It’s one of life’s great mysteries: how do celebrities manage to step off planes with beautifully flowing hair (see exhibit A to the left, Suki Waterhouse), but us mere mortals struggle with an impossible combination of frizz and grease to compliment our jetlag? Well, there are probably some good genes at play, but luckily with the right prep you too can have the hair of an A-list jetsetter – even if you can’t have the private plane…
So, why does flying play such havoc with your hair? “Just like with your skin, travelling can have a negative impact on your hair,” explains Robert Eaton, creative director at Russell Eaton salons in Leeds and Barnsley, and the Most Wanted Colour Expert of 2016. “Aeroplanes rely on circulated air and this can lead to your hair drying out. High altitudes are also known to cause hair to lose moisture. Combine those two factors with nylon seat covers and lots of static electricity and you can end up with locks that are dry, frizzy and full of flyaways.”
Jennifer Linton and J Macdonald, co-directors of Linton & Mac in Aberdeen, recommend wearing your hair in a braid while you travel – it keeps your hair out of the way and also ensures perfect holiday hair upon landing. “Wash your hair the night before you travel, prep the hair with L'Oréal Professionnel Tecni Art Pli and then braid the hair while it’s still damp. Travel with your hair braided and once you arrive at your destination your hair will be perfectly wavy and beach ready,” they advise.
And if your hair is prone to static as you fly, consider bringing along retro accessory. “Always have a soft scrunchie with you or a silk headscarf to wrap hair on long haul flights,” suggests Mark Caswell, salon director at Umberto Giannini. “The silk will help keep hair smooth and stop damage and frizz showing its ugly face with all that dehydration and rough fabrics.”
All through the flight, repeat this mantra – hydration, hydration, hydration, from the inside out. “It’s important to remember that water makes up one-fourth of the weight of a strand of hair, so keep yourself well hydrated with water throughout the flight,” says Robert Eaton. “For extra moisture, pop a mini hair oil in your hand luggage to give your hair a nourishing boost throughout the journey. Not only will the hair oil add nourishment to the hair, but it will also help tame any stray flyaways too.” Moroccanoil's Treatment is a classic and comes in a 25ml travel size – well under the rules for airport security.
If you feel a bit grubby after a flight, make sure you’ve got a dry shampoo to hand to freshen up. “Planes can be rather grimy, leaving hair dull and flat come landing – especially on a long-haul flight where you may fall asleep,” says trichology expert Annabel Kingsley. “To refresh your scalp, brighten colour, banish odour and replenish volume, apply a lightweight dry shampoo with scalp benefits in sections to your root area. Leave for a few minutes and gently brush through.” Try Philip Kingsley's One More Day Dry Shampoo, which is kind to the scalp.