Hair tinsel is back thanks to Gen Z teens and TikTok

Katie Dupere

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Gen Z teens are bringing back all the trends you thought you’d never see again: tri-fold bandanas, ‘80s blush and even glitter makeup reminiscent of a mid-2000s middle school dance. And the latest trend to join that list is none other than hair tinsel.

Hair tinsel gained popularity in early 2010, with hair salons stocking the tie-in iridescent strands as an inexpensive way to add dimension and intense highlights to hair. Hair tinsel burned bright with popularity, but faded quickly after a mere couple of years.

The resurgence in popularity around hair tinsel may have celebrity roots. Kacey Musgraves wore a major tinsel ponytail on her 2019 tour, and it's been replicated by hair brands like Insert Name Here. Saoirse Ronan also wore a variation — a hair tinsel braid crown — to the Governors Awards in November 2019.


No matter the roots, the trend has found its way to Gen Z — and it makes sense. It’s easy, cheap and a non-intimidating way to change up your hair, especially at a time when access to salons has been largely cut off. 

The hashtag #hairtinsel has more than 1.6 million video views on TikTok, and some top videos have been liked more than 50,000 times. Many of the videos are tutorial-like in nature, showing how-to DIY hair tinsel installation at home.

https://www.tiktok.com/@madyvivian/video/6797528754424941829

Installation of the individual strands is usually done via a slip-knot method. A lengthy piece of shimmering tinsel is folded in half, then tied around an anchor piece of hair. Once the tied piece is secure, it appears as two strands in the hair. It can then be trimmed to match the length of your hair.

The tinsel can often be heat styled and washed normally, though it is recommended to use temperatures under 300 degrees. When installed by a professional, high-quality strands are said to last about two months.

https://www.tiktok.com/@youlovekatee/video/6730695336030915846

While some beauty retailers sell hair tinsel in clips, the tie-in or clamp-in type featured in many TikToks appears to be something most commonly bought wholesale through beauty suppliers. Packs of this wholesale tinsel, however, can be bought on Etsy to DIY at home. There’s no definitive way to trace the origins of this tinsel, however, so washing and heat styling may come at a risk of breakage. But with 100 strands costing around $10, it is still budget-friendly and worth the risk.

https://www.tiktok.com/@hansen.mackenzie/video/6806084949679033605

If you want to add some shimmer and shine to your hair, check out these hair tinsel options. 

Shop: Tinsel Hair Extensions 6-Pack in Silver, $13

Shop: Tinsel Hair Extensions 6-Pack in Red, $9.75 (Orig. $13)

Shop: Holographic Hair Tinsel Clip 2-Pack, $5.99 (Orig. $7.99)

Shop: 100 Silk Sizzling 46-Inch Hair Tinsel, $12

 

 

Shop: 1,500 40-Inch Rainbow Hair Tinsel Strands, $30.38

 

 

 

If you liked this story, check out how e-girls are bringing back blush like it’s the ’80s.

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