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Hair Sticks | Trendy Accessories Making a Fashion Comeback

Whether you used hair sticks in the 90s like Hilary Duff or are just discovering the artsy trend, these decorative hair accessories are popping up everywhere now. We’ll show you why they’re trending below.

First, What Are Hair Sticks?

Hair sticks in the back of a woman's bun


Hair sticks are tapered or pointed objects used to add an element of decoration and stability to a hairstyle. They can be straight, curved, or shaped like a two-pronged fork (hair forks). Hair sticks can be made from a range of materials, like wood, plastic, and metal.

You might’ve even seen wooden chopsticks or pencils used as hair sticks in a pinch! Hair sticks are usually no more than 8 inches long (but longer ones do exist for ultra-long hair).

They are decorative, featuring colorful materials, etched designs, and jewels or metallic accents. One of the things that brought this trend out of retirement is the sheer versatility of these style-securing adornments.

They can work with almost any updo hairstyle from basic buns to fancy updos. And you can find so many types and styles of hair sticks that there’s always one to perfectly complement your outfit! 

One of the best things about hair sticks is that they don’t leave a crease in your hair when you take it down. And if you’re sick of running through a pack of bobby pins to create a cute bun, you’re going to love hair sticks. They’re also gentle on hair for less breakage than ponytails and buns! 

The one limitation to hair sticks? They work best with medium to long hair. You can use them in short hair, but it’s more difficult without additional length for the hair stick to plunge through to secure the style.

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FEQO Acetate Tortoise Shell Hair Sticks (10 Pack)

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What Does a Hair Stick Do?

Hair sticks have two basic functions: To be a decorative accessory and to hold a hairstyle in place. This trend is truly a great example of where form meets function! The straight picks spear through updo hairstyles to secure and accent them. 

Hair sticks can be used as a non-damaging alternative to elastics and hair ties. Unlike these tools, hair sticks don’t need to wrap around the hair to hold it up.

This also reduces the amount of tension the style will put on your scalp as the weight is more evenly distributed with hair sticks. Hair sticks have been used for these purposes for thousands of years.

The Ancient Japanese, Romans, Egyptians, and Greeks all made use of these decorative hair accessories and even used them as symbols of status. The more bejeweled and ornamental hair sticks were worn by royalty and nobility in ancient societies.

But whether the stick was basic and made of wood or made of gold and inlaid with rubies, these hairstyle-sturdying picks were in wide use in ancient times. Today, we have elastics, pins, and clips that can do the same job, but hair sticks are still popular because of their unique look! 

How to Use a Hair Stick

Hair sticks are plunged into and through hair that has been coiled, braided, or bundled. The tapered end of the stick typically enters one side of the style, is pointed toward the scalp to “anchor” the style, and popped back out through the opposite side. 

You’ll see hair sticks used individually (which can be a little more difficult, especially if you have very thick or long hair), in pairs, or even in multiples.

It’s all about creating the look you’re going for and making your hairstyle as secure and stable as you need it to be. You might add only one hair stick to secure a basic hairdo, like a low coiled bun.

You might need more hair sticks to anchor a complicated hairstyle that would normally require bobby pins to stay put, like a French twist. 

How to Wear the Hair Sticks Trend

Want to see this trend in action? Check out the different ways you can rock the hair sticks trend with cute hairstyles below! From basic chic low buns to half-updos and French twists, there’s a style for any occasion! Keep the tension off your scalp and adopt the hair sticks trend with these pretty styles.

Low Coiled Hair Stick Bun

Low Coiled Hair Stick Bun

Keith Levit/Shutterstock

A low bun is always easy and chic. When you add a single decorative hair stick to the style, it becomes much more secure and a lot cuter! Rock the trend by choosing a stick that matches your style. We love this girl’s jumbo red hair stick that goes perfectly with her outfit! 

Coiled Bun Half-Up Knot

Coiled Bun Half-Up Knot with hair sticks in it

Nickolay Khoroshkov/Shutterstock

Half-up styles are easy to master with hair sticks because there’s less hair to hold. Gather the top half of your hair and coil it into a basic bun.

Then wriggle a hair stick through the bun and anchor it securely by sliding it underneath and back through the other side. Finish by repeating on the opposite side of the bun with another hair stick crossed into an X formation. 

Hair Sticks and Space Buns

Hair Sticks and Space Buns

More Than Production/Shutterstock

Double space buns are one of the cutest throwback styles – why not make it a double throwback by working in some hair sticks? Coil your space buns high up and use two hair sticks crossed in an X-shape to secure each bun. This is such a fun hairstyle and you’re sure to get compliments when you try it!

