Until recently I would have described my hair as ‘very curly’, however according to the NaturallyCurly website, it looks like I only have 2B/2C wavy hair. Being told I only have wavy hair is a shock to the 8-year-old me who would always get cast as Scary Spice in living room Spice Girls performances.
Back then, I had no idea how to style my hair so it would just end up one large frizzy mess, in fact, up until the age of 18, I didn’t realise you shouldn’t brush curly / wavy hair once it is dry.
I ‘suffered’ with my curly hair throughout primary school and part way through high school, until GHD’s were invented – and from then on, I religiously straightened my hair. Rain and humidity were my enemy as it would send my poker straight hair into a frizz ball and ruin the hours I had spent styling my hair.
My obsession with my GHD’s was bad – in fact, I remember going on holiday with my parents to Lanzarote when I was 16 and refusing to go in the pool as I didn’t want to get my hair wet and then have to spend hours straightening out my curls/waves/frizz (whatever you want to label my hair) that evening.
Learning to Live Without Straighteners
I was 2 weeks into a trip through Central America about 8 years ago when my straighteners broke in my bag (one of the tongs literally snapped in two) and I was faced with the horrifying revelation that I would have to cope for the remaining 4 weeks without any straighteners. For the rest of the trip, I did cope without my straighteners – although I didn’t exactly embrace my wavy/curly hair either – I tied my hair up in a bun and used a headband to hold any frizz back.
The next year I headed to Tanzania for a couple of weeks (with my hair dryer and straighteners) and I switched between curly and straight hair.
Fast forward 3 years and I am departing on a round the world trip, complete with straighteners and hairdryer in my backpack (much to the annoyance of my partner – Ben).
Our first stop was India and as you can imagine – it was hot and humid. After India, we headed to South East Asia – again, hot and humid. Needless to say, after 4 months of carrying a hairdryer and straighteners around with me, but only using them once (on NYE), I was ready to throw them out. It was simply a waste of time to even try to straighten my hair most of the time, as within 5 minutes of stepping outside, the humidity would undo all of the time spent getting it straight.
Once I arrived in Malaysia, I chose to ship my straighteners and hairdryer back to the UK (together with a number of Lonely Planet books (currently 3 for 2 online!) I had gathered along the way and wanted to keep to add to my collection). I thought the postage cost was reasonable (£19), however I learnt an important lesson…
If you are backpacking in hot / humid countries then leave your straighteners / hair dryer at home.
I would actually go one step further and say do not pack your straighteners / hair dryer if you are backpacking. Full stop. To any country – humid or not.
I do appreciate that those of you who use your GHD’s every single day will take some persuading (I was the same) and will probably need to come to the conclusion on your own, however my main reasons were:
- I did not want to spend 1-2 hours straightening my hair either after a busy day sightseeing, or before a busy day sightseeing. I like my sleep and I do not want to spend any longer in my room than necessary – there are so many new things to see and places to explore.
- After 5 minutes of stepping outside into humidity, my hair would start to curl and frizz – undoing my hard work.
- A hair dryer and a straightener adds weight to my backpack (I hate heavy backpacks – they are just not practical).
- In a hot climate, in a room without airconditioning, the last thing I wanted to do was to use heat to style my hair and warm myself up even more.
- I am actually starting to like the way I look with curly hair!
I am planning to share my favourite curly / wavy hair products soon – watch this space.