help me tame my feral hair!
April 21, 2007 7:37 PM   Subscribe

I need hairbands, and hopefully barrettes to help tame the wild animal attacking my head.

I googled and searched ask for prior answers and nothing really clicked for me, so I'll try to be specific. I need cute, pretty, stylish ponytail holders and/or clips that WORK, period. They have to have enough volume for some seriously thick hair, and they have to have some 'grab' cos it's slippery, too.

I have some hair bands but i really don't care much for the alice-in-wonderland look (for me) plus my hair is a little aggro for them too (they slip off easily). I much prefer the single clip / ponytail idea, except that i have not yet found a clip with the volume to hold this mess. it slips/springs out and frizzes all over the place and breaks ponytail holders. scrunchies slip off immediately.

I have some seriously thick hair, like, i measured the volume with a piece of string and the diameter is 1 3/8" give or take a sixteenth. Add to that the texture is... well the closest thing i can think of is a horse's mane. it's thick, springy, SLIPPERY and full of cowlicks... meaning it's not curly, but not straight either. it patently REFUSES to hold a braid, i don't care what products you use or how tight you yank it, and a braid pulling at my temples gives me a headache anyhow.

the benefit is that when it's down, it's a glorious, glossy, thick, shiny, full-of-body mane of porn-star hair. GREAT for going out, and the dude loooves it. so i'm not going to cut it. the challenge is that i need to keep it back at work (it gets everywhere and drives me nuts when i have to have my head down writing or whatever).

so, help point me towards some stylish, snazzy hair clips, ponytail holders and accessories that can stand up and latch onto my ornery-assed hair.
posted by lonefrontranger to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (34 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
i measured the volume with a piece of string and the diameter is 1 3/8" give or take a sixteenth.

uhhh, me no good at math... i just know the math nerds are gonna bust on me for this. i did mean diameter tho, NOT circumference - my hair, when ponytailed will fill the volume of a 1 3/8" ring.
posted by lonefrontranger at 7:57 PM on April 21, 2007

I have a couple of these which I love for putting my hair up. I've found that it's one of the quickest, easiest things to do.
posted by kellyblah at 7:59 PM on April 21, 2007

One product you look into might be those zig-zag hairbands that athletes and middle school girls use. They're actually a full circle, and it goes behind your ears and around the back of your head, but it's held in by the structure of the zig zag itself.

And... if you do it right, guys TOTALLY dig the 'alice in wonderland' look, yo. Seriously. I think hairbands CAN BE one of the hottest accessories... Only example I can think of right now is Ginnifer Goodwin at the end of "In The Land of Women"...
posted by SpecialK at 8:03 PM on April 21, 2007

When my hair is long, I use chopsticks to put my hair up- twist hair into bun, use one chopstick to spear middle of bun and and latch into pulled back hair, use other chopstick in similar manner to hold bun tight on head. I hope that vague explanation is of some help.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:11 PM on April 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

An ex with your issues used to swear by Hairdini products. They worked with her terriffic head of hair when nothing else did. And she had pounds of hair on her head.
posted by paulsc at 8:23 PM on April 21, 2007

I have rather a lot of hair that refuses to stay up in clips, and the chopstick method works for me, pretty much as TPS described it above. It takes some experimentation to get the right combination of bun and chopstick placement, but it works fairly well.
posted by MadamM at 8:28 PM on April 21, 2007

Yeah, I do the chopstick thing, too, except it's generally any available pen, and my hair's pretty thick. I twist my hair around toward the top of my head, then poke the pen in from bottom to top, left to right (in a diagonal) and poke it through the hair. It's like a scooping motion, maybe.

And specialk, dude, she said she doesn't like the Alice look for herself. Right now we're not worried about what boys want.
posted by sugarfish at 8:49 PM on April 21, 2007

the biggest issue i have with the chopstick or hair stick method is i can't emphasise enough how coarse and slippery my hair is. it just. doesn't. work. i've never, ever been able to work my hair into any kind of bun or updo that will stay.

any of you guys ever tried to braid a horse's mane? this is what we're talking about here in texture. i swear i'm not making this up.

that plus it's just past mid-length (like a couple inches past my shoulders and in long layers. so, ponytails work. anything requiring a twist... not so much.
posted by lonefrontranger at 8:58 PM on April 21, 2007

