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No beauty trend is ever missed on TikTok these days, and hair tinsel — also known as “fairy hair” — is no exception. As of this writing, hair tinsel videos have collected over 85 billion views on the clock app alone.
Katy Perry wore the sparkly, colorful strings in an Instagram post promoting her new Las Vegas residency on November 29, and singer Kacey Musgraves took to a New Orleans stage with a high ponytail full of hair tinsel back in October of 2019. Believe it or not, Beyoncé’s hair way back at the 2010 Grammys was decorated with the metallic hair accent as well. Even though Musgraves’s and Queen Bey’s looks came years before the current surge, you get our point, right? Hair tinsel keeps getting more and more love by the minute.
Kelsea Jensen, hairstylist and founder of Goddess Glitter, describes hair tinsel as “shimmering strands that are attached to hair.” It comes in a multitude of bright colors, but Jensen’s brand also sells a version of hair tinsel in “natural [hair] colors,” with brown being the brand’s bestseller.
You might be wondering why something as minute as a shiny, colorful string has been gaining so much traction lately. San Diego-based hairstylist Meg West of Mix Company Salon attributes the sudden interest in both ‘90s and Y2K beauty to hair tinsel’s resurgence, but she adds that it’s a “super cute” way to add some vibrancy to your hair color without using any chemicals.
Hair tinsel installation can be done both in the salon or DIY — how you go about it is completely up to you. Ashley Armour, a hairstylist at the New Orleans salon She Comes in Peace says she uses two methods for inserting hair tinsel.
“The first is where I tie a single strand of tinsel to a single hair strand. And another one is with a micro bead extension, which is 20 strands of tinsel in one bead,” she tells Allure. “Both are so easy to maintain. I usually warn people, especially with the single strand, that it’s going to fall out with your natural hair strand — so some of them will fall out the first week and some will last up to six months or more.”
West uses both of these methods as well, but she prefers the micro bead technique. “You can use numerous tinsel strands in one bead, and it stays in longer. On fine or medium hair, the tie technique will usually slip out fairly quickly,” she explains.
When it comes to hair tinsel aftercare, West assures that it is “very easy to maintain,” but she always cautions her clients to “move the tinsel if they are curling or using a flat iron” (though she acknowledges that some hair tinsel is designed to be heat-safe). If you do your part to keep them out of harm’s way, West says the tinsel she installs in her clients’ hair tends to have a duration period between two and three months.