The lighter side of travel: Visiting the bad hair capital of the world

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Cancun may well be the bad hair capital of the world.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Cancun. I love its sandy beaches, aquamarine waters, wonderful weather, and beautiful resorts. The foods of the Yucatan Peninsula are delicious and the locals are gracious and welcoming. But I’ve traveled to Cancun enough times to conclude that Cancun has to be the Bad Hair Capital of the World.

Let me explain. Cancun’s climate offers a perfect storm of sun, wind and humidity unlike any other destination I’ve ever visited. After showering, washing my hair, using various products recommended by my hairdresser, blowing my hair and ironing it—my hair in Cancun always looks other-worldly within five minutes of leaving my air-conditioned room.

My head gets so big and frizzy that I can’t believe it’s me I’m looking at in the mirror. At night, my hair feels so dry and bristly that it makes sounds when my head shifts on the pillow.

If you’ve traveled to Cancun, you’ll notice that many Mexican women working in the resorts have long (usually black) hair that’s plastered down and tied back in a bun. Yes, it’s a neat look but I don’t believe it’s an accident. They don’t want to risk the perils of bad hair gone wild.

I wonder about the brides who plan destination weddings in Cancun and Riviera Maya, and who think through every single detail of their special days—perhaps, not considering what their hairdos might look like in the photographs.

More Bad Hair Pix
More Bad Hair Pix

If you scour the Internet or ask friends, you’ll hear lots of solutions. But they are mere Band-Aids; I’ve tried them all and they don’t make much of a difference. They include:

  • Getting a good haircut (preferably in layers) before your trip.
  • Letting your hair grow long so you can tie it back in a ponytail.
  • Keeping your hair covered with a hat during the day.
  • Washing your hair immediately after swimming in the ocean or at a pool.
  • Using lots of high-quality hair products: Conditioner, gels, hairspray or whatever else you use for body and control.

Fortunately, I’ve learned to live with bad hair because a visit to Cancun is worth the sacrifice.

Bad Hair in Cancun
Bad Hair in Cancun

On WebMD: Surviving a Bad Hair Day

Is there any destination to which you’ve traveled that might compete for Bad Hair Capital of the World?

Any remedies/tools you’ve found to help cope?

This post is part of a linkup to Noel Morata’s Travel Photo Discovery.

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  1. I don’t have to go anywhere to experience this! I have thick, curly hair that springs out ala Rosanne Rosannadanna in humid weather anywhere. I will always have longer hair that can be pulled back into a ponytail. Anytime I’ve change my hairstyle, that is always the requirement; it has to work with a ponytail.

    Irene, all that blowing, ironing and styling sounds exhausting! I simply put a large quantity of leave in conditioner in my freshly washed hair, put it back in a ponytail and call it a day. The ladies working in Cancun have it right!

    I also wear no make up in hot weather either. Another complete waste of time!

  2. Funny! BTW, you look great in the pics — being happy and smiling is more important than perfect hair. At least that’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. Hair styling has never been my strong point, so a place like Cancun is perfect for me — everyone can just blame my hair on Cancun… not me!

  3. Once again Irene, once you mention Cancun to me and I remember being there in 06 I would take a bad hair day over it all because Cancun is definitely worth it!

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