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18 Different Types of Hair Accessories

Explore the countless ways to wear your hair with the different types of hair accessories, from the functional to the decorative, from ponytail holders to butterfly clips and everything in between.

A variety of hair accessories in one container.

Hair accessories existed even as early as the prehistoric era when hair ornaments consisted of one-pronged stick hairpins, flower crowns in ancient Rome and Greece, and feathers and bones in Native American headdresses.

In the Bronze Age, ancient Egyptians wore curved wooden combs in their hair. Ancient Welsh women wore gold lockrings while Japanese women wore kogai pins to ward off evil spirits.

Cloth ornaments also appeared in early civilization such as braided fabrics among the Aztec and Mayan women. The Incan women wore headbands and cumbi cloth hairdresses while hair ribbons were popular in 17th-century France.

Men also wore hair accessories such as the headbands among Mesopotamian men and hair bows and ribbons among European and American men in the 17th-18th centuries.



A woman putting on a hair clip.

There are many different types of hair clips, but they are all designed with the same purpose in mind: to keep hair pulled back out of your face and in a style. From very small clips that are ideal to hold back fine baby hair so that it doesn’t fall to larger alligator clips that are designed to hold a whole ponytail without it falling, there are many different types of clips that you can choose from. One thing to make sure of when you choose clips is to pick the right material for your need.

While metal clips are very sturdy and durable and are not very likely to break or be damaged, they may not be the style that you are looking for and may not be as comfortable as plastic clips can tend to be.

On the other hand, plastic clips can be more easily broken and may not last for a long time. Depending on the style that you are looking for, you can choose clips in a variety of colors and designs so that they can improve your outfit and update the way that you look if you choose.


A close look at a barrette with a simple design.

Barrettes are generally smaller than hair clips tend to be, which makes them ideal for holding back thin hair or the hair on the side of your head. They can be worn in a number of different ways, depending on their size and the overall look that you want for your hair.

There are very short barrettes clips that can be used to pull back little bits of hair from around the face, while bigger barrettes can be worn at the back of the head and are used to pull back the majority of a person’s hair. Still, other barrettes are meant to be worn as a decoration.


A cute baby wearing a purple ribbon headband.

This clothing accessory is worn either around the forehead or around the top of the head, and while they can be worn purely for decorative purposes, they are often used to keep hair away from the eyes or the face. They can be made out of a few different materials.

Commonly, headbands are made of a single loop of material that is very elastic, so it will stretch to fit over the head and then fit snugly in place. Another popular type of headband is made out of a piece of formed, flexible metal or plastic. These headbands will slip over the top of the head and, while they have a little give to them, will generally keep their shape.

While formed headbands are popular due to the fact that they will not lose their shape, fabric headbands are significantly more comfortable to wear for long periods of time since they will conform to the head and won’t dig into the skin.

If you are worried about being able to keep stray hair from falling around your face, then it’s a good idea to consider a hard headband that has teeth. These teeth are similar to the teeth on combs and do a great job keeping hair in place, but they do tend to dig into the skin.

In recent years, headbands have become a great way to dress up for a specific event or a holiday. Hard, formed headbands are often adorned with items like reindeer or bunny ears, pumpkins, or hearts, depending on the holiday. Because headbands come in so many different colors and designs, it’s easy to find ones that will match your everyday outfit, even if you aren’t dressing up for something special.


A woman wearing a sweatband and tank top.

Very similar in design to headbands, sweatbands are generally thicker, made of highly absorbent fabric, and worn around the forehead. Their primary design is to make sure that sweat does not reach the eyes, although they can also be used to keep hair from falling in the face and as a fashion statement for a particular sports team.

Hair Pins

Colorful hair pins with glitters.

There are many different styles and types of hairpins, but their purposes are all the same, and that’s to keep someone’s hair in place. They are generally a very long device that can be made out of a number of different materials, depending on the style that you are interested in as well as your budget for buying a hairpin.

Originating in Egypt and Assyria, hairpins were often carved out of wood, ivory, or bone or formed from metal. These luxury objects are now very commonly worn by people all around the world.

There are two main types of hairpins: ones that are made out of a single straight piece of material, and ones that have been bent in half to form a crook. Hairpins that are straight are also called hair sticks.

They generally are between 5-9 inches long and are used to hold hair up and in a bun or other updo. They tend to be very elaborate and decorative and are a great way to add fashion and style to your overall outfit.

