Everything really is better on vacation. And that includes my hair. There is no Monica on Friends when they go to Barbados frizziness happening for me. My hair is glorious and I want it to look like this every day of my life.
It's like the world is totally turned on end and humidity becomes a good thing for me. One thing is for sure island humidity is NOT the same as city humidity as evidenced by the photo of my beachy waves.
A few months ago I took a trip to St. Lucia, all by my lonesome. Can I get off topic for just one second and tell you that if you EVER have the chance to take a solo vacation, you must must must do it. Sure, it's a little intimidating but so empowering.
This was the first real vacation I'd taken in years and years (see: that pesky credit card debt I've mentioned a couple times) and I was going through a super stressful time at my then job.
I needed a vacay in the worst way and decided I was going to fly solo as a bit of a challenge to myself and also because it was so last minute I knew none of my friends would likely be able to join. A travel editor friend recommended this place The Body Holiday in St. Lucia that is all-inclusive, has tons of voluntary (and totally not cheesy) activities, and includes a spa treatment every day (!!!) -- just what I desperately needed. At first I was worried that I would be walking into some insane Club Med situation like I'd seen in movies and corny TV commercials. Luckily I was so wrong and this place was warm, friendly and totally chic.
I quickly learned that stepping out of your comfort zone is sometimes the best way to forget about everything that's weighing you down in real life. I took morning ocean swims, played tennis for the first time in 15 years, made new friends and spent evenings singing with them at the piano bar (and trust me when I tell you that I usually only sing in the car on trips to LA, aka the only place I ever drive), read basically a book a day (PS: If you haven't read Marisha Pessl's "Night Film" I highly recommend it), and didn't check my work email once. It was awesome. (Sadly, I did NOT get her groove back in the Stella sense of things, but that's the only downside.) And I can't wait to go back.
Maybe my hair knew how relaxed I was and decided to go with the flow and look just as perfect as my mood. Or perhaps I'm must meant to live the island life and let the salt air do its thing on my hair. Who hasn't had the dream of running away to the beach and living a way simpler existence?
Alas, I am not independently wealthy and one week of paradise was all I could afford. My relaxation faded quickly but I definitely took some good life lessons away from that week on my own. And I'm also dead set on figuring out how to make my hair look like that at home, especially as we head into winter and I'll be dreaming often of my island times.
I asked some stylists I know about how to recreate vacation hair when you're no longer on vacation.
Super stylist Andy Lecompte (This is the man who is allowed to touch Madonna's hair, so you know, he's awesome) gave me this advice:
"Vacation hair is great for two reasons. The first is humidity and second is the minimal effort put into it. Here are couple ways to re-create vacation hair without actually leaving your house. Apply a great oil –- like Wella Professionals Oil Reflections –- in the shower when your hair is soaking wet and shake it dry without combing or brushing your hair. Then blot the hair, but let it dry as you would on vacation.
If hair is too clumpy once its dry, lightly tousle it with your fingers for the perfect look. If you need more texture and hold to your hair, I suggest misting the hair with Wella Professionals Ocean Spritz, which gives hair a more ocean/beachy quality.
Another tip for vacation hair is to add a mist of water to dry hair and scrunch the damp hair to add humidity to your hair more like when on vacation."
And Butterfly Studio Salon (one of my NYC favorites) ownder Kattia Solano told me:
"Shampoo and condition hair as normal and add a bit of a moisturizing mask to the ends but do not rinse. The key to creating great vacation waves right out of the shower is to towel dry your hair by scrunching from tip to root and then wrapping your hair in a turban and let dry for about 10 minutes.
Then apply a light cream or serum onto the ends, I love the Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Cream, and follow by misting a beach spay all over such as the Oribe Beach Après Wave Spray. I prefer to dry natural but if you have to blow dry just defuse gently.
Once hair is dry, shake it gently and apply a few more spritz of your beach spray for added shine and hold. You can extend this beachy vacation look by wrapping hair in a very loose high bun at night before sleeping on it."
Needless to say I will be testing out all of the above methods asap. Do you love your vacation hair as much as I do? Share your tips/tricks for recreating it below.