“Yo, we out to PR real quick”, said my dear friend known as “Rookie”.
Before I even purchased my flight, I immediately thought about how I was going to wear my hair with what outfits.
Some call it “girly”, I call it knowing that I’m going to write a post on my trip so I need my hair to be on point for the pictures.
We all know maintaining your hair in general is a job in itself, so just imagine when you’re on vacation on a tropical island. The sun and water we once loved turns into our worst enemy when we’re away from our natural habitat. The sun produces UVA and UVB rays that can damage the hair cuticle. Your hair can become dry- this is even riskier when you have colored hair like me.
As much as I love the pool and the beach, I had to be careful. While I don’t care about wetting my hair (because I wet it often), the chlorine from the pools and salt from the beaches care even less. While there are ways to coat your hair before going for a swim like sealing it with a hair mask, deep conditioner, or coconut oil, it is possible to forget. You also don’t want to wash your hair all the time, so if coconut oil makes your hair super greasy (like it does to me), this creates an inconvenience for you and your hair. Washing your hair takes on average 20-30 minutes and depending on how long it takes to dry, you can wait hours until its reached your desired result, resulting in an unwanted wash-and-go for the time being.
When I was in Puerto Rico, I had a mental schedule of how often I was going to wash my hair. I initially planned about twice which turned into about four times. I washed it after the pool, the beach, jet skiing, and one morning because my hair had flattened out too much (guess those mojitos took over my body and didn’t allow me to even wrap my hair overnight).
I was also a fan of wrapping my hair for the water during the trip. I avoided dipping my head in at first, but once I got on that jet ski and the splashing waves had no mercy for my wrap, I knew it was over. At one point my wrap literally almost flew off my head while I was speeding through the Isla Verde waters, luckily I grabbed it on time. Oh, and what about when I flew off the banana boat? Yeah…that wasn’t pretty. By the time my hair was drenched in that super salty water, I knew I was in for a deep, deep conditioning session afterwards.
Once I got back to my AirBNB and hopped in the shower, I almost had a fight with my detangling comb. If it had any hands, it would’ve definitely squared up with me. With that being said, I had a rough time detangling my hair because it was brittle at the moment. Extra deep conditioner was needed if not, I would’ve ripped all my hair out. I learned my lesson, though. Although I deem myself a curly hair guru, I break the rules sometimes. For the future, I just have to be strict with myself on how imperative it is to keep your hair hydrated, especially on a tropical vacation.
My other issue with my hair is the time it takes to dry- it literally takes over seven hours for my hair to successfully dry the way I want it to. I prefer my hair puffy which is why I raise the standards so high. I feel it’s not at its full potential when it’s semi-wet so I hope you understand my struggle when I’m trying to look cute for the ‘gram, but it just isn’t working.
The best way to allow your curls to define is to let them air dry instead of diffusing. That way they’ll work on their own without any manipulation, which causes frizz. So if your hair is like mine and takes forever and two days to dry, I hope you’re an early bird because it might benefit you to wake up earlier in the day so your hair can be how you want it by the evening.
My best experience on the island was visiting El Morro, a historical landmark I’ve only seen in pictures and never thought I would see in person. The view of the ocean, the Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis cemetery overlooking the shantytown of La Perla was just beautiful. I promise you pictures won’t do this justice. I enjoyed every minute of this sightseeing tour except the strong winds all up in my hair. I couldn’t even properly see or take pictures without my hair flying in my face.
While I am aware that nature takes its course, especially by the ocean, my hair was super frizzy afterwards in which messed up my anticipated do for the night. It wasn’t the end of the world, obviously. Just wanted to make you are all aware of minor and unexpected inconveniences that come with wanting to sport your curls flawlessly on vacation.
I had similar experiences when I traveled to Miami and Jamaica- the water is so tempting and sometimes you just want to take a dip without taking precautionary measures. I must say, the sun definitely lightened my hair in which some streaks turned white. There are lots of other options out there on how to wear your curls on vacation. Opt for wraps (secure them tightly with bobby pins), pushed back curly ponytails, and even curly hair gels to keep your hair intact. If you like the puffier look, avoid dipping your full head into water and try to stay away from winds (if possible). However, don’t forget to enjoy your vacation and don’t make your hair the biggest priority. After all, you’ll always have your hair after the trip but you will not be able to relive the same memories.