If you’re ready to take your shiny hair to the next level, prepare to be obsessed with hair tinsel, the latest hair trend taking over social media. Also known as fairy hair, hair tinsel helps create the appearance of sparkly, shimmery hair. You’ve likely seen your favorite celebrities and influencers rocking hair tinsel on red carpets or at special events, and now it’s your time to shine.
Are you ready to give hair tinsel a try? Read on as we break down everything you need to know about the popular trend, including how to tie hair tinsel two ways and how to care for your newly glittery strands.
What is hair tinsel?
Neither bright highlights nor glitter gel, hair tinsel is actually luminescent extensions installed throughout your mane. Often made out of materials like polyester or silk, these fine, hair-like strands give dimension and iridescent shimmer to your hair without the need for chemicals or bleach. They come in a variety of colors, too, so you can go for a more natural finish (for example, silver tinsel in gray hair), or you can go the whimsical fantasy color route, like pink, blue, or rainbow.
Is hair tinsel still popular?
Hair tinsel has had its moments over the last decade, and we are once again in the resurgence of this trend thanks to TikTok. Videos about hair tinsel have garnered over 173.5M views, which is a testament to how many people are interested in fairy hair. At first glance, one might think that hair tinsel is just for teens, but anyone, no matter their age, can explore hair tinsel. On TikTok, you’ll see more Gen X’ers with these shiny strands, but that doesn’t negate the fact that adults opt for this trend so they can slay glittering hair without the commitment.
How much does hair tinsel cost?
The price will vary depending on the number of tinsel hair extensions you want.
“It can range from $10 to $20. It’s usually an add-on service if you are already getting a blowout or style,” says Brittany Rodriguez, a hairstylist based in Brooklyn, New York.
How long does hair tinsel last?
Normally, colorful tinsel lasts for one to two weeks, depending on how you care for it at home. If you want to keep your hair tinsel as long as possible, opt for the microlink installation method. The single-strand method can sometimes slip out early with typical washing and brushing.
As much as we love a clean scalp, skipping a few shampoo sessions can help your hair tinsel stand the test of time. Use the Biolage Professional All-In-One Intense Dry Shampoo With Rice Starch to cleanse hair and absorb sweat and oil on the scalp. For ends that require some TLC between wash days, run a bit of Shu Uemura Art of Hair’s Ashita Supreme Hair Serum from the mid-lengths to the ends of the hair.
Is hair tinsel hard to put in?
There are two methods for installing hair tinsel: single-strand and microlink (interchangeably referred to as microbeads). Rodriguez describes the two processes she frequently practices with clients at the salon with a mini hair tinsel tutorial:
“For microlinks, I take a small section of hair and thread it through the microlink bead about a centimeter away from the scalp. Then, I grab a few strands of tinsel and thread it to the top through the bead, making sure a millimeter of tinsel sticks out at the top. Once the hair and tinsel are inside, I clamp the bead down with pliers so it will flatten to the head.”
The other single-strand method involves creating a slip knot with the tinsel and tying it to a few strands of the hair close to the scalp, according to Rodriguez.
It’s worth noting that each of these methods yields different results. Slip knot tinsel is finer so it’ll blend in with the rest of your hair for a subtle, natural-looking sparkle when the light hits. On the other hand, microlinks produce a chunkier effect and are ideal for those hoping to make a more dramatic statement.
When it comes to installing hair tinsel, it’s highly recommended to make an appointment at a salon to have a stylist professionally insert these glitter hair strands. It will help preserve the integrity of your hair and ensure proper application so your shimmer lasts.
How to Install Fairy Hair Two Ways
If you still have your heart set on applying fairy hair at home, here are two quick breakdowns of how to put in hair tinsel yourself.
This method is best if you’re looking for a few days’ worth of hair tinsel wear. It can be tedious, but remember: Practice (and patience!) makes perfect. When in doubt, head to a pro.
Brush and section off your hair.