I have very thick hair for having fine, fairly straight hair, and the ponytail holders I wear day to day, not for decorative purposes but for comfort and function are Goody "Ouchless Extra Thick" elastics. You can navigate to them here, and find them in probably most drug stores. They are great for never snagging when removed, and for being adjustable while on (I sometimes make a post-pony pompadour, if you follow) but occasionally they snap when stretched.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:03 PM on April 21, 2007

Ambrosia i got a bunch of those. i've broken a bunch trying to get a third wrap on so my hair will actually stay in them. two wraps does nothing and the hair slips out anyway.

that and they're kinda... not ugly but certainly let's say they're functional and leave it at that. as someone who kept her hair in a short boy-crop for twenty years (mainly for reasons stated above) and is only now exploring the fun parts of having long girly hair, i was kinda hoping to find something more decorative.
posted by lonefrontranger at 9:08 PM on April 21, 2007

I have long thick hair, and I have trouble with hairsticks too, unless I do it while my hair is wet. Then my hair will stay in its bun held by one stick all day long. These claws work well for me, because they hold a lot more hair than the regular ones. I also like the hair elastics that aren't covered in fabric: like these by Sephora (but I got mine at my local drugstore) because they don't fall out like the others. They can be used as a great holder underneath something more decorative.

Are you against using some mousse or hairspray? Even though I hate putting product in my hair, they would give you more texture, helping accessories and clips hold better.
posted by rhapsodie at 9:32 PM on April 21, 2007

Well, since ugliness is in the eye of etc., maybe some description of what kinds of styles you like would be helpful. Plastic tortie clips and scrunchies of all stripes are both, let's say, way out of my purview.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:35 PM on April 21, 2007

Combo method: for functional hair-tying-back-ness, try a long elastic headband-type-thing (used by European soccer stars, among others), but use it as a plain hair elastic. That'll wrap a bunch of times around and you can create a ponytail at the top of your head. Then get a 'decorative' piece of crap or other claw-clip that would, under normal circumstances, get laughed out of your hair in two seconds. Just snag it in on top. Voila, illusion of control by clip, hair actually being wrassled into submission by giant elastic band underneath.
posted by Mrs Hilksom at 9:36 PM on April 21, 2007

I've got it! They're not cheap, but they're art pieces and they'll hold ANYTHING. The small ones are for a portion of your hair and the large ones should do for even all of your hair. They work for both fine and thick hair, little or lots.

I know this last statement is going to make you think that they won't work for your hair, but my friend has hair like yours and I have fine, straight hair. She borrowed mine even after she too had broken those goody thick elastics, and it held her hair.
posted by kch at 9:43 PM on April 21, 2007

It's not as perfect as they'd advertise it to be, but it DEFINITELY DEFINITELY helps: Goodie Stay Put Hair Elastics (you'd probably need the extra thick ones).
posted by mittenedsex at 9:44 PM on April 21, 2007

maybe some description of what kinds of styles you like would be helpful.
(from original post) I need cute, pretty, stylish ponytail holders and/or clips that WORK ...I much prefer the single clip / ponytail idea...
sorry, i know the OP was long and kinda convoluted.

when i say 'clips' i'm thinking metal barrettes. those comb clips don't really do it for me.

think single, low ponytail folks, and devices to achieve same. I'm thinking Mrs. Hilksom is onto something, tho i'm not so into the ponytail-on-top-of-the-head thing (too I-Dream-Of-Jeannie, sorry).
posted by lonefrontranger at 9:48 PM on April 21, 2007

Get the ponytail elastics that are flat in cross section, not round. Like these. The round ones will just roll right out of your hair, but the flat ones won't.

