The Ultimate Guide to Hair Accessories for Women

Take your hairstyle to the next level in 10 seconds.

Model with barrettes backstage at Tom Ford
Photo:

Masato Onoda/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images

Whether you’re trying to distract from third-day hair or want to add a little extra zhush to your overall ensemble, a hair accessory can be a great fix for any situation. Special occasions are a great time for something over-the-top with sparkle and shine, but they can also upgrade your everyday look. Bottom line? Whenever you use them, hair accessories instantly add interest to any hairstyle.

Of course, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to hair accessories. So, we broke down the most popular types, how to style around them, and why they might be a good fit for you. 

French Hair Pins

Leave it to the French to make your go-to ponytail or bun look less tired. “The French hair pin is a two-pronged, U-shaped hair pin used to secure one’s hair for an updo or a half-updo. It works best for medium to thick, longer hair to look chic and put together in a flash,” says Harry Josh, celebrity hairstylist and founder of Harry Josh Pro Tools. Try The Hair Edit Large French Hair Pin.

Style the accessory by securing your hair into a long ponytail at the nape of your neck, then “twist it upwards to your head and insert your French hair pin,” says Josh. The best way to secure the pin is by sticking the prongs upwards into your twist or bun and hooking it up and through to fasten it. For fine hair textures, using a texture spray before styling to hold the pin in place could be helpful.

Headbands

The idea of wearing a headband can be polarizing: They can make you feel like a boss, or they might bring up memories of how they constantly slipped off your head on the playground. Luckily, there are so many elevated headband options to make the style work for you, making them a great “starter” hair accessory if it’s been a while since you’ve implemented them into your look. “They take just seconds to add to look and elevate your style,” says Sarah Potempa, celebrity hairstylist and founder of The Beachwaver Co.

When choosing the right headband, consider its primary purpose: If you want it to be more decorative, go for a dainty and delicate style. Or, if you’re looking for one to functionally hold your hair back and out of your face, you’ll want a sturdier (and perhaps thicker) headband, like Beachwaver Co. Floral Print Headband, to get the job done.

Hair Barrettes

You might not have used a hair barrette since you were a kid, but hear us out: “I love the look of barrettes — especially stacked barrettes. It’s a great way to get creative and fun with your hair, and they truly work with any type of hair texture of length,” says Josh.

Barrettes are usually around 2-3 inches long and are designed to pull back small sections of hair with a clasp. “A larger barrette can work for a half-up, half-down look by securing the top half of your hair at the back of your head,” says Josh. We love the Alexandre de Paris Floralies Hair Barrette.

Hair Claws

For an easy alternative to a hair elastic, a hair claw is your friend. Hair claws are clips that have multiple prongs on each side to clasp your hair into place. “They make styling your hair incredibly low maintenance," says Josh. "The most popular way to use a claw clip is simply grabbing all your hair, twisting it up against the back of your head, and using the clip to secure it in place." It’s also perfect for those with shorter hair to keep layers out of your face. Try Old Navy Gold Hair Claw Hair Clip.

Mini Hair Clips

Stash away the plastic neon butterfly mini hair clips for your next ‘90s-theme party and go for something like the Anthropologie Mini Claw Hair Clip Set instead. “Neutral colors make them great for everyday use,” says Potempa. Since they’re small, they work for all hair lengths and textures. “They’re also nice for those with fine hair because they can hold it tightly to secure your style," she says. "They can also secure back individual sections of thick, heavy hair."

Plus, you can experiment with different ways of wearing them. “One way you can rock with mini clips is by pulling small pieces from both sides of your face back and keeping them in place with the mini clips," Josh says. "You can also let some front pieces out to give it a more relaxed look."

Scrunchies

These fabric-covered elastic hair ties used to have a bad rap, but we now appreciate their practicality. “Since the band is covered in fabric and creates a barrier between the elastic and your hair, scrunchies reduce tension. So, they’re a more gentle alternative to your typical hair tie,” says Potempa. You can lean into the ‘80s vibe by securing your high ponytail with an oversized scrunchie.

"For a big voluminous ponytail, I like to pull the hair up to the top of the head, loosen the hair at the root a little bit, pull out some face-framing pieces, and then spray the pony with a finishing spray," says Potempa. And the best part? “They don’t leave a crease in your hair,” adds Josh.

Statement Hair Ties

If a scrunchie isn’t your vibe, a statement hair tie, like Lelet Glossy Knot Pony Cuff, is a simple way to dress up an otherwise basic hairstyle. “Try a low, loose wave ponytail or a tight, high ponytail. Both will showcase your statement hair tie,” says Josh. No complicated how-to is necessary: Just use them the same way you would a regular hair tie. 

Statement Bobby Pins

Not to be confused with hair pins (which are U-shaped), bobby pins are metal clips with two flexible prongs with a ridged side for keeping hair in position. They’ve come a long way from simply camouflaging into your hair — now, we aim to show them off. Case in point? The Hair Edit Gold & Black Decorative Bobby Pin Set.

reat for any hair type or texture, “statement bobby pins are perfect for putting the front pieces of your hair back to showcase the pins,” says Josh. If you’re pulling back bangs or face-framing layers, “a touchup creme can help make sure your hair is in place, and there are no fly-aways,” he adds. Try Aveda Light Elements Texturizing Creme to add a light hold to those baby hairs. 

Hair Combs

Vintage-style hair combs like L. Erickson Alina Beaded Hair Combaren’t just for your next Downton Abbey theme party. “There are various hair combs that work with every type of hair. I love how they can help dress up any look,” says Josh. It sometimes takes a bit of practice to secure a hair comb. “An easy way is to tuck it into a low bun,” says Josh.

If you find your hair comb slipping and sliding, use Amika Un.Done Volume and Matte Texture Spray to give your hair some grip. Hold the comb upside down (the curve facing outward), sweep the comb alongside your head, then flip it around so the curved side is flush against your head.

Hair Bows

Haven’t worn a hair bow since your high school cheerleading days? No problem. The adult way to wear them is by choosing expensive-looking fabrics like velvet or satin and neutral, solid colors. You can tie a bow with a loose piece of fabric directly around your hair, but it may be hard to keep in place if your hair is straight or fine. For fuss-free styling for any hair texture, opt for elastics with a bow attached or bows with fasteners that hook into your existing ponytail elastic. 

Related Articles