Prepare the hair

When faced with the challenge of having only a hand luggage-sized amount of gear with me for the next year, my first thought was not, ‘What clothes am I going to take?’ (although more on the dramas of zip-off trousers and walking sandals another day), it was, ‘What on earth will I do with my hair?’

Ah, my hair. It is a difficult beast to describe. Let’s just say this mass of curls and fluff has been both the joy and bane of my life. Its main problem is its unpredictability…

I have tried endless products, techniques, cuts and online advice to try and tame it, but in the end it will always do what it wants. In recent years, I have become what is known in the secret underground curly universe as a ‘curly girl‘, eschewing all sulphates and silicones in hair products in favour of natural ingredients only. This has seen me give up shampoo in favour of co-washing (washing hair with conditioner only), and then onto scrapping both shampoo and conditioner and washing with bicarbonate of soda and white wine vinegar, followed by simply choosing shampoos and conditioners that contained no baddies. This has been a challenging journey, but one which has certainly made my curls happier – if no less unpredictable.

Anyway, back to the point of the story. Travelling. With no liquids over 100ml allowed in my luggage, as well as the 7kg weight limit, shampoo and conditioner (at least on the industrial scale that I use them) are a no go. Of course, I could just wait and hope that wherever we end up staying, there will be shampoo and conditioner provided. However, inevitably these will not be ‘natural’ products and will go against all the good work I have done in adjusting my hair to following the ‘curly girl’ method. So, I decided to order a natural shampoo bar, favoured by travellers worldwide.

And so it arrived, and sat in my bathroom cabinet for approximately four weeks, before finally, given the safety blanket of half term, I tried it yesterday.

Initially, I was very pessimistic. I followed the instructions of rubbing it into my hands like a normal soap bar, and then massaging into my hair, but I couldn’t get it to foam. So instead, I tried rubbing it down the lengths of my hair. Although this meant I seemed to be applying much more than was instructed (I do have a lot of hair so maybe that’s ok?) it worked, and lo and behold, I was lathering up just as one would with any ‘normal’ shampoo.

And now? Well, I am a complete convert. The only time I have gone back to liquid shampoo was to use up the dregs of any bottles I had that were unfinished. My hair feels clean, bouncy, curly as ever and

It is worth noting that when I tried it without conditioner, my hair became greasy much quicker than normal (not ideal), so I have been using liquid conditioner afterwards. I have recently ordered a solid conditioner bar, although it was much harder to come by one of these that only contained natural ingredients. However, this is the one I found, and I will review it when it has arrived in the post.

Oh, and one other thing… I decided to let James cut my hair; I thought it would be easier to tame when we’re away if it’s shorter. It seemed like a sensible idea at the time.



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