For hair clips, I like this octopus style. It grips tighter than a regular clip.
posted by MsMolly at 10:07 PM on April 21, 2007

Hairclip snob here.....I highly recommend France Luxe hairclips (jaws). The company makes high quality hair accessories. I have had the same hair clip for 6 years-It's held up for all these years without breaking (and I have not lost it). I am sure you could find something that would work for your hair, give them a call and explain your needs.
posted by Maishe at 10:23 PM on April 21, 2007

I originated these things they work very well for thick hair.
posted by hortense at 11:03 PM on April 21, 2007

I'll second the rec for the non-snag Sephora-style elastics. I bought some while killing time in the store during a friend's search for the perfect foundation. Those elastics only need two twists for thick hair in my experience, and though functional-looking have a silky texture to them that is appealing. For metal barrette-style clips, it helps to just get as wide a clip as possible, because they allow the hair to spread out a bit as it's clipped, thus thinning the diameter/circumference/whatever. In that sense, I can see why the clips linked by kch would work well w/thick hair. (The descriptions say that the large ones are 5" across.)
posted by PY at 12:09 AM on April 22, 2007

It sounds like we have exactly the same hair, so I'm watching this thread with interest. I've never been able to get hair sticks or anything like that to work. My hair is very coarse and thick -- " thick, springy, SLIPPERY and full of cowlicks... meaning it's not curly, but not straight either" exactly like you said. I wish I could braid it! But it doesn't like to hold a braid, and if it did the braid would be huge.

Sadly, this means that I end up wearing ponytails every day, too. Even the "thick hair" clips from Scunci don't seem to be able to handle the volume. I do find that the Scunci Thick Hair elastics (in various types) at least work well for the ponytails. Normal size ones... not so much.

Some of the thick hair butterfly clips hold enough hair, but they just seem so big and heavy and they stick out so far that I don't like to wear them.

The only barrette type thing that is large enough is (once again) a Scunci one from their thick hair line -- it has a 3-way clasp thing so the fit is adjustable. But unfortunately, some of my hair keeps catching in the hinge and pulling, so it hasn't worked well for me.

I hope someone has some other good suggestions here since this would help me out a lot too. :)
posted by litlnemo at 12:21 AM on April 22, 2007

(on preview) py, even very wide clips may not work well with thick hair -- if you have a lot of hair, it doesn't really matter how wide you spread it out, the clip still has to be able to accomodate the thickness. Of course, sometimes you can just clip less hair, but that may not work with a particular desired style. But, yeah, with a given thickness of hair, a wider barrette will hold more.
posted by litlnemo at 12:25 AM on April 22, 2007

I have dreads, in a pony tail right now, held in place by one of those Goodie Stay Put Hair Elastics mittenedsex links to. I use them because they are STRONG. The seam is fairly strong, but I have broken a couple. However, they never break if I am conscious of where seam in the elastic it is, and try to avoid putting undue stress on that part while I'm tying the pony-tail.

(the tightest I can tie a ponytail is about a 3" diameter. So there! Also none of my hats fit :(   )
posted by aubilenon at 2:39 AM on April 22, 2007

Maybe try pigtails, if they are low behind your ears they won't look silly or immature. That way you're working with two medium-sized tails instead of one giant tail.

Other suggestions: Ponytail balls- the elastic bands shaped in a figure-eight with a plastic ball (or other shape) on each end. I find that it's easier to get these on really tight so they don't slip out. I have some with tortoiseshell cubes instead of balls and they look quite elegant. Just be careful, I always seem to whack my knuckles with these things for some reason.

I know that everyone is going to yell at me about this, but have you considered trying plain old rubber bands, the kind you probably have in your desk drawer? If you're desperate to keep your hair out of your eyes, it might be worth a try. Your hair is obviously strong and healthy, so breakage isn't going to be as big of an issue as it is for most people. Make the ponytail as low in the back as you can while still containing all your hair. Put a ribbon or a covered elastic over the top of it if you're worried about how it looks. Just make sure to cut it instead of pulling it out when you're ready to let your hair down and you should be fine.
posted by Wroksie at 2:58 AM on April 22, 2007

A friend of mine with hair that fits your description swears by some hair accessories (of various types) that she picked up in India. She reckons that they're the only thing that have ever kept her hair under control, and put it down to the fact that there seemed to be more women in India with similar hair to hers than she's ever seen in her own country. By using some hairpins that she bought in Mumbai, she was able to keep her hair up in a French twist for a full day. (I'm picturing your jaw dropping now.)

