Essential Hair Accessories

model with jeweled hair clip

Hair accessories are available everywhere from drugstores and mass merchandise retailers to specialty jewelry and accessory shops. A simple black barrette may be just the thing to tame your curls at the office, while a rhinestone condor clip could be the ticket to jazzzing up your updo for a girl's night out. No matter what type of haircut you have, you can make a major change with just a simple hair embellishment.

Shopping for Accessories

Having the right hair accessories can morph an ordinary style into a spectacular one. Whatever your style needs, shopping for accessories online can expand your options. Be sure to check out the following online retailers who stock a large selection of trendy to classic items:

  • Elegant Hair Accessories: Shop at this wholesale and retail site for elegant and stylish hair clips and accessories.
  • Etsy: Be sure to check out Etsy's marketplace for statement making handmade and unique accessory options.
  • Hair Boutique: With same day shipping for most orders, Hair Boutique offers an abundant supply of headbands, scarves and embellished pieces.
  • Glad Hair: Shop for on-trend accessories to dress up your style such as crystal, cobs and hair twists.
  • Hot Topic: Although they carry clothing, you can find edgy hair bows, clips, headbands, and even funky and feather hair extensions.
  • France Luxe: Offering a finer selection of pieces, France Luxe and L. Erikson accessories are handcrafted with unsurpassed comfort. This is the perfect place to shop if you've given up on headbands due to discomfort of wearing. Shop for traditional to exotic pieces in a rainbow of colors manufactured from cellulose rather than animal products.

In addition to online shopping, specialty beauty supply stores such as Sally's Beauty Supply carry a large selection of unique hair adornments. For those seeking unique and one-of a-kind pieces, flea markets and vintage stores often have a few antique selections of combs and barrette. Big box stores and even large department store retailers also carry hair accessories suitable for casual to formal occasions. For even more savings, scour clearance bins and discount retail stores.


Ponytail Elastics

Elastic ponytail holders, also known as pony-o's or hair ties, are the little black dresses of the hair accessory world. Ponytail holders can create a wealth of styles, from classic ponytails to braids to trendy bun looks. Ponytail holder selections include:

  • Standard ponytail holders: An elastic band usually held together with a small metal band.
  • No damage ponytail holders: A continuous strip of elastic that reduces hair damage.
  • Hair hose: Stretchy bands consisting of nylon or other hosiery materials.
  • Scrunchies: Elastic bands surrounded by a strip of fabric that ruffles or bunches up around the band.
  • Decorative elastics: Ponytail holders with a central jewel or design accent.

Hair ties and elastics come in all types of sizes. A standard medium size can work with many styles and hair types. Goody's Ouchless collection has different styles and sizes that keep hair secure but offer damage-free protections for your hair.


featehr headband

Hedbands are easy to pull on to keep unruly hair out of the way. They can be the perfect solution to a bad hair day, or with the right details, add amazing accents for dressy occasions. Elastic grip and cloth headbands serve practical purposes in keeping hair back for casual styles. Bleu Dame sells dozens of headbands, ranging from casual cloth wraps to sophisticated leather styles to fancy flower-embellished bands.

Hair Clips

Hair clips can pull hair back away from the face, or just add some spice to a style. They range from simple to elaborate and work by clamping or snapping down on a portion of hair.

  • Barrettes: Although the majority of barrettes are metal, they can be made from a wide variety of materials, from plastic to wood. Available in small, medium, and large sizes, barrettes snap or clasp close to hold a portion of hair in place.
  • Alligator clamps: Alligator clamps generally com in small to medium sizes. They open by squeezing one end and close down on the hair. They hold a small to medium amount of hair.
  • Condor clips: Similar to alligator clamps, condor clips are larger and hold more hair. They can be used to secure messy or piecy buns and updos.
  • Hair claws or jaws: Hair claws or jaws are squeezed open and gather together a portion of hair in its 'jaw' or 'claw.' Mini claw clips look cute pulling back small portions of hair, while larger jaw clips can pull back larger portions of hair and secure updos.
  • Hair snaps: Used mainly for decorative purposes, hair snaps are tiny clips that hold only few strands of hair.

Scunci products are available at mass retailers and have an affordable range of claws, barrettes, and other clips.

Hair Pins

Hair pins are smaller than clips and slide into hair rather than clamp down. They are used for both securing portions of hair in a style and for decoration. Bobby pins are used in both everyday and dressy hairstyles, while chignon pins and hair pin jewels are hair accessories usually reserved for formal occasions. MetaGrip bobby pins, available at Sally Beauty Supply, get rave reviews from users on their durability.

Hair Sticks

Hair sticks are used in securing buns and updos. Small hair sticks can be used to secure partial updos and smaller amounts if hair. Wood is a popular material for hair sticks, although metal, plastic and other materials are available. In addition to hair sticks, variations like hair forks, hair prongs and hair spikes are available. For added accents, consider those with additional decoration. Hair Coverings offers lightweight plastic sticks with decorative stones, and Long Locks offers unique art glass sticks.

Formal Occasion Pieces

silk flower accessory

When a regular accessory isn't quite enough bang, bridal, prom, and formal occasion hair accessories often have jewels, pearls, crystal or other elegant décor. Popular hair pieces include:

  • Tiaras or jeweled headbands
  • Jeweled or decorated combs
  • Bun wraps
  • Hair jewels (clips, pins, or magnets)
  • Flowers (real or silk)
  • Ribbons or bows
  • Beads or strands of beads

You can find fancier versions of these pieces at many standard shops, but it can also be helpful to consider those that specialize in formal hair styles. Hair Comes the Bride, for example, offers bridal hair items in a great range of styles, from pretty beachy barettes to vintage wedding hair flower to lightly embellished bridal combs. SoHo Fashion is another store that offers a great selection of hair jewelry, jeweled hair clips, bands, and combs perfect for proms, weddings, or other formal events.

Make Your Own

In addition to shopping for items to decorate and style your hair, you can also create your own with a few supplies. Basic metal craft barrettes and headbands can be adorned with faux flowers, beads and crystals with a glue gun, or wrapped with threads and braided into textural hair accents. If you're creative and crafty, you'll find plenty of options for making your own hair pieces. Online tutorials, like Samantha Hahn's vintage-inspired accessory instructions make it easy to learn how to create your own pieces.

Whether you buy retail, shop vintage or craft you own hair accessories, be sure to store them properly to prolong their use. A closed cosmetic case can make searching for an accessory to secure your style that much easier. Rather than rely on basic hair elastics and plain barrettes to affix your cut, build your accessory collection and start adding some pizzazz to your style.

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Essential Hair Accessories