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Sipping herbal tea at the Alaya Spa and Salon, Delhi, I got chatting with their hairdressers- almost begging for tips on how to fix my fried and limp hair. A victim of severe hair damage, I’ve suffered with hair fall, loss of volume, frizz (thank you, airplane static) and far worse- dry and dull hair due from the heat I used to style them in an attempt to keep the mane in control. Turns out, there’s a bunch of things you could do to keep it from reaching the near-death state mine had ended up in. Some expensive and some mere home remedies that come cheap.

Before or during the flight:

The reason hair becomes limp and dry during flights is the static in the airplane. You might often be able to hear it when you brush through your hair or even run your fingers through your hair when you get off a plane. While some people resort to scarves, others to tying their hair, I usually just get it washed and dried at a salon the day before I get on a plane. This makes it soft and manageable, and since hair tends to get tangled because of the dryness and the odd sleeping postures, its best to get it dried straight.

According to Shyama, the hair stylist at Alaya Spa + Salon, you could carry the L’oreal Elnett Spray to apply once you get off the plane. This should bring the volume right back- or at least somewhat fix it till you can get your head under a shower again.

For hair that tends to get dry, she recommends the Moroccan Hydration Cream or the Liz Ultimate Serum to dab on and comb through. The air-conditioning inside airplanes is basically dry again being pumped in, which strips hair of moisture and causes severe dryness, which in turn leads to static and causes stray hairs to stand up.

Once you get off the flight:

There are some quick fixes for people who travel less often. According to hairstylists at Alaya, you could simply make hair masks at home to treat damaged hair. 2 eggs, some olive oil, a little lemon and honey mixed in a grinder should make the perfect hair mask to bring life back into your hair.

You could also try Apple Cider Vinegar. Aside from its many other benefits, ACV is also known to bring lifeless hair back to life. All you need to do is add some Apple Cider Vinegar into a mugful of cold water and rinse your hair with it after you shampoo. You can leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse it (so it works like a conditioner) or you could leave it in altogether (be warned though, it would leave a smell that many people dislike).

Alaya recommends a few treatments you could opt for, specially if you’ve been traveling extensively. The L’Oreal Hair Spa is one of them. It adds softness to the hair and leaves it feeling well conditioned and bouncy. You could also opt for a Keratin hair treatment. I usually get this done before a long travel plan instead of going for it after. The treatment adds protein to your hair to compensate for the lack of nutrients that make it limp and cause hair fall. It also ends up working as a hair smoothener and somewhat straightens your hair, making it easier to style. This helps when I travel, because I don’t need to work extra hard to manage my hair.

About the Keratin Treatment:

I went for the Keratin treatment at Alaya, given that it’s my go-to salon in the city. The treatment lasted about an hour, and the cream was left in my hair for 3 days. After the application of the cream, my hair was dried (the cream was not rinsed out) and straightened. I was instructed not to tie or style my hair until the next wash. There are specific hair products to be purchased after the treatment, mainly because they are sulphate-free products. The entire kit includes a shampoo, conditioner and serum. The total cost of all 3 products is approximately INR 5,300.

The picture at the beginning of this article shows my hair 2 days after I got the keratin treatment. I was on a 16 hour flight to New Zealand, and this picture was taken during the last hour of the flight. As the picture tells, my hair was remarkably easy to manage and remained that way throughout.

If there are any other tricks you use to keep your hair in order, mention those in the comments below so we can all bless you for saving our tresses 😉

Nikita Butalia is a solo 20-something traveler who documents her experiences around India and the rest of the world in witty narratives and travel tales that are best read curling up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate on a winter evening.

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