Rethink your hair brush for travel? Maybe!

This post is likely just for the women out there.
My question to you: how large is your hairbrush?


My favorite, but once too-small hairbrush.

My hairbrush decisions for 1.5 years of travel

Here’s my favorite brush.
I actually have a larger one that used to be my favorite, but I started using this one to get used to a smaller, more travel-fitting brush. I won’t lie; It was difficult. A smaller diameter or surface area totally changes how you style your hair, In fact, to an extent, it changes your hairstyle. But as I practiced and experimented, I got used to it and found ways to get the same results as the larger brush.

So, did I take this brush when I went away for a year and a half? Actually, no. I took a much thinner one. I found one that had plastic bristles that wouldn’t ruin my clothing and that took up much less space. (Yes, every centimeter really does matter.) But I must admit that I didn’t like the brush I took. It was too small and the bristles didn’t do what I need. I rarely used it. (Admittedly, in the heat of Central America, I rarely blow-dried my hair and whatever I styled wouldn’t even exist in 10 minutes anyway.)

My before and after hair brushes and comb. I think you can guess which ones travel with me.

My before and after hair implements. You can guess which ones travel.

Pictured here is the round brush I’m taking I planned to take on my next year-plus trip. Same manufacturer as my two favorite brushes, but narrower. Same bristles too, but being shorter, they seem to be less damaging should they be in contact with my clothing. (I’ll slip it into a sleeve too, to protect my other belongings. After all, when you only have 5 shirts and a couple of dresses/skirts/pants, you can’t afford to lose any of them. Plus, a down sleeping bag with holes is a mini-nightmare.)

I typically use my round brush in combination with a flat brush. The purse-sized brush takes the larger brush’s place. Another brush substitute may be the flat brush with a wide-tooth comb. It’s flat and easy to fit — and it does almost the same job. Almost. It’s still hard for me to not have the flat brush, which is why I like the small brush below.

Select the smallest brush you think you can live with, then hide your others. Hide all your other hair styling implements. If they’re out, you’ll use them — and as you won’t have them while traveling, you’ll be hurting as you travel. Get used to using just one or two brushes or a brush and small comb. 

Then, perhaps go yourself one better and try an even smaller hairbrush!

Sometimes, it’s easier to downsize in increments. 

As I keep reminding myself: it’s worth the sacrifice in order to experience new places.

Are you uncomfortable with looking different when you do this? Good! You’ll need to get used to looking different — because you will be different once you start traveling, or soon after. Either that, or you’ll be ending your trip and going home. Travel changes you. Mentally, physically, and in appearance.

Update after two more years of travel

I did not take that thinner round brush after all. I opted to try just that purple-handled purse-sized brush. But it wasn’t good for me as my only brush. After two months I bought a larger but lighter weight flat brush with more bristles in Munich. Then another couple of months later I bought another round brush with plastic bristles. (I could do this because I was pretty much staying put in one place for months.) I continued to carry that round brush for the rest of my year and a half, but it wasn’t right for my hair. My hair tangled around those bristles and made styling difficult.

As I pack again for my next over-one-year-long travels, I am packing the lighter weight flat Munich brush. However, I am trying hard to take my favorite blue brush.

Update after more years of travel

February 2018: In 2017 I started with the wide-tooth comb in the top photo, a thinner and lighter hairbrush, and the larger round brush. (Remember, before travel, I didn’t like that larger blue round brush because it was too narrow. Then it became my favorite.) Within weeks of starting my 2017 travels, I lost the flat brush and it took me days to realize it because I was using the comb so well. The larger round brush gives me my best styling both with and without a hairdryer. The comb does everything else. The large brush is a pain to pack but I will continue to deal with that because of its benefits. The comb is so simple that it’s a no-brainer.

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