When Black Curls Travel: Healthy Hair in Bali

When Black Curls Travel: Healthy Hair in Bali

Tamara, founder of World Wide Curls

As prepared as you might think you are to see the world, have new experiences, or travel to new places, your hair probably isn’t. There will definitely be some challenges as your hair changes time zones.
In moving to Bali, I myself wasn’t completely sure what to expect. I did a ton of research on the black experience while traveling–from general travel tips, to food, to best approaches to care for my hair while traveling. With what little I found online, I gathered as much of what I thought I needed to last a long while, and knew I would figure out the rest. Somehow.
As I ran low on what I brought with me, I decided to try new, natural, local products and eventually ventured into making my own hair masks. I realized that I had to make certain things for my hair or use some different methods in order to keep it healthy in this new environment. I was also was curious of methods that other curly travelers were using and soon launched my website World Wide Curls. With WWC, I spoke with many black women and found that they too were also having difficulties maintaining their hair, lacking both information and alternative methods to caring for their tresses. 
Every curl is different; every experience, a new confrontation.  Here are a few stories from some curly travel women.

Izzy and her family

Finding alternative solutions is key to maintaining healthy hair in different environments. Izzy and her family–which include four children–had been struggling with the humidity in Bali. After months on the tropical island, they began to notice how the tropical weather would cause their hair to dry very quickly. After trying various solutions, they finally made a big change: a group hair chop. “We all went a bit shorter, but I think the humidity has been really drying on the hair.  We are big on conditioner, too; we’re always conditioning our hair and using coconut oil, especially because I haven’t seen many products that cater to black hair. It’s clear that our hair needs a lot more maintenance here than back home [in Australia].”


Alina looks for hair techniques that work while living in Bali

Alina, an actress working on a horror film in Bali, had to deal with her hair’s changing personality. Coming from New York, she usually maintained her curls with a simple touch up and manicuring of her edges. Alina soon found that her go-to technique could not work in Bali. “In ten minutes, my perfect little coiled ringlets turned into confused naps,” she lamented during our conversation. After a time of much discovery, she managed to find a routine that sustained her curls with the few products she brought and some local purchases [hand made coconut oil]. “If I’m on my second or third curl day, I’ll wet my hands, add a some water or spray to my curls, just so they’ll have some moisture. Otherwise it will just be frizz. This Bali weather is wild.”

Sometimes hair isn’t the first thing one someone’s mind when they travel. Sarah from Belgium, was one of many women that I have met that put her hair care at the bottom of her travel list. “I kind of neglected it,” she says. We continued to have a great talk about her ten years of travel and traveling with her growing family. Our conversation stayed with her, and a few weeks later she finally made a change. “Goodbye fifteen centimeters of dead ends, hello to homemade oil concoction!” she wrote to me. 

Sarah took a laissez faire approach to her haircare

Traveling is all about discovering yourself, taking on new challenges and managing and excelling through different situations; spirit, mind, body, but also, hair. Meeting with and speaking to these women who are in their journey of self discovery and understanding has only reinforced the need for a resource for curly hair travelers to aid in the process. The World Wide Curls platform is a tool for curly hair travelers to help maintain curly hair in different environments and through different activities.  You never know what to expect with your hair when you travel but WWC can help you figure out what you can do! #whencurlstravel

A storyteller, designer, and nomad world traveler, Tamara Malik is the founder of World Wide Curls, an online haircare resource for black women travelers. To learn more about Tamara and WWC, please visit: and follow them at: @whencurlstravel.


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