I have hair to the top of my butt, and plans to grow it past my butt, and at five foot seven inches, I am not a short woman.
All this means that my hair laughs in the face of hair accessories from the drugstore or Claire’s. On top of this, long hair (especially long processed hair like mine) is delicate and must be treated with care. I don’t want anything with rough edges or a propensity for snagging, and I also don’t want anything that doesn’t work to distribute the not inconsiderable weight of my hair. After all I’m not looking to get headaches or tension alopecia here.
Do these problems sound insurmountable? Well, fear not, long-(or thick-)haired friends, I have four, count ’em, four solutions to the problem of getting updos to stay up when you’ve got a lot of hair.
These are the most expensive item on the list, but they are well worth the price. They are sturdy, securing hair that kills your average claw clip with ease, intuitive to use (it’s a clip -- hard to get more user friendly than that) and come in an absurdly beautiful range of enamel finishes.
Just a note: The enamel collections are sturdier and better-made than the cheaper acetate ones, though the acetates aren’t bad by any means. The spring on the enamels, though, is seriously built to last. I fully expect to be able to leave these to my as-yet-unborn children when I die. That likely won’t be for a long time; my great grandmother is still kicking at 100. So, you know, they’re pretty sturdy.
2. The Flexi-8
OK, I’ll be the first to admit that on the website they look a little “Midwestern Christian Mommy Blogger” (and they are popular among that set), but if you style them right they can also be super pretty. And the extra large and mega sizes will comfortably hold a truly impressive amount of hair.
I’m wearing this one as I write this, and I can assure you that I find it secure, comfortable and 100 percent compatible with my sinful lifestyle. You can also buy them from the parent company’s website here, but I prefer Lillarose because of the bigger selection and how adorable the consultants are. I mean, these ladies send you a personally written little thank you note after every order.
3. Hair Forks
WTF is a hair fork you ask? Well I can promise you it’s not a fork made of hair, because that would be equal parts useless and upsetting. A hair fork is sort of like a hair pin, except giant and possibly with a lot more prongs (tines?). They can be made of metal, wood, plastic, or even, for the aggressively non-vegan, antler or bone. They’re great for securing a wide variety of buns, and come in huge range of styles to suit just about any taste.
My favorite ones come from various artisans on Etsy. My personal favorites are Ravenslair for bejeweled and fancy or very minimalist aluminum forks and pins, Jeterforks and Grahtoe Studios for beautifully made pieces in interesting woods, Antler Adornments for that cavegirl look, and Elrond’s Emporium for vintage hair accessories from all over the world.
4. Hair Sticks
Remember hairsticks? From the ’90s? Oh, you weren’t born yet? How are you reading this, shouldn't you should still be a baby? Anyway, hairsticks, they’re sticks for your hair. They come single or in pairs, and have a little bit of a learning curve, but once you’ve learned to work with them, they’re a breeze to use and super comfortable. Like hair forks, they’re made of all sorts of things, and can be decorated all sorts of ways.
Personally, I like ones with elaborate sparkly danglies because in my heart of hearts I am a magpie, but if that’s not your jam they can also be really sleek and minimalist, because well, it’s a stick. A sanded, polished stick. I also like to buy these on Etsy because they have a wide variety of beautiful things made by awesome crafty people. If you share my love of shiny things, Nightblooming, which also has some fantastic nerdy themed accessories if you’re into that (the owner is also a total sweetheart which is a bonus), HairJems, VixensDelight and Garden Of Weedin Girl are probably for you. If you prefer to keep it simple, Over The Hawaiian Moon has some lovely simple wood and aluminum sticks, and Lindercroft does some very pretty things in simple natural woods. If you’re in the mood to really treat yourself, Timberstone Turnings has hairsticks made of sumptuous woods inlaid with precious stones, as well as ones made from fresh flowers embedded in resin.
As a side note: I try to be pretty conscientious about appropriation, so I did some research on this. Hair sticks seem to be very very ancient in origin, with examples being found throughout the world going back to prehistory, and in numerous cultures. You see examples of this design in just about every culture in the world. But please don't conflate hair sticks with chopsticks -- chopsticks are not hair ornaments and their use as a "cutesy" and "exotic" hair ornament could be considered offensive.
Hopefully this will give those of you with massive hair some great options for keeping it up and out of the way.