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Inside: 10+ gray hair summer travel essentials for women
Summertime travel is fun and exciting and often requires less fuss than traveling during the colder months. However, if you are a silver sister, it is important to pack a specific set of travel essentials that cater to the unique needs of gray hair.
After all, you’ve worked hard for that gorgeous head of silver hair, and I’m sure you’ll want to protect it and keep it looking its best while you’re away from home.
My approach to packing for trips is to pack light while ensuring that I don’t forget anything important. (I’m still embarrassed about the time I packed 7 pairs of shoes for a 3-day trip to Scottsdale)!
To that end, I have created a gray-hair summer packing list that includes items that will protect your gray hair while also highlighting its natural beauty.
Most importantly, these items will not take up too much space in your luggage.
Let’s explore the essential items that will make this summer an unforgettable journey for every silver-haired traveler!
Gray Hair Summer Travel Must-Haves
When packing for your summer trip, don’t forget to prioritize sun protection!
Excessive heat and sun exposure can cause yellowing and damage to your gray hair, and the only solution is to cut it off – yikes! – so it’s super-important that you protect your hair from the sun during your travels this summer.
If you want to protect your silver hair, it’s a good idea to invest in a wide-brimmed hat with built-in sun protection.
My personal favorite is the Wallaroo Sydney Sun Hat. It offers UPF 30+ Sun Protection, it comes in a variety of colors and sizes, and the best part? It’s packable!
You can stuff this hat into your suitcase, carry-on bag, or purse without damaging it – it just pops back into shape.
I wear this hat throughout the year and I highly recommend it. It’s a stylish way to avoid sun damage.
Hot Tip: If you have longer hair and want to maximize your sun protection, roll down the brim of the hat and put your hair in a bun, tucking it under the brim.
When packing for your vacation, don’t forget to include a thermal protectant! It’s one of the few “must-have” products I recommend for gray hair.
My favorite thermal protectant is the SEEN Blow-Out Creme.
This product not only guards your silver hair against heat damage but also shields it from the sun’s harmful rays and pollutants that can cause yellowing.
Heat, sun, and pollution can turn your gray hair yellow, but the SEEN Blow-Out Creme will protect your hair from that outcome.
To Use: Apply to damp or dry hair, coating your hair from root to tips.
If you don’t want to wear a hat, consider bringing some SPF spray to use alongside your thermal protectant. It will protect your scalp from sunburn, and provide an extra layer of protection for your silver hair.
With so many options available, I personally recommend the COOLA Organic Scalp Spray & Hair Sunscreen Mist.
Coola is compact, offers SPF 30 protection, is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and is paraben-free. Additionally, it’s lightweight and won’t leave your hair feeling too sticky.
To use: Spray on exposed areas of your scalp 15 minutes prior to sun exposure.
- SPF 30 protection for your scalp
- Lightweight – doesn’t leave hair feeling sticky
- Compact – great for travel
- TSA Compliant
- Water-resistant for up to 80 minutes
- Paraben free
- Vegan & Cruelty-Free
Gentle Gray-Friendly Shampoo
If you’re going on a short summer trip, you don’t necessarily need to bring gray-friendly shampoo and conditioner.
While it’s best to avoid sulfates, (some) silicones, and parabens for gray hair, using them a couple times during your vacation won’t harm your hair. Just be sure to clarify and moisturize your hair when you return home.
They are both equally fantastic!
Both are cruelty-free, provide gentle cleansing, and are free from ingredients that can harm gray hair.
SEEN Shampoo comes in a mini-version (perfect for your carry-on bag). And if fragrances are a problem for you, they even offer it in a mini-fragrance-free option!
** get SEEN for 10% off by using code PLATINUM at check-out**
BTWCo’s Daily Moisturizing Shampoo is safe for all hair types and colors, was developed by my friend & fellow gray-hair blogger Lauren Stein, and it’s honestly one of my all-time favorite gray-friendly products.
Travel-Size Purple Shampoo & Conditioner
If you want to brighten up your silver hair and reduce yellow tones, consider bringing purple shampoo and conditioner
There are many excellent purple shampoos & conditioners on the market, but my personal favorite is Bold Uniq.
It doesn’t come in travel sizes, however, so if you’re traveling by airplane with only carry-on luggage you’ll need to pack it in reusable bottles (scroll down to find my favorite ones).
If you’re really tight on space, you can invest in purple shampoo and conditioner bars. Zero Waste Cartel’s Purple Rain bars are very popular. (I just tested them myself and they do a nice job, although my hair did not get quite as bright as it does with liquid purple shampoo).
If you choose to travel with bar soap, consider purchasing a leak-proof travel soap holder. This highly-rated holder comes with a mat to prevent your soap from getting soggy.
Just remember not to use purple shampoo more than once a week, whether you’re using the liquid or bar form, or it may dry out your hair.
Travel Size Gray-Friendly Clarifying Shampoo
Depending on where you are going (and for how long), you may want to bring a clarifying shampoo with you to give your hair a little extra attention.
This type of shampoo is great for removing product build-up, which can cause dullness and yellowing in gray hair
I use clarifying shampoo once a week (followed by a deep conditioner) and since it’s a vital part of my hair-care routine I like to bring it with me on my travels if I’m going on a longer trip (longer than a few days).
If you’re planning on taking a dip in the pool, these small packets of Malibu C Un-Doo-Goo pH 9 Shampoo are a must-have for your carry-on bag.
