One of our Laufty friends posted the question: “How do you handle the girl’s hair when you are on vacation?” She was wondering if she needs to add extensions to her little girl’s hair to allow her to swim frequently. Depending on the texture and length of your natural curly kid, this could offer a swimming solution. However, while I like to use protective styles for my vacation hair to save time and to avoid shringkage, I do not find it necessary to add hair to my biracial daughter’s hair for a trip.  We adjust our routine by doing less complicated protective styles. Knowing that we will wash daily, we don’t futz over braiding and unbraiding.  We revert our styles to simple braids and buns.

natural hair styles

Sun and swimming elements and how they affect natural curls.

This vacation we split our time between Orlando and Clearwater Beach Island.  We swam in both the ocean and the pool.  We recognize that we are adding elements to our routine that have dehydrating effects on our hair.  The sun exposure, swimming in salt, fresh or chlorinated water.   Our vacation hair routine is an exception to the rules.  While we typically stretch the days between washing our curls to avoid stripping them of moisture, we wash immediately after we swim.

The time we were spending creating fabulous protective styles in the winter will be converted to injecting moisture to combat the elements of our beach vacation.  We certainly are washing instead of co-washing our hair after any water activities.  I recommend a conditioning shampoo after contact with chlorinated water.  We also uphold this wash day policy for salt water pools.  From my understanding of shocking our hot tub, salt water pools are still sanitized with chemicals.  Chemicals we want to remove from our hair.

Treatments for swimming with naturally curly hair.

Deep conditioning weekly with our Swurly Microfiber Towels to lock in moisture is a given. When our hair starts to look dull, feel brittle or dehydrated, we acknowledge those signs.  For instance, shortly after wash day if it feels dry or constantly frizzy, then we know it’s had enough exposure to the elements and it’s time to call in the big guns.  Try an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse, Steam Session or Hot Oil Treatment to inject more moisture to counteract swimming and sun.

We choose simpler styles in heavy swimming periods for many reasons. I want ease when we are washing more often. Whether its sand, dirt or sunscreen we remove any product that is sitting on the hair shaft that isn’t nourishing.  Examples of easy protective styles:  Pigtails, Quad Braids, Braided Headband, and Buns!

crochet braids and easy hairstyles for curly hair

Here are the vacation hair maintenance tips:

  1.  Daily washing with a nourishing shampoo on vacations with heavy swimming is best practices, using a clarifying shampoo at the end of the vacation to revive curls.
  2. Tie the hair up for swimming:
  3. Spray hair with a water/conditioner blend right before swimming.  When you fill up the hair cuticle with this blend there is less space for the pool or ocean water to soak in.
  4. Layer and Seal with oil.  After you wash and condition the hair make sure to layer with a leave in conditioner, curl definer and oil.
  5. Sleep on silk to preserve moisture, simple protective styles and definition overnight.

Need more hydration?  Read this post on end of the swim season check out these techniques to add to your wash day.