While straight hairpins can be tricky to use at first, especially since they tend to slide out of the hair and don’t have a textured surface to grip the hair itself, they are a wonderful way to embellish an updo. It’s normal to use them in conjunction with other hair clips or claws until you understand how to hold your hair up using just a straight hair stick.

The other popular type of hairpin is bent in half to form a crook that can actually be used to hold hair back out of the face or keep it in place. They are generally called bobby pins, and while they can range in size from under an inch to around 4-5 inches, they tend to be around 2.5 inches long.

They are flexible so that they can be opened and the bobby pin can be inserted into the hairstyle that needs to be controlled or held, and then it will close gently over the hair.

While they are often made in colors that will match a person’s natural hair color, it is possible to get bobby pins that are very bright or even have rhinestones on the ends. These decorative bobby pins won’t be used as much to secure a hairstyle as they will be to embellish it.

Elastics & Ties

Back view of a woman tying her hair with an elastic tie.

While there are a number of different names for hair elastics, they all have the same design and purpose. They are a fixed tie that can stretch to fit around hair and help to hold it in place. Since they come in a number of different materials, it is important to try to find one that will best suit your needs and be affordable.

Early hair ties were made of leather, but these do not stretch or control the hair as well as modern elastic ties do. Rubber hair ties were popular in the early 19th century and were lauded as a great invention due to the face that they were incredibly flexible, self-closing, and came in a number of different sizes and colors.

One of the reasons hair elastics are so popular is that they are relatively inexpensive, which allows people to buy a lot of them without spending a lot of money. Another reason they are so popular is that they are very easy for most people to use. Rather than trying to struggle with a clip, a hair elastic can be stretched around a ponytail quickly and easily to pull hair together in a style and to control it.


A bunch of colorful scrunchies.

These are hair ties that have been covered with fabric to create a bulkier hair tie, one that is gentle on hair and can be used to accessorize an outfit. Scrunchies became very popular in the 1980s and were popularized on television and in daily life.

Since they were, and still are, available in so many different sizes, colors, and materials, it’s easy to find scrunchies that will match an outfit. They can be worn either on their own or with other hair accessories for a unique look.


Pretty woman lying down and wearing a red lipstick and a matching red ribbon on her hair.

Ribbons have long been a popular hair accessory, partly because they can be used in so many different ways, and partly because they are so easy to find and come in many different colors, styles, and varieties.

Ribbons can be used at the end of braids to add a little color and design to the hairstyle, to help hold hair back from the face, or as an embellishment on a ponytail or a bun.

One problem that people can run into when they are using ribbons as a part of their hairstyle is that the ribbon is often very slick, which means that it will easily slide out of the hair. For this reason, it’s not the best idea to rely on ribbons to hold a hairstyle tightly in place, as they won’t always stay as secure as necessary.

Ribbon can also be used as a hair accessory because it can be cut and glued to other hair clips. This is a great way to make small bows that can then be clipped all over the hair without worrying about how to tie the ribbon in place, as it will tend to easily fall out. Doing so does take a little work, but the end result is that the ribbon will stay where you want it to, and the clip will help to hold the hair in place with few problems.

The ribbon is a great hair accessory since it is so readily available, inexpensive, and can be matched to any outfit or theme that you want. This makes using ribbon to dress up a Halloween costume or make sure that you look great for a party simple and inexpensive.

Side Combs

A brown vintage side comb.

While most people think of combs as being items that you use to brush out your hair, there are some hair accessories that rely on the same design as a regular comb to stay in place once you have placed them in your hairstyle.

These combs are often highly embellished and decorative, which makes them very attractive to wear to a big or fancy event. They can be difficult at first for some people to learn how to put them into their hair so that they don’t fall out. The best way to do this is to style the hair completely, make sure that it is tightly secured in the way that you want it to be, and then gently insert the comb.

Combs can be worn on the side of the head, although these are much more likely to fall out, which is why it’s more common to see combs worn at the back of the head, as an embellishment over a bun or other updo. They are a great way to add a lot of decoration to the hair without a lot of work, since you don’t need to add individual stones or pins to the hair, but rather can simply slip the comb into place.


A bride wearing a tiara.

Tiaras are a very popular hair accessory for women who want to really make a statement and ensure that their hair accessories will get them noticed. They look very similar to a crown and will rest on the head in much the same way, which can be very attractive.

