Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Flying While Long-Haired

My upcoming flight has been on my mind a lot lately. One important detail I haven't figured out yet; how to wear my hair while flying.

I know that may seem like a stupid thing to worry about, but remember, I'll be flying for 10 hours. Since I take medication to fly (for the comfort of all involved, believe me, ) I need to be comfortable. I don't want to mess with it after I take the medication. I may not be capable of fixing it after taking the medication.

Flying with long hair is a complicated affair. Most of my hair tools are capable of being wielded as weapons (if you're really desperate for a weapon), so I'm not going to take the chance that some overzealous TSA agent will confiscate my $80 custom Grahtoe fork. Those puppies are getting packed in the checked baggage.

That also means that my hair sticks are out of the question. I know they recently relaxed a bit and allowed knitting needles past security, but just because my hair stick is made from a knitting needle doesn't mean it falls under the same guidelines. A cursory google check reveals links to stories of confiscated hair sticks. My hair sticks are going checked baggage, as well.

So that leaves me with a few options.

One; I can leave my hair loose for the flight. Two; I'm going to have to get creative.

I don't know about you, but when I fly, it doesn't matter if it's a one hour flight or a ten hour flight- when I get off, I feel like I've scrubbed with a cheeseburger. My hair gets stringy and feels greasy, even if I only washed hours ago. I don't know if it's the recycled air or what, but something in the air makes me feel gross.

So, creative it is. My top two ideas are hair taping and Heidi braids.

Hair taping may sound crazy, but women have been "taping" their hair for centuries. You can find examples of hair taping all throughout history in paintings and drawings, especially Italian ones.

To "tape" your hair, you need a ribbon, an embroidery needle and some elastics. I just put my hair in two braids and pin them (temporarily) around my head. Thread the needle with the ribbon and carefully sew your braids into place in a spiral pattern starting at the back of your head. Leave enough ribbon at the start and end to tie a bow. Remove any hair pins you used and you're done. I did a tutorial on YouTube if you need a visual aid.

Here's what it might look like finished:

Heidi braids are essentially the same thing, except minus the hair taping. I'm not entirely sure I want to look like I'm on my way to the Renaissance Festival (although I'm sure I'd have fun if I were going to one.)

If you're going to do Heidi braids while flying, you're going to need to use hair pins. I usually use my trusty Amish hair pins, but they're made of metal. I sure don't want anyone prodding through my hair to make sure I haven't secreted any sharp pointies in my 'do after setting off the metal detector. In this case, I'd recommend using Good Hair Days hair pins.

Good Hair Days hair pins are awesome. They come in clear (which is what I use) or a tortoise shell-like look. They're plastic and easily slide into your hair.

Good Hair Days pins, while not as bulletproof as Amish Hair Pins, do a pretty good job at keeping your updos secure.

Anyway, I'm currently planning on just doing the Heidi braids, but I'm pretty sure I'll change my mind a million times before I actually get on the plane. I'll be posting photos of what I end up with the morning I leave and will give a review on how well my hair holds up.


  1. I am desling with this issue now and wanting desperatley to just use my regular fork but would DIE if they confiscated it at the gate! i also cover in public, so i am concerned they are going to treat me differently, although my flying experiences have been all bad in the last 15 years, we ALWAYS get searcehd repeatedly at every gate over and over no matter i am thinking "elling woman" braid and a scarf and mail my forks on ahead to my destination...

  2. You know, you can pack your forks in your checked baggage. I did that and had no problem. The forks didn't break or anything. I zipped them into the pouch on the inside of my suitcase. That way, you don't have to worry about your forks getting lost in the mail or have to wait until they get there. Also, TSA should be sensitive to your covering. They deal with all kind of people every day. If they need to check under your cover, they'll just ask and you can tell them that it's for religious reasons and they should take you to a more private screening area.