In America, the growing popularity of natural hair could be considered a movement – one that has garnered support from various blogs, major television personalities, books and even movies. Although, I’m surprised that our tresses continue to receive this much attention, I’m always more flattered when my natural hair garners attention overseas.

When traveling abroad, I often shrink back from the fame , tucking my hair away for weeks at a time in braids, wigs, or extensions. Sure, these styles are easier to care for, and I get to spend more time seeing sights, meeting locals, and exploring – but why not flaunt it? Why not take the time to re-create some of the intricate styles our ancestors perfected, or show-off more simple styles like chunky twist-outs?

The reactions.

We’ve all gotten them. Touching, staring, commenting. I often think to myself, You haven’t even noticed my outfit. I spent more time on that than on my wash-and-go. Please, take notice!

When traveling abroad, expect to have those teachable moments. Drop some knowledge about your natural hair, and be proud of it. Below are the five most memorable lines that I’ve heard about my hair while traveling abroad. What are yours?

Fez, Morocco: “I like your dreadlocks, Sista.” – From a Rasta man with dreadlocks of his own, referring to my week-old mini twists.

Dresden, Germany: “Beyoncé wears hair extensions? YOU have in hair extensions? I thought that was your hair.” – After trying to explain hair extensions by comparing my own “enhanced styles” to a well-known celebrity’s, who we all can agree has mastered this concept.

Gap, France: “Why are you wearing a wig? Your hair is long.” – Spoken by my tried-and-true travel partner, my father.

Berlin, Germany: “Did you cut your hair?” – My host parent, who posed the question incredulously. I had taken out my mid-back length braid extensions and was rocking a curly twist-out on my transitioning hair.

Around the globe: “I LOVE your hair.”


Feature photo courtesy of The Coiffure Project

This story was curated by Erica Bibby