I was not content. While the products I packed work great for me when I’m in Atlanta, GA, I don’t think they were heavy enough to combat the effects of the ocean air of the Caribbean. I washed my hair once in the week and a half I was there.
Hindsight is 20/20. I think I would have brought more conditioner to co-wash more often. That would have helped to restore the moisture balance my hair was needing. I also would have brought heavier products like Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in, styled with Curls Curl Souffle and sealed with a silicone based oil like Argan Oil. Not only does the silicon based product help to seal the moisture in my hair, but it would also work to prevent frizzing.
Additionally, dry-feeling hair may be as a result of a pH imbalance / porosity issue. If I were staying for an extended time, I would have also check out my porosity and made adjustments accordingly.
Some suggest a few ways to determine if your hair is porous or not:
1. Place a shed hair in a cup of water. If it sinks your hair is porus. If it float your hair is not porus.
2. Run your fingers UP a strand of hair on your head. If it feels rough, the cuticles of your hair are lifted which suggests porosity. If it feels smooth, you cuticles are flattened and porosity may not be an issue.
Porous hair allows for moisture to easily enter the cuticles of your hair, but it also allows for moisture to easily escape as well. This results in loss of the moisture that our texture of hair so badly needs. Roux Porosity or plain old apple cider vinegar are both products that can help in restoring the pH balance and closure of the cuticles. When using either if these, it is good measure to complete your final rinse using cold water. Cold water also aids in closing your cuticles.
Regarding your issue of length retention, I am going to suggest protective styles and low manipulation. Being that you are in the Caribbean, there is never a shortage of women who have skills in braiding hair, if you lack them yourself. Myself, I have increased my use of protective styling as of lately. I wash once a week, then I do a braid-out or twist-out for texture and I follow with some sort of updo with use of my banana clip, side combs, or bobby pins with a headband. I take out the styling devices every night, moisturize and tie my hair up with a silk scarf. I re-style in the morning.
Mia, it is really a trial and error situation. Hopefully, my suggestions of what I would do differently can help in your Caribbean stay.