The Ultimate Mission Trip Style Guide: Wet Hair, Don’t Care.

On October 3, 2013 by Bethany

America, land of the hair dryer.

I remember my first trip to Belize, I was full of questions.. “do I need to take a hair-dryer?” “will other girls dry their hair?” “wait, am I supposed to wear it wet?” The answers are: no, not if they are smart, and yes.  I will be one of many people to tell you to not take your hair dryer. I tried blow drying my hair once before a wedding in Haiti. I got so sweaty during the process (even using the “cool” setting) that I needed to take another shower! Plus, it took forever.

And for me in Belize, not knowing how my hair would cooperate outside of my normal routine, I was full of anxiety, even at 18.  I was still somewhat of a newbie when it came to hairstyles. I always wore my hair in the basketball three: braid, messy bun or ponytail.

However, now that I live and work half the time in Haiti, I’ve had to get more creative. I’ve found for me, it can work wonders for my mood to take a few minutes and just be a girl, whether that’s doing my hair, a quick manicure or a 10 minute facial. Something about those feminine habits always give me a little boost and that can make all the difference in day to day life and ministry. Especially when you’ve been doing construction in the heat of the summer in Haiti all week.

So now that it has been over 7 months since I’ve used a blow-dryer or any heat tool on my hair (woohoo! team natural) I feel like I have a pretty good tool-belt when it comes to wet-hair looks.

Some basics…

Twist Back StyleStyle Idea: The Twist Back

With this look, you slowly twist back your fringe, bangs or full length hair back out of your face.

It isn’t as harsh as a typical dutch or french braid and effectively keeps the wispy pieces at bay.

When I do this look, I like to start the twist farther back on my head to give more lift in the front, nobody likes a flat head! Then I take roughly 1 inch sections and proceed to twist them out.

Here is a tutorial on how to accomplish this look, complete with a very easy side rope braid:


High Bun Style

 Style Idea: The High Bun

This is another look I love. I do this when my hair is wet or dry, but mostly, while it is  wet.

I also love to braid the end and then wrap it into a rosette bun. This picture to the left  is what the texture looks like.

Here’s a great tutorial from a guru I follow on how she does her high bun. So quick and  simple. And man, she’s right, claw clamps are amazing!

The Braid Encyclopedia

The Braid Encyclopedia

And of course, every girl needs a good handle on multiple braid styles.

A typical missions group will have one girl who can braid hair like a magician, but more often than not, she won’t even have time to eat breakfast for doing other people’s hair every day. Try to find a way make it fun for the whole group.

Quick tip: Elect girls on your team to learn one braid before your trip. That way, the bulk of the work is shared amongst the team. Here’s an excellent reference video on a ton of different styles of drop braids.

Be Creative

But most of all, don’t forget to be creative! Wet hair is so manageable and easy to create looks that seem intricate, but aren’t at all. Here’s a few of my creative styles in Haiti from this past summer.



For more inspiration and excellent tutorials check out the hair queen, LetsMakeItUp1 on YouTube. Her tutorials range from beginner to advanced and she’s incredibly easy to follow along with. Give it a shot!

I use at least one of her looks every week. Even if it is something as simple as this triple twist:


Braids = Relationships

Remember, a typical single french braid take on average, 5 minutes. That’s 5 minutes you spend with someone else on your team, use that time to talk over highlights from the day, struggles you’re dealing with or spend time in prayer. I know for me, this down time I get while doing other girls hair is the main reason why I love it so much. I get to connect one on one with someone on staff, on the team or from the community.

I hope in the future, as you prepare for your mission trip, you can have a few hairstyles in your back pocket for those cold-shower mornings when you’re in a rush, your hair is wet and you’ve got to get it up quick.

If you want to see more posts like this, watch my Facebook feed. This is a group series with my missionary girlfriends. As they post, I’ll share them on Facebook…you’ll not want to miss a one!



“The Ultimate Mission Trip Style Guide.” – tips and tricks from Praying Pelican Missions lady missionaries on how to look good, feel good and take the pressure off of packing your suitcase for a new culture, climate and lifestyle. Our heart is to remove the anxiety and focus from timeless questions like: “What do I wear?” and give you a few tips that we’ve learned throughout the years. Ultimately, we pray that these posts would be a resource for you as you prepare for your trip. We want to provide you with a few tools that can help you remain focused on what God is teaching you and doing around you during your time abroad, instead of the length of your shorts, the style of your still-wet hair or how much make-up is appropriate. But of course, throughout it all, we must have fun in the process!

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