioner to it to make it more of a cleansing conditioner. If you do intend to go swimming, you should also look for a swimmer’s shampoo. You can also look out for this ingredient: ethylendiamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA). EDTA binds with the chlorine, helping to remove it from the hair. Citric acid is also good for removing chlorine. If you don’t find any shampoo with these ingredients, a regular sulfate-shampoo might suffice.
  3. A deep conditioner. In the ingredient list, look out for:
    • Cetrimonium chloride, behentrimonium chloride and/or behentrimonium sulfate (BMTS). These usually add slip to a conditioner and give it good detangling properties.
    • Oils especially coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil and avocado oil.
    • Aloe vera, honey, glycerine. These are especially good if you have hair that easily gets dry.
    • No mineral oil or petrolatum. I’ll talk more about these soon. If you can’t find any conditioner without these ingredients, just make do anyway.
    • No silicones. If possible, it should not contain silicone. Examples of silicones are dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, amodimethicone, etc If you can’t find any conditioner that is silicone-free, you can make do with whatever you find. I’ll talk more about silicones soon. They are not all that bad but if you can do without them, it’s not a bad idea. 
    • If you do happen to have a blender with you, you could also make your own deep conditioner with foods like avocado, banana, coconut milk, yoghurt, etc. There are many recipes online.
  4. A regular cheapie conditioner for co-washing.
  5. A leave-in conditioner/moisturizer. Water should be the first ingredient. The ingredients I mentioned above (cetrimonium chloride, aloe vera, honeybehentrimonium chloride, BMTS, etc) would also be a plus. Many supermarkets have glycerine: You can also mix a little water with glycerine and oil if you can’t find any leave-in to buy. Another option is to dilute your ‘cheapie’ conditioner with water to make your leave-in conditioner.

Vacation hair tips_shopping for hair products

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