When I decided to embark on a yoga retreat to the remote Panamanian island of Bocas del Toro, I knew I’d be sacrificing a few things: access to WiFi and air conditioning. Island Plantation, the boutique hotel where I’d be staying, was an eco-resort, meaning it had your basic power sources but relied on natural ventilation and solar-energy to run the place. What I didn’t know I’d be sacrificing during my trip was access to a hair dryer.
The Travel Yogi, the company I’d be traveling with, sent out an itinerary for the trip a couple weeks before we were set to leave, writing that “hair dryers are not allowed for use on property. Bocas is a laid-back island so now’s your chance to go au-natural for your beach week.” It turns out, hair dryers use loads of wattage—up to 1,800 watts, compared to a straightener’s 170 watts—which is why you’ll see fuses blow sometimes from using one too many.
While I understood the rules and appreciated the eco-friendliness of the hotel, I panicked a bit. I have curly hair that desperately needs a diffuser to tame frizz and keep the curls from getting too kinky. No hair dryer, on top of the tropical climate I’d be in, had me pretty concerned at how good my au natural look would be.
I soon learned that the only way to tackle this problem would be to use the right products. I’ve bounced around between different curly hair products over the years, never quite finding the right ones. But this time, I hit the jackpot. I started by using Extreme shampoo and strengthening conditioner, which is made with an RCT Protein Complex chock full of soy protein, arginine and sepicap that adds structure, helps condition and restore the ends of hair. This was vital for a trip where my hair was taking a beating from lots of sunshine, sweat and saltiness from the sea.
I followed my shampoo and conditioning routine with One United All-In-One Multi-Benefit Treatment, a simple spray I used right after towel-drying my hair that sort of acts like a leave-in conditioner but does much more. The treatment is sulfate and paraben-free, made of coconut oil and keracare, which gave me shine and protection from breakages. Even with all the saltiness in my hair from swimming and sweating on the trip, my hair felt smooth to the touch without feeling like it was being weighed down by a heavy product.
Next came the juggernaut: No Blow Dry, No Big Deal. This super lightweight cream comes in three formulas for fine, medium and coarse hair. I opted for the Airy Cream, since my curls are thinner than they look. I never could have imagined my hair would look so good after just air-drying. But this cream’s quick-dry polymers gave my hair control and movement.
I was worried that this team of products would really only work well in the topical humidity that lent itself to better curls than the dryness of New York City, where I live. But the first day I used it back in Manhattan, my friends complimented me on how great my hair looked. Now, I don’t need to break out my diffuser every time I want to style my hair. I can simply shower and get going. This new routine has truly made me feel like no blow dry is actually no big deal.