Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ask the Non-Blonde: Avoiding "Plane Hair"

Lisa from Boston is asking:
"My hair seems to be like yours: long, wavy and very thick. It's quite dry, but I'm good at keeping it shiny and happy. Except when I travel. Do you have any advice about how to keep hair from becoming frizzy, smelly and dry?"

I know the feeling. Flights aren't exactly a trip to the spa, with their germy, dry, recycled air. This is the one occasion I slather thick coats of products over every part of me, from hair to feet. So, the answer is in the goop.

I wash my hair a few hours before boarding the plane (the night before, if it's obscenely early), and work a considerable amount of a rich hair cream into it. I like Carol's Daughter hair balm, because it's very moisturizing and a little of it is more than enough. Also, the very strong scent wards off airplane smells. You do need to be careful and not overdo it with this product, as if your hair is not very thick, it'll get stringy/greasy. But the right amount for the right hair would do the job. You can also pick a drugstore leave-in conditioner (TreSemme anti-frizz smoothing creme or Garnier Fructis. Both are good, but I don't like their scents), and do the same.

Once thoroughly gooped, I put my hair up in a (big, heavy) bun and forget about it until I reach my destination. A quick wash and my hair is as happy and shiny as ever, no trauma and no need for a rescue treatment.

Image: 'La Bell Dame Sans Merci' by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917). That's one interesting use for long hair.


  1. This was interesting! I don't think I've ever had a problem with "Plane Hair" per se, although I do have many hair problems, ugh. Have a great trip!

  2. You know, I've never tried that but I'll try it out next time I fly. Usually I'm more worried about my face and lips. My face gets so irritated it starts to break out when I fly, and dry lips just drive me utterly nuts. Thankfully I usually remember to drop a little tube of moisturizer and some Burts Bees lipbalm in my bag when I fly. But the hair, that I had never managed to avoid. Mine is thick and frizzy anyway so when I get on a plane, forget it.

  3. Great advice!...my hair is a punishment for whatever I done in my previous lives:-)) - it is dry, curly=frizzy and very thin and I'm living in Sweden where air humidity is very high...I need to use several product for my hair to look like normal.


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