Although HairBoutique.com was alive on the Internet in 1996 and 1997, it had a different name and focus. In March of 1998 the site was completely redesigned and renamed to HairBoutique.com from where it has grown to present day. (Shown to side, France Luxe Caramel Horn hairsticks).
During the many years that I have been lurking and surfing on the Internet, I have paid special attention to how the Net has changed the way that the world transfers information on a wide range of diverse topics. One benefit has been the incredible speed of hair accessory information integration. As a result of new communication channels, the hair stick has undergone quite a transformation.
(Shown to side, France Luxe Pearl Brights - Aqua hairsticks).
Not only are hairsticks available in the standard 6 1/2" length, they are now available in every length from as short as 2 inches to as long as 12 inches.
Types of Available Materials
Hairsticks are also available in every conceivable type of material from the traditional wood and metal to inexpensive chopsticks, plastic sticks, knitting needles, bone, glass, faux tortoise shell and a myriad of ceramic, cellulose and other unusual compositions. I have even recently seen handmade hairsticks that are fashioned from very long feathers.
(Faux Tiger Eye hued hairsticks from HairBoutique.com Hair Jewels collection).
Not only is there a vast selection of base materials to select from, there are endless toppers ranging from rare, discontinued Swarovski crystals to hand fashioned antique beads, fire polished glass, foils and other amazing jeweled pieces. Colors and hues are endless. (Karina Faux Tortoise hairsticks)
Hairsticks also are fashioned with leather, silk, velvet and brocade outer wrappings. They include storage pouches that may be an antique box, leather, silk, satin or velvet pouch.
The price options are mind boggling and range from as little as a few dollars for a fun plastic set to many thousands of dollars for diamond, ruby and emerald encrusted pairs.
Harper's Bazarre Magazine in even featured one white-gold and diamond Mizuki hair stick back in 2001 (pictured to above & to the side) that cost $2,500. That's right, for that price you only got one hairstick.
Note: The hair stick is no longer available for purchase.
To buy two hairsticks it would have cost a mere $5,000. Harper's recognized that hairsticks were very hot accessories at that time and stated in the magazine issue featuring the Mizuki that the "hair stick replaced the pencil as the updo accessory of choice."
If you are unsure of how much you might enjoy sticks. start slow with an inexpensive set and then work your way up to better quality sticks once you decide you want to wear hairsticks on a regular basis.
Keep in mind that some of the more expensive, hand made, custom hair sticks like those made by Mei Fa, a 25 year old hair stick manufacturer, are collectables and increase in value over time. Some hairsticks come with one-of-a-kind toppers that also increase in value. Many people collect Mei Fa sticks and have many hundreds of pairs.
As a rule, a hair accessory that qualities as a hairstick is a straight up and down pin that may or may not have a knob at the top and a rounded or pointed end. The pin can be made with a curved or swirled texture or even have a twisted body but the hairsticks does not bend in the middle of the pin.
Hairsticks that fit the straight pin requirements may also sometimes be called chignon pins, although classic chignon pins and chignon forks are often curved at the middle of the pin to form a U shape.
When in doubt, always inquire whether the accessory you are buying is a set of two straight pins or one straight pin. Also ask if a chignon pin is perfectly straight or forms a curved U.
Some people prefer the curved chignon pins over the straight sticks because the curved pins are usually easier to learn to apply. However, with a little practice, traditional hairsticks are very flexible and a snap to apply.
All hair accessories have an element of danger attached to them. A misguided hairpin or sharp barrette piece can not only rip fragile strands, it can also scratch delicate skin and worst case, harm an unsuspecting eye. Tiny accessories can also be accidentally swallowed by inquisitive babies and young children. Of course like everything in life, reasonable care and caution should be exercised with any type of hair care accessory.
Hairsticks come with all the basic dangers but came into prominence at airports after 911. Many security checkpoints at airports will confiscate beloved hairsticks due to their potential danger to cause harm.
While there is some controversial reactions to losing hair baubles before boarding a plane, most people understand that it is better to be safe than sorry and leave their beloved sticks at home, tucked in their storage pouches.
Hairsticks can travel if carefully secured with the check-in luggage. Should you saunter up to a security gate with a pair of pointy hairsticks holding up your favorite hairtwist? Only if you don't care if you lose your sticks.
When in doubt, check existing guidelines before traveling.
One common concern with any type of hair jewelry is how hair friendly it is. Many people with long hair have invested a lot of time and energy to grow their long and healthy locks. It is only right that they worry about wearing any hair jewelry that might pull or catch their hair and endanger its very life. This is a fair consideration but is usually not warranted.
The majority of sticks or hairstick shafts are extremely hair friendly, and the points are generally rounded to allow for weaving into the hair but not so pointy as to worry about drawing blood.
If there is danger of snagging it generally will come from the jeweled tops or a rough end. A very light sanding with sandpaper will smooth any rough ends or edges. If the topper has the potential to snag strands, make sure that all the beads are worn away from contact with your hair.
Function Versus Fun
Hairsticks can be used to functionally anchor a hair bun or twist or they can be used as fun hair enhancements. A carefully pinned and secured chignon, twist or bun can be finished with the insertion of one of two hairsticks as decoration only.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you a hairstick novice, never fear. An unsharpened Number 2 pencil or set of two pencils makes a great set of practice sticks. If you are unsure of the best length for your hair type, texture and needs, use different length pencils to test how well your hair holds.
If you are unsure how to apply hairsticks, check out: Hairsticks: Functional Or Festive Hair Accessories for hairstick styling instructions.
Cheating With Hairsticks
Then you can wrap your hair around the bun, sneak in a few hairpins in the same color as your natural hair and then slide the hairsticks in. You can also anchor the sticks with well placed small bobby pins that will prevent the sticks from moving or sliding out of your style.