Dehydrate Your Hair Conditioner

One of the biggest challenges of flying with just a carryon is how to limit your liquids and gels to what will fit into a quart-size zip-top bag.

Did you know that one such elimination can be hair conditioner? Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you risk flyaway hair. While one can usually count on shampoo at most US hotels, hair conditioner is often another matter. The combination shampoo/conditioner that some hotels provide just doesn’t leave my hair very manageable. Good hair conditioner is a necessity for me if I hope to look halfway decent in business settings.

CommercialConditionerA couple of Christmases ago, my sister Jennifer gave me a pack of “airline carryon compliant” hair conditioner sheets. I was fascinated and decided to try the product at home first. The directions said to “Use 1–4 sheets, depending on length and thickness of hair,” so, being frugal, I started with one sheet. Further instructions were to “Remove sheets with dry hand,” which was a bit more challenging since I wasn’t ready for a sheet until I’d shampooed and rinsed my hair. But I found a way to comply.

With dry fingers I placed the conditioner sheet on my palm, added a tiny bit of water . . . and watched it dissolve to nothing. It didn’t even leave a grease spot big enough for my hair to notice. Later I examined the package again and realized that with my length of hair, the 50 sheets would last me only about 4 to 5 shampoos. At $5.00 per package, that was expensive conditioner, indeed.

But it got me to thinking. If the manufacturer could dehydrate conditioner, why couldn’t I? I decided to experiment, and I met with success. Here’s how I did it:

(1) Squeeze out the desired portion of conditioner, in individual dollops, onto a Teflon craft/baking sheet or other nonstick surface. Spread each dollop into as flat a circle as possible.

(1) Squeeze out the desired portion of conditioner, in individual dollops, onto a Teflon craft/baking sheet or other nonstick surface. Spread each dollop into as flat a circle as possible.

(2) Let the circles dry for several days until all moisture has evaporated. I put the Teflon sheet on the floor in front of a furnace vent.

(2) Let the circles dry for several days until all moisture has evaporated. I put the Teflon sheet on the floor in front of a furnace vent.

(3) Meanwhile, fashion little bags out of wax paper; secure the sides with cellophane tape.

(4) When the conditioner is totally dry, scrape each circle of residue from the Teflon sheet and place that portion of dried conditioner into a wax-paper bag. Seal with tape. Place the collection of wax-paper bags into a zip-top hobby bag for additional protection from puncture and dampness.

(4) When the conditioner is totally dry, scrape each circle of residue from the Teflon sheet and place that portion of dried conditioner into a wax-paper bag. Seal with tape. Place the collection of wax-paper bags into a zip-top hobby bag for additional protection from puncture and dampness.

Dehydrated conditioner packets(5) When ready to use, open an envelope, dump the flakes into a cup or other handy container, add hot water, and stir. It will reconstitute in just a few minutes.

If your hotel provides hair conditioner, you can save the little envelopes of dehydrated conditioner for another time, and you’ll never have to worry about them taking up precious room in your liquids bag at airport security.

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Fiercely Frugal Savage Sister Diana has gathered packing pointers over the years on numerous domestic and foreign trips. Most recently, she travels in conjunction with the publication of her latest book, 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.

© 2014 The Savage Sisters

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