They effectively remove chlorine, bromine, and other minerals and metals from your hair, preventing discoloration and damage caused by pool chemicals. Additionally, this shampoo restores manageability to your hair and eliminates green hair caused by copper buildup.
I just started using it recently after my favorite old clarifying shampoo (Neutrogena Anti-Residue shampoo) ceased to be available, and I’m very happy with it.
3 oz. Leak-Proof Travel Bottles
If you need to bring your favorite products in your carry-on bag, and they aren’t available in travel sizes, these 3 ozs. travel bottles are a must-have.
They are TSA-compliant, BPA-free, and leak-proof.
My family loves these easy-to-fill and squeeze bottles. However, they aren’t see-through, so it’s necessary to use a permanent marker to label them as sticky labels won’t stick.
Hot tip: Fill the bottles to the brim as it makes it easier to get the product out. To ensure extra safety while traveling, pack them in a Ziploc freezer bag in case of any accidental leaks. (Even though they’re designed to be leak-proof, I always feel it’s better to be safe than sorry)
Hair Clips or Bands
If you have medium-length or long gray hair, make sure to pack some hair bands or claw clips in your luggage.
Both hair bands and claw clips are excellent for keeping your hair out of your face while you enjoy summer activities. Additionally, they’re stylish tools that don’t take up much space.
My favorite hair bands are seamless and available in a variety of colors. They work well for ponytails, buns, pigtails, braids, or any other style you prefer.
Claw clips are currently quite popular, as they create a casual, effortless look that’s ideal for summertime. These ones are the best I’ve found yet!
Hair Gel for Humid Climates
Traveling somewhere humid this summer?
Then you might want to consider investing in some gel to keep out unwanted frizz.
The Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Stronger Hold Gel is the one that I and many other silver sisters prefer, especially women with curly hair!
It provides long-lasting hold, but it doesn’t make your hair feel crunchy or hard. That’s a huge PLUS, in my book.
This gel is perfect for preventing frizz and flyaways, and it also provides protection from heat and UV rays. (If you’re running low on space, you can pack this and skip the SEEN Blow-Out creme since it provides that extra bit of protection).
And here’s some great news for women with gray hair – this gel is free from silicones, parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, phthalates, and petroleum.
Optional: Curl Tools
If you must curl your hair on your summer vacation, I suggest bringing a heatless curl option with you.
Hot tools can cause yellowing in gray hair, as mentioned earlier. That’s why heatless curlers are ideal for gray hair.
Personally, I always bring my Octocurl Heatless Hair curler when I travel because it is soft and compact. You can easily squeeze it into your carry-on bag.
Plus, it’s effortless to use- just wrap your damp hair around it before bed, and you’ll wake up with beautiful curls and waves. Additionally, it’s inexpensive, so it won’t be a significant loss if it’s lost or stolen.
And since it’s a heatless hair tool, you don’t have to worry about damaging your beautiful hair.
I recently bought the Dyson Airwrap and it’s the only heat styling tool I like (so far) since I can use it on very low heat (which makes it safe for gray hair) but I don’t think I’d bring it on vacation.
The Dyson is expensive, so it would be devastating if it got stolen or damaged. It’s also bulky, even if you put it in its companion travel pouch.
But if you are a fanatic for the curls and waves you can achieve with the Dyson, it might be worth it to you to pack it. Just make sure to put it in the safe when you leave your hotel room!
Other Travel Must-Haves
In addition to hair products, I have some other items that I find incredibly helpful for travel throughout the year. These are not specifically related to hair, but I want to share them with you because I personally swear by them:
If you wear makeup, I’m happy to announce I recently discovered the perfect makeup bag.
It’s water-resistant, durable, compact, and comes in a variety of colors. It has a built-in hanger and convenient compartments for all your makeup needs.
Plus, it’s small enough to fit in your carry-on, unlike some other makeup bags on the market.
But if you want a larger makeup bag to put in your checked luggage, this one is bigger and holds a LOT of makeup and bottles:
I bought this Travelon purse for a recent trip to Manhattan, and it’s now my favorite travel purse!
Even though it looks very compact, It’s big enough to hold my money, credit cards, iPhone 11 Pro, glasses, and rechargeable battery!
It also has a 5-point anti-theft security system that will keep you safe from pickpockets. The bag and strap are slash-proof, and it has RFID blocking card and passport slots to keep you safe from identity thieves.
There’s even a tethered interior key clip with LED light so you don’t have to fumble through your bag desperately trying to find your keys in the dark.
I can’t say enough good things about this purse – it’s awesome!
This multi-purpose electronic organizer is a must-have for any traveler. It’s lightweight and fits easily into your carry-on bag, laptop bag, or larger purse.
With plenty of room for all your small electronic gadgets and cords, it’s perfect for packing your iPhone and iPad cords, wall chargers, rechargeable batteries, and more. Plus, it even has a handy little pocket for your SD cards!
The organizer is slightly padded for extra protection and comes in a variety of colors to suit your style.
I bought it earlier this year, and can’t live without it. I even bought duplicates of all my cords to store in it so I don’t have to repack it for every trip. It’s the best!
Video: What to Pack if You Have Gray Hair
Taking care of your natural gray hair during the summer is essential to maintain its health and vibrancy, even while traveling.
So, remember to pack these grey hair care products (especially the ones that provide sun and heat protection) for your next summer adventure, and enjoy the sun without compromising the health of your beautiful silver hair.