The bad news is that she's had trouble finding them anywhere else, though I know she hasn't tried the US. Not sure of your ethnic background or if there is much of an Indian population in Colorado, but it might be worth trying to find a shop with goods from India or asking friends?
posted by different at 5:06 AM on April 22, 2007

I have similar hair except curly. Absurdly thick. I use the goody stay put brand as well, they are great. Then if you want a prettier look you can tie a scarf or something around the ponytail. I also use the plastic jaw clips but they break pretty frequently.
posted by miss tea at 5:11 AM on April 22, 2007

One trick that I've found for my (thick, curly) hair is to make two ponytails, one above the other. Usually, I'll use a wide, decorative barette for the top one, and a Goody stretchy band for the one at my nape. This seems to give a "dressier" look for the office, and separating my hair into two tails lets most barrettes and soft bands work.
posted by vers at 5:34 AM on April 22, 2007

^barrette, and more caffeine
posted by vers at 5:36 AM on April 22, 2007

Some of the thick hair butterfly clips hold enough hair, but they just seem so big and heavy and they stick out so far that I don't like to wear them.

litlnemo: yes, that's it exactly! that and i personally just don't care for the look. it's like the big, wide hairbands; they look fine on other people, but that's not necessarily me.

kch, those are really gorgeous. now that's triggered a recollection that my mom (who has the same ornery hair i do) had some very similar ones that her hippie metalworker friends made, back before she whacked her hair off in the 80's. i wonder if she's lost them... eh, time to get out the credit cards.

Maishe thanks for that link, cos it led me to France Luxe's line of high-volume barrettes, which look to be money. as explained, i don't do what i call 'butterfly clips' for several reasons, some of them pretty snobbish. i guess i'm just really picky.

different, alas there's not so much of a central asian / indian population here in boulder. for the record my ethnicity = garden-variety anglo-teutonic mutt. towhead as a kid, it's darkened to a brown/dark blonde/auburn with random naturally occuring streaks and highlights. thank god no grey yet.

Wroskie i've done just that... with the big rubber bands you get off of broccoli stalks or newspapers. i have a sensitive head especially at the nape of my neck. the back of my hairline goes really far down my neck almost to my shoulders, and the pulling at that acute angle (i dont know if this is making any sense) really bugs me after awhile.

if anyone else has recommendations, keep 'em coming. i'm going to snoop around for more high volume barrettes and hair ties.
posted by lonefrontranger at 6:22 AM on April 22, 2007

Yup on the Goodie Stay-Put Hair Elastics with the rubberized "tread" on them. Only thing that keeps my hair in place when I'm running. I wear them at work too, I just put a nicer-looking elastic or bow on top.
posted by Jaie at 11:48 AM on April 22, 2007

Ted Gibson Bandosticks.
posted by padraigin at 9:49 PM on April 22, 2007

I have similar hair; wavy, coarse, long & thick. I like hair products by Goody. They oftem make a large all-metal barrette that's really big, and a large clip with a plastic decrative top meant to look like tortoise-shell. It's the only brand I've had luck with.

I have some silk pocket squares and bandanas that I use as headbands. The key is to not make it too tight. A little looser will help it stay on.
posted by theora55 at 6:42 AM on April 24, 2007

update: a friend pointed out that my hair had a very 40's length and shape to it. so i looked around a bit and figured out a VERY simple hairstyle that takes (with a bit of practise mind you) exactly two minutes, requires NO product, and that I can do with just 2 (normal) barrettes:

1) make an asymmetrical slanting part from my left temple to the middle of my head.

2) roll my (very long, slightly layered bangs) from left to right into a sort of pompadour roll, twist, and pin on the diagonal high up behind my right ear. the trick, i discovered, is to catch all the loose ends of the bangs in under the roll, and tuck / pin just the overlapping side piece, to 'trap' the rest of the mass underneath. sort of how TPS was describing her chopstick method, i think... then do the same for the left side going from part and slanting down towards the left ear.

anyhow the front ends up looking somewhat like the top drawing on this link... (scroll down) tho a bit less stiff and stylized.

for the rest & the back, i either ponytail the (considerably reduced) volume with a pretty hair tie, or do a version of this (my hair naturally curls under). it would probably look cool also with a small snood on the ponytail.
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:37 AM on April 24, 2007

Ficcare makes amazing headbands and hair clips. They are great quality and beautiful. You can get them online directly from the company or at places like Nordstrom.
posted by noodle95 at 6:24 PM on May 12, 2007

« Older best moisturizer after hair-removal cream?   |   Recommendations for a German-speaking US-based... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.