Generally speaking, tiaras will be highly embellished, typically with rhinestones, which ensures that they will catch and reflect the light, drawing more attention to the wearer.

To ensure that the tiara does not fall off during the event, especially if the person wearing it is going to be dancing, they generally have small sections of combs along the two ends of the tiara. These can be pressed gently into the hair so that the tiara will stay in place and will help to keep it from shifting or completely falling out.

Tiaras are very popular at weddings, dances, such as prom, and even fashion shows or pageants. While they come in many different sizes, ones that are very large are generally reserved for fashion shows or pageants, while brides and younger girls tend to wear tiaras that are smaller.

Bun & Crown Shapers

Styla Hair Magic Bun Maker (2 Small, 2 Large) Foam Sponge Bun Shaper Hair Accessories (Black)

There are some hair accessories that are not supposed to be seen but rather are only used to help improve the appearance of a hairstyle. These bun and crown shapers come in a variety of sizes and colors so that they will blend in with a person’s natural hair and not be obvious. They are designed to help improve the appearance of a hairstyle, whether that be a bun or to give more lift to the hair on the top of the head.

Because many people who have finer or thinning hair struggle with styling their hair and making it look like they have a full head of hair, these hair accessories will come in handy. When used correctly they can be used to make it look like the person has a lot more hair than they actually do, which can result in a very attractive hairstyle.

It’s important that if you are going to buy one of these hair accessories, that you buy the right size for your length of hair and also a color that will easily blend in with your natural hair so that it won’t be obvious that you have it in.



Back view of a bride wearing a stylish hair accessory.

Hair accessories are a great way to embellish an outfit and make sure that you look put together from head to toe. If you want to make sure that your hair accessory will attract attention, then you need to look for one that is highly embellished and has stones or rhinestones on it.

This will ensure that your hair accessory does more than simply hold your hair out of your face. Look for ones that will match the color of your outfit, fit with the theme of the event that you are going to, or simply add sparkle and design to your hair.


Hair tied in a curl using a metal hairpin.

Other hair accessories are used not because they are very pretty or will attract attention, but because you need to keep the hair out of your face or in a particular style. These are very common types of hair accessories, as everyone can understand the value of being able to control their hair from time to time.

While these are not going to be as flashy and decorative as embellished hair accessories, they are often used in conjunction with them. It’s normal to style your hair and make sure that it will remain in place before using an embellished accessory to add style to your hair.



A set of decorative metal hairpins.

Metal hair accessories are all going to be formed so that there is very little concern about them breaking or not working the way that they should. One of the main benefits of this material is that these hair accessories are likely going to last for a very long time before being damaged.

The problem that you can run into when you opt for metal accessories is that they can get bent out of shape and eventually break. It’s very important that you are aware of any weak spots in the metal and are careful so that you don’t get hurt on a broken metal hair accessory.


A set of plastic elastic ties against black background.

Molded plastic hair accessories are incredibly popular and common and for good reason. Not only can they be made in a number of sizes and shapes, but it’s easy to find them in a wide variety of different colors.

Since the color is part of the plastic and isn’t just painted on the way that it typically is with metal hair accessories, you don’t have to worry about the color fading or rubbing off. For the most part, plastic hair accessories are incredibly durable, although they can break if they are dropped or something heavy is placed on them.


A pair of wooden Japanese hair sticks.

There are few things more beautiful than a wood hair accessory, as they are natural in color and design, have the gorgeous grain running through them, and will improve the beauty of any hairstyle in which they are used.

As long as you take care of your wood hair accessory, it should last for a very long time without splintering or drying out. It’s important to make sure that if your accessory needs any special care, such as regular oiling, that you do it when necessary to keep it looking and feeling its best.


A single horn hairpin.

Source: Etsy

If you want a hair accessory that looks a little different, is very sturdy and is sure to attract attention then consider buying one that is made out of a horn. While this material is not very common, it is very durable and reliable, which means that you won’t have to worry about it breaking.


A bunch of rubber hair bands in different colors.

Rubber hair accessories are incredibly stretchy, durable, and do a great job holding your hair in place without damaging it. Look for elastics that don’t have any metal parts in them, which can snag your hair, if you want to make sure that your hair ties don’t cause any damage.

Because these are usually very inexpensive, it’s a good idea to buy a larger number of them, as they are also very easily lost. Having a supply of them will help to ensure that you do not run out when you need them.