by Ernessa T. Carter of Fierce and Nerdy

I’ve climbed to the top of a volcano in New Zealand, I’ve landed a book deal, and I’ve given birth to a child. But I would say that 2010 brought my biggest challenge yet: keep my natural looking pretty while on book tour for my first novel, 32 CANDLES.

Did I succeed? Well in a couple of words … not always. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t. Just in time for Thanksgiving, I’m sharing what I learned about keeping a natural awesome on the road, so that you don’t have suffer as I had to suffer.

DO buy travel-sized containers at your local beauty supply store, so that you can bring along your must-have products. Also when making your hair products order, check to see if there aren’t smaller sizes available. Companies like Oyin Handmade sell many of their product in carry-on friendly sizes.

get a new hairstyle the day before you’re set to go on the road. I know you want to look nice for your event, and it would seem that right before an event would be the best time to invest in going to the hairdresser. But trust me, don’t do it. It takes time to get a new hairstyle really looking the way that you want it to. Going with a tried and true style might feel boring, but it will guarantee that your hair will look good on the day of the event.

wear a protective style on the plane, but…

wait until right before your event to take down your hair. I’ve been unpleasantly surprised with only minutes to spare before an event upon taking my hair out of its protective style. Now I always take it down the morning of, giving it a chance to breathe and settle into a style throughout the day or for me to save it with accessories if it refuses to act right. Speaking of which…

make sure to bring along an array of accessories. I now carry two headbands (one with a distracting flower and the other with a more subtle design), two elastic bands, a bohemian hat, and plenty of combs, b/c when all else fails, and frohawk will save the day. Just remember headbands distract, hats cover, and an updo is definitely your friend.

A fro hawk saves the day at my hometown book signing in St. Louis.
So very grateful for plastic combs and aloe vera gel!

Photo Credit: Nicole Moton