It’s 2019 so allow me to start off with some encouragement: Appreciate the crown on your head. As a natural, it’s important to remember why you started this journey, what you love most about your curls, and what motivates you to stay natural. It ain’t easy but it’s most definitely doable.
When I first transitioned, I was done with the perms, flat irons, and unnatural products that were just too unethical for my hair (yuck!). But after a few days, I was like, “what do I do now?” After numerous trial-and-error hairstyles, products, and wash n’ go’s, I finally got the groove of my curls and most importantly, I finally had a definite idea of what my hair liked and didn’t like. But as a natural and a budget traveler, it’s tedious having to juggle two priorities at the same time. Not to mention, the winter season shows no mercy for our curls. *cringgggeeeeee*
This month on Going Natural, I decided to hit up one of my favorite black female bloggers, TravelJewels, to inquire about her natural hair regimen while on the go. Exposed to various cultures in her neighborhood in NYC, Jewels began traveling during her college career. She’s a public health professional & world traveler who’s traveled to 30 countries in only 8 years. Secure in faith and motivated through both her passions, TravelJewels shares both her experiences and trips on her personal blog, TravelJewels.
Read our conversation below to learn about TravelJewels’s natural hair regimen, backstory, and advice for you!
1. How long have you been natural? If you transitioned, what was your experience like?
I’ve been natural since 2010! I transitioned by getting my ends clipped more frequently (once a month vs. once every four months). My transition experience was filled with a lot of trial and error. I read so many articles and watched so many YouTube videos trying to figure out what worked for me. It also took a lot of mental work too. I didn’t always feel as beautiful and confident in my curly hair as I did with my straight hair. This feeling was really exacerbated during my transition, where my hair had a lot of wtf moments. But, the long journey was worth it because now my hair is flourishing more than ever in both it’s natural and straightened states. And most importantly, I feel good wearing my hair both ways.
2. We love a travelin’ naturalista and your curls are gorgeous. What’s your natural hair regimen when you travel?
My travel natural hair regimen actually starts before I travel. I apply a home-made bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar mask to my hair. It cleanses my scalp, moisturizes my hair, and defines my curls. It gives me a good baseline for my trip. I tend to do wash and go’s while traveling. I spritz my hair with water and apply a leave-in conditioner to maintain its moisture. I sleep in a pineapple bun and my satin scarf at night.
3. What’s your favorite go-to products while on the go? What hair products do you recommend?
My life-saving hair tools while on the go are my Denman brush, a spray bottle, a toothbrush (to lay these edges), and a silk scarf. I absolutely love Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Castor Oil leave-in conditioner. Also, Camille Rose’s Cleansing Ginger Shampoo, Conditioning Custard, and their Curl Maker Gel. I use Now’s Jojoba oil as my sealant and coconut oil as a moisturizer.
4. You’ve traveled to 5 continents and visited 30 countries which is incredible since you’ve done it in a span of 8 years. You’ve experienced various cultures, traditions, people but my main question is: How did you maintain your natural hair in each region, considering the fact that each region has various climates and specific weather conditions?
I paid attention to how my hair responds in each climate and adjusted my routine accordingly. Really dry places suck the moisture from your hair; so I tend to use more jojoba oil, an anti-humectant, that prevents my hair from drying out. I also would apply more moisturizing cream in drier climates. My routine is simpler in humid climates. I tend to use lighter creams and use light oil or moisturizer to maintain my hair in humid places.
5. What’re your favorite protective styles to rock during the winter?
Buns are my go-to protective style for the winter. They are easy and require low manipulation. I regularly shift between high and low buns so I’m alternating the stress on my hair. It also pairs nicely with ear muffs.
6. In each continent that you’ve been to, were there instances where your hair was deemed as ‘alien’ to locals? What are some challenges you’ve encountered with your natural hair while on the go?
With the exception of Africa, every continent I’ve been to my curly hair was definitely an anomaly. But, I’ve personally only experienced positive reactions to my hair. People tend to be genuinely in awe and curious about it. I know with this curiosity sometimes come unwanted behaviors like random people touching your hair. This hasn’t happened to me, but I know a few naturalistas who have experienced this. I’ve also willingly taken pictures with so many people while traveling. But, I’ve also caught many people sneaking pictures of me.
7. What are some last minute bad-hair-day tips for naturalistas on Shut Up & Go?
Headbands, scarfs, and statement earrings! Whenever my hair isn’t cooperating, I either put it in a high bun with a headband or cover it up with a scarf. Statement earrings add little more flavor to the look.
Meet Jewels: Jewels Rhode is a public health professional who combines her love for her desired field with travel. She traveled to 30 countries in only 8 years and aspires to add more to her growing bucket list! She writes about her multi-cultural experiences on her blog, TravelJewels. Keep up with her on IG and FB.
Comment your favorite naturalista below so we can interview them next!