Read Next: What Are Space Buns?

Low Coiled Messy Bun With Twin Sticks

Low Coiled Messy Bun With Twin Hair Sticks

Nickolay Khoroshkov/Shutterstock

For an effortless and casual look, we really adore a messy coiled bun with 2 hair sticks for support and style.

Using twin hair sticks – or just 2 hair sticks that look interesting together – better anchors the style if you’re planning on moving around a lot. To nail the messy look, let pieces fall out of the bun or tug on the finished bun to fan the ends out a bit. 

French Twist With Crossed Hair Sticks 

French Twist With Crossed Hair Sticks 


An elegant French twist is a gorgeous, classic hairstyle – but it requires so many pins that it’s usually uncomfortable to wear. Replace the myriad pins with 2 crossed hair sticks for better security and a much more comfortable style you can wear all day long! 

Things to Consider

Ready to start wearing hair sticks or forks? Great! There are just a few more things to consider before you use them. Follow these tips to get the most out of your hair sticks! 

Choose a Non Damaging Hair Sticks Material

Hair sticks can prevent excess tension and breakage from updos, but only if you get the right type. Plastic and metal sticks are usually smooth and won’t damage hair. Wooden sticks can have tiny cracks or imperfections can snag hair and lead to breakage.

Dangling pieces on the end of a hair stick can also lead to tangling and breakage. Choose a smooth, unadorned hair stick for the most damage protection! 

Prep for Success With Products

Before you use hair sticks to secure a style, make sure you’re prepping with the right hair products. Don’t use anything that’ll leave your hair slippery or overly moisturized. Slippery styles and hair sticks won’t pair well together!

You need a little extra grip to help your sticks better secure your hairstyle. 

Curls and waves provide some natural grip, but if you have (forgive the pun) stick-straight hair, you might consider working some mousse or dry shampoo into your hair before using hair sticks for some extra grip. 

Bulk Up Thin or Fine Hair Before Using

Hair sticks are perfect for medium to long hair, thick hair, wavy hair, curly hair – really, all you need to properly use hair sticks is plenty of hair and texture for the sticks to hold onto.

But if you have ultra-fine or very thin hair, you can still make use of trendy hair sticks – you just need to bulk it up first! Try braiding your hair to provide that extra bulk before you use hair sticks.

Braiding will create a fuller, thicker, and more secure base for your sticks to nestle into. It also has the added benefit of making any hairstyle more intricate and pretty! Check out tons of cute braid options here: Braided Hairstyles | Braid Ideas & Detailed Style Guide.  

Don’t Force It

When you start using hair sticks, you may run into resistance when pushing a stick through a tight style. Never force a hair stick into your hair – this will only result in breakage and scalp pain!

If your hair stick won’t push forward without causing pain or discomfort, the section is probably twisted or coiled too tightly to push the stick through. If you do feel resistance as you push the stick through, back it out gently and try again from a slightly different angle or slowly twist the stick as you push.

If you’re still feeling resistance, do not continue to push forward. Your style is likely just wound too tightly. Let it fall down and try creating the style a little more loosely. 

Practice, Practice, Practice

The real key to mastering the art of hair sticks is practice. Your first few tries may not feel as secure as you’re used to when you use an elastic or hair clip. That’s okay! It’s just part of the learning curve. 

As you experiment with your hair sticks, try different angles of entry, using 1 or 2 sticks, pre-braiding your hair for more bulk and security, and experiment with a few different styles. You’ll get a better handle on it as you practice so you can find the most secure and comfortable placement for your needs.

Our Top Pick
FEQO Acetate Tortoise Shell Hair Sticks (10 Pack)

Check Latest Price
We may earn a commission when you click this link, at no extra cost to you.

Are Hair Sticks Right for You?

So, there you have it – you’re now prepped and ready to wear the hair sticks trend! Pick up a pack of 2 and give them a try to see if you’re really about the hair stick life. You’ll find options ranging in price from just a few dollars to expensive, handmade sticks with special adornments. 

We think you’ll love how these tiny hair tools can transform a basic bun, braid, or twist into an artsy updo that looks so much more chic. They’re safer for use than hair ties and elastics and will reduce breakage to keep your hair healthy, long, and strong. 

And if you grab a pair of chopsticks with your takeout tonight, we won’t tell if you use them for your bun instead of your steamed dumplings!

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