HAIR CARE &  TRAVEL  : Rapunzel to Rihanna
  Hair. Rarely has something been mired in such controversy (are those faux bangs? is that glossy, thick mane real or the work of extensions? Or, could that be a WIG?), myth (did she chop it off over a broken heart?) and the powerful ability to singlehandedly spark a personal revolution. It can mean change (just look at Erykah Badu through the years) or reinvention (Cat Power’s Chan Marshall and her bleached pixie style). A cut can imply resolution – Rihanna cut hers as a signifier for her ‘toughness.’ Or the memorialization of a loved one (Michelle Williams for Heath Ledger). Hair is so often laden with subtext.
Throughout history, luscious strands have garnered great power and for many, hair is considered sacred. Rapunzel, Sampson in the Old Testament, and ancient Buddhist teachings -the shaving of a monk head- all hold hair as a powerful gift to be cherished. In the Roman Imperial Period, distinctive hairstyles were worn by a limited number of people—Emperor Otho with his towering wig, Augustus’ wife Livia’s pompadour—which allow today’s scholars to identify dates on busts, coins and other artifacts.
In the modern day world, those who excel in the cutting, coloring and styling of hair are held in high regard. Just look at Orlando Pita, Garren, Chris McMillan, and Frederic Fekkai. My town, Atlanta, is home to one of the most famous and sought after hair shows on the planet, the annual Bronner Bros International Hair Show. Beginning in 1947, the show has grown over the years to bigger and better venues, with attendees traveling from all over the world to enjoy the educational classes, camaraderie and competition. Some of the most intricate and directional looks—spiraling, sculptural wigs, geometric, candy-colored cuts—come out of these shows.
Whether you’re traveling to far away lands, where perhaps sweltering heat dictates the ease of a loose sexy up-do or a damp chill in the air leaves you with late afternoon hat hair, or merely strolling the streets of your own downtown markets, the proper care and feeding of your hair should never be in question.
Take a moment to peruse my Healthy Mane Manifesto; consuming protein from red meat or dark leafy greens such as kale, broccoli and romaine lettuce help give your mane a healthy shine. A Glowing Green Smoothie provides a flavorful protein fix every morning, a refreshing source of substance for your locks. 

I use Coconut Oil about every other week as an overnight hair treatment and it delivers every time. It feeds your hair and scalp and is hydrophobic, meaning it repels water. Used as a pre-treatment before shampooing, studies show it reduces protein loss for healthy and damaged hair. Lauric acid is also present in coconut oil, and may help prevent hair loss by acting as a chelator for clogged hair follicles. Indian beauty lore says massaging your hair with a mixture of lemon juice and coconut oil every day for 15 minutes can help prevent grey hair.
Biotin is a magic supplement for skin, hair and nails. As long as you absorb vitamins well, chances are you will see an improvement in hair and nail growth. Biotin is a naturally occurring member of the B-vitamin group and can give you what you may not be getting in your diet. Swiss chard, halibut and diary foods offer biotin—or you can pick up a bottle.

Another revitalizing option is viviscal. And for the travel bound, hair products are available in travel sizes (ever spend a night in Joshua Tree without conditioner? Yikes.). As a lover of dry shampoo, nothing could be sweeter than mini versions of this miracle hair product. Especially if you are on vacation- who wants to waste time with lather, rinse and blowout? Unless you are traveling in Asia, where every street has a salon which offers a top-notch massage, wash, condition, and blow out for a few dollars…
But that’s a whole different story.


~ Laura Carson Miller
Laura Carson Miller is a freelance lifestyle writer.
February 2013