This is a post in an ongoing feature on Her Packing List called “The One Little Thing“. Each week or two, we’ll be interviewing a traveling lady to find out the one little thing she just can’t travel without. This one comes to you from Katie Doyle.
What one little thing can you not travel without?
Dry shampoo has been a lifesaver for every destination in my travel log. I’ve been a big fan for years and have taken it with me for skiing in Europe, road‐tripping in the States, and most recently while traveling around New Zealand. It sounds too good to be true, but I’ve found time and again that this magical formula doesn’t let a girl and her hair down.
Dry shampoo cleans, volumizes, and freshens up your hair by soaking up the oil from your scalp. It comes in both spray and powder forms, and I’ve used both — with baby powder being my A+ substitute if I run out of the aerosol kind.
Whether you’re venturing somewhere that has issues with running water, or you want to look clean and well‐rested after long hike without going through the stress of washing and drying, dry shampoo is a must‐have. Name brand or budget, big can or small — every traveling lady can find a dry shampoo that fits her lifestyle and budget requirements.
Why has this one item been so important to you?
Long hair can be especially tricky to care for whilst traveling because it takes so long to dry! My hair is long and thick, so I have to strategically plan how I’m going to dry it, especially when I’m lacking a hair dryer. Dry shampoo can be the difference between looking like a slob or super put‐together for those awesome travel photos you can’t wait to show off to your friends and your mom when you get home.
It can also make living in a cold climate much more forgiving, as it allows for longer gaps between wet washes. I spray some on to freshen up after a long‐haul flight, and it’s my go‐to when I’m in a very arid place because my scalp is super sensitive, so a dry shampoo session can give it a break from a too‐frequent cycle of vigorous washing and drying.
How packable is it? Does it take up much room? Is it heavy?
The beauty of dry shampoo is that it comes in different sizes. It also takes up much less space than a bottle of traditional shampoo and weighs a lot less! For my current adventure, I’ve invested in a few mini travel‐sized bottles of Tresseme Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo, which have so far lasted me the better part of a year. When I did a few stints of living in Europe, I brought one big bottle of Big Sexy Hair* with me and it lasted nearly the whole time.
It’s easily packable with toiletries and won’t put your bag over the weight limit. Dry shampoo — and its close relative, baby powder — is also the kind of item you can pick up nearly anywhere, and it is not too expensive. Feeling thrifty? Go in on a bottle with your girlfriends…but beware that it will go fast once they realize how much they love it, too!
Why would you recommend this to your travel friends?
Every traveling girl understands the struggle when it comes to keeping your hair looking bombshell while on the road. I want my friends to know that there’s a solution for hair problems that can be fixed in an eighth of the time it would take to blow‐dry (scientific figures are approximate). Blondes, brunettes, redheads—we’re all happy to have a break from that effort.
Apply carefully to avoid looking like you’ve aged significantly in the last five minutes, because the product can leave a dense residue when it’s dispensed too liberally. Don’t concentrate on one spot; instead, spray or sprinkle a thin layer over your roots, and then run your fingers through and shake your head out to distribute it evenly. Your hair will look like you’ve just washed and styled it, and no one will know the difference!
Can you name one incident or situation where you were so happy to have this item with you?
Oh boy, there are so many of these that it’s hard to choose just one. During a recent lull in my working holiday here in New Zealand, I was doing lots of job searching in Auckland. Some of these were not your typical WWOOFing or backpacker‐y jobs—they were temp stints bordering on real‐people jobs, so a girl had to look like she has it together (as in, I couldn’t simply throw my hair up in a ponytail or topknot).
Since I was also exploring and taking advantage of the nice autumn weather, by being outside sometimes I wasn’t as prepared as I would like to have been when it came to looking for work. If I got a last‐minute phone call for an interview or temp position, dry shampoo was my hero.
How did you hear about this item?
I have a habit of glancing at the travel‐sized toiletries section when I’m at Target, and that’s when the dry shampoo caught my eye. Some brands look deceivingly like hairspray, so be careful that you don’t confuse the two hair accouterments when scoping out the potential contents of your next journey’s cosmetics bag.
What sort of traveler is this item perfect for?
Anyone who’s ever had a hair emergency is a perfect match for dry shampoo. It’s handy for working‐holiday‐ers, outdoor adventurers, and everyone in between who wants to wear her hair up or down. When you’re in a pinch and you just don’t have the means to dry your hair (but still want it to look good, obviously), dry shampoo is an option that gets your locks clean and beautified without the hassle of a full‐on wash, blow‐dry, and style.
>> Check out Caroline’s step-by-step to using dry shampoo.
About the author: Katie is a writer and videographer who chronicles her travels on Where in the World is Katie Doyle? from wherever she happens to be. A winter in France, a summer on Cape Cod, with road trips and fishing expeditions in between—she’s up for anything and will tell you the story about it later. Check out www.kadoyle.com and follow @ladykatherined.