‘Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85’ – Mary Schmich,
As much as I love the sun, sadly the sun doesn’t really reciprocate that love very often. I’m pale and fair and freckly which means I only have to think about the hot sun and I burn to within an inch of my life and turn a wholly unattractive puce colour in the process. Nevertheless I’m not one to be beaten and on 17th September off we went on our annual sun holiday. I was going to try something different this time though.
I’d recently read an Instagram post by Lou Teasdale (who’s Harry Styles’ hairdresser) who said that when you go on holiday you need to give your hair a holiday too and I thought that was interesting. And let’s be honest, anyone who can tame Harry’s curly mop must be worth listening to!
My hair always turns to straw as soon as the sun hits it (a combination of it being incredibly fine and dyed blonde) and, becoming sick of the perpetual graduated bob I’ve had it cut into for the last 2 years, I’ve decided to grow it out for a change. So giving it a bit of a break seemed like a good idea. I read further down the post and saw she’d advised against using heat appliances for the duration of your holiday. Wait, WHAT?! Is that even possible?! That sounds crazy and like something only girls with amazing hair are able to get away with (in the same way that it’s only thin girls who say that weight doesn’t matter or rich people say money isn’t everything).
So i dismissed it for a while until the weather got a little hotter for a change in the UK and i was going through the painstaking task of trying to dry and straighten my hair in the heat. I was getting so frustrated that the back of my neck was getting so sweaty my hair was kinking out in a billion different directions that I questioned whether it would be possible to sustain this sweaty mess of a routine for two weeks in the 30 degree Greek heat. I didn’t want to be going out for my nightly retsina and gyros in a huff with my hair so I revisited the idea of not taking any heat appliances in holiday with me at all. Then if i don’t take them I’ll just have to persevere.
I enlisted the help of my hair and make up guru Helena who works at Beauty Bay and she hooked me up with everything I was going to need to keep my tresses in tact without the use of a hair dryer or straighteners. Without her help I really wouldn’t have had a clue where to start, I also read reviews of things on Boots online for shampoo and moisturiser recommendations and started to slowly build up my ‘surfer girl hair’ survival kit. In the days before leaving I still dilly dallied over whether to take my travel straighteners with me ‘just in case’ but figured that the extra bottle of factor 30 suntan cream was probably more important!
Here’s what my survival kit consisted of:
For my hair:
John Frieda Beach Blonde Cool Dip Purifying Shampoo and Conditioner
I’ve never used this before although have always been a fan of John Frieda’s stuff since they started doing a tamer version of frizzease that didn’t turn your hair greasy. The fact that this shampoo and conditioner has mint in is a life saver after a long day by the pool, it really cools your head down and makes your hair feel light and fresh. It also feels like you’re getting a good clean; getting rid of all the suntan cream and chlorine that gotten int there throughout the day. Whether it makes your hair nice and soft though I’m not so sure and in hindsight I probably should have brought some leave in conditioner with me as well.
A waterproof hair oil that protects the hair from sun exposure (it has UV filetrs in it), chlorine, sand, wind and salt water. I’m always the girl who forgets to wear a hat or a head band and end up with a sizzled scalp because you just can’t put suntan cream in your hair (and I confess I did try once!). Thankfully, this allows for that, the directions say to spray it on wet hair but mine is usually dry when I first go in the sun in the morning so ignored that and carried on regardless. It smells lovely and when I got in the shower at the end of the day I could feel my hair felt less dry and straw like. It’s a little on the greasy side for my liking and makes my hair feel a bit dirty throughout the day but that’s better than getting a frazzled hairline I suppose. It does glitter in the sun a little bit as well, which is pretty!
Now, the salt spray. I don’t think I’ve ever used a hair product that I’ve been so impressed with in my life and this has undoubtedly saved my holiday. Salt spray apparently mimics the texture that seasalt gives to your hair to make those ever coveted beach waves and also acts as a light holding spray so once your hair has dried naturally, it keeps it in place. I’ll admit I was dubious and thought it was just one of those hair fads but I was so pleased with the results of mine. Don’t get me wrong it took a while to get used to my hair (which has always had a natural kink to it) so curly but the spray was so easy to use. I would sit with a towel round my head for 10 minutes then scrunch my hair up and spray the ends with sea salt et voila! Beachy waves in an instant. It saved me so much getting ready time, not to mention saving me loads of stress and tantrums about over heating in our airconditionless apartment!
As well as giving my hair a holiday I figured it would probably be a good idea to do the same with my skin. I’ve learnt the hard way over the years to stop pretending I can get away with only wearing factor 15 in Ionian heat. So I stocked up on loads of sun friendly products for my skin as well:
Simple Regeneration Age Resisting Day Cream and Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Facial Sun Protection (Factor 30)
I’m disappointed with this Simple day cream because I love everything else of theirs in this range (not least because it has a slight whiff of Jack Daniels about it – I presume it’s the Green Tea). It has an SPF of 15, which is great but the texture is way too much like sun cream it feels too thick and claggy. I’ve been using it as an after sun after my shower at the end of the day and it feels like it takes ages to soak in and is way too thick on my face for this heat. It’s all i brought with me so don’t want to stop using it but really wish I’d brought their Replenishing Moisturiser which I have in abundance at home – it’s much nicer!
I bought the No7 facial suncream because I’m bloody sick and tired of having loads of wrinkles despite being only 33. It’s not cheap (usually £14.95 for 50ml) but i got it in an offer of two for £18 plus had one of those No7 £5 off vouchers so actually got two bottles cheaper than the full price of one – sweet! I love the high SPF factor, with my complexion you need it and the fact that it’s anti aging as well (which sadly I also need). It’s not cheap; I thought that one 50ml bottle would last me two weeks but I should have brought both in hindsight. It remains to be seen as to whether it’s actually doing any good, but we’ve been here almost a week I’ve managed to catch the sun without getting burnt so SPF 30 for the win!
Lou recommends being make up free for the duration of your holiday, but she’s stunning and my make up free face has been known to scare small children so that’s not really an option for me. There’s something about being on holiday that makes me want to revert back to all my old make up staples, probably because it’s not really an environment you want to be trying new things. The Radiance Balm (Superdrug Naturally Radiant Radiance Balm – discovered when it was reviewed in one of my Mum’s Sunday magazines as the only cream in the world that will hide your hangover skin) powder (Collection Sheer Loose Powder), eye shadow (Seventeen Smokey Eye Trio in Enchanted) and mascara (Maybelline Great Lash) are all things I’ve been using off and on since I was about 14. Benefit stuff I dip in and out of, I do like them, i just find them way over priced, and their social media schtick is insanely patronizing. This little travel sized blusher (Sugarbomb) is ideal though and last well all night.
So there you go! For someone who’s always been so intensely vain about her hair and looks, who’d have thought I’d be one day on holiday without any heat appliances any more. Perhaps as I get older I’m getting happier about my looks, or perhaps i give less of a crap about what people think these days. Either way, this hair holiday has been a good thing. The time I’ve saving doing my hair I’m now spending on the balcony drinking Retsina so look out for a post about my alcoholism coming soon!