Before installing your tinsel, brush or comb through your hair to remove any tangles. Part your hair where it normally falls, then section off a one-inch wide section on each side of your part line. Clip the sections together on the top of your head. These undersides are where you will install your tinsel so that they blend into the rest of your hair when it’s let loose.
Make a slip knot.
Fold your hair tinsel in half, creating a slip knot at the loop where your tinsel folds. (We recommend Googling how to tie a slip knot for the best visual.) Be sure you leave just enough open space at the top to pull your hair through it in the next step.
Double knot your hair in the tinsel.
Gather a very, very small section of hair (about an eighth of an inch) in one hand and hold your slip-knotted tinsel in the other. Pull the small section of hair through the knot, tightening the loop as you get closer to the scalp. Double-knot the hair and tinsel to ensure it’s secure. Tie it multiple times until you’re confident with how tight it feels, which will also increase the longevity of your fairy hair. Finally, trim the ends of the tinsel to mirror your hair’s length.
Microlink hair tinsel usually comes in a kit (like this one) and is equipped with beads, a threader, and pliers. Microlinks are often the preferred method among stylists because they’re applied similarly to hair extensions and can last up to a few months.
Brush and section off your hair.
Follow the same steps in the first section above. Keeping hair knot-free is essential to fish your strands through the beads successfully.
Install your links at the root.
Use a flat clip to temporarily place a few threads of hair tinsel right above your hair’s part where you plan to install your tinsel. This will hold the tinsel in place until you’re ready to thread it through the microbead.
Using your threader, gather a small section of hair below your clipped piece of tinsel, then fish them both through the opening of your bead. Bring the bead all the way up to your scalp and let it rest there.
Clamp the bead shut.
Once your bead is in its rightful position, use the pliers to gently clamp the bead shut at the scalp. Trim any excess tinsel to match the length of your hair.
How do you remove hair tinsel?
While you can remove these glittery strands at home with a hair tinsel kit, we recommend going to a stylist to make sure it’s done properly and to avoid potential breakage. The method for removing tinsel hair extensions depends on the method used to insert them.
“To remove the microlink method, I squeeze the bead with pliers in the opposite direction to open it up. The tinsel will fall right out,” says Rodriguez. “With the single-strand method, I will find the slip knot, open it back up, and slide the hair out.”
Can you put tinsel in curly hair?
Unfortunately, no pre-curled hair tinsel is on the market, but that doesn’t mean you can’t jump on the bandwagon. If you want to put hair tinsel in curly hair, you’ll have to use a curling iron to match your hair texture. It might take a few extra steps, but it’s doable if the hair tinsel you’re working with is heat safe. Check with your stylist to confirm if you can use hot tools on your fairy hair. Or, if you decide to apply them at home, check the packaging.
Can you brush fairy hair?
After getting your hair tinsel installed at the salon, you’ll want to be careful when brushing your hair. For the most part, Rodriguez says you can brush your hair as usual, but be extra cautious near the base where the tinsel was inserted.
To help make brushing your hair a breeze, use a detangling in-shower product like the Biolage Professional Hydra Source Detangling Solution. Infused with ingredients like aloe, this formula detangles and controls static for less frizz and flyaways, making styling easier and more manageable. Pair it with the Hydra Source Shampoo for the best results.
If your hair is already dry and needs a refresh before installing your hair tinsel, pick up a leave-in like Redken One United Multi-Benefit Leave-In Conditioner. Give dry hair a few spritzes of this spray and rake it through with a comb for even distribution. Its Active Cationic Complex contains positively-charged ingredients that easily bind to the hair to condition, detangle, smooth, and increase manageability.
Is hair tinsel good for your hair?
Luckily, there’s no real damage associated with having tinsel strands. However, to prevent knotting, Rodriguez recommends brushing at least two times a day to keep hair in pristine condition.
Similar to any style or hair trend, you’ll want to keep your hair hydrated with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Opt for a shampoo like Redken All Soft Shampoo that adds moisture to dry, brittle hair with its argan oil-infused formula.
After you wash your hair, use the corresponding Redken All Soft Conditioner, which adds moisture and detangles, so you can leave the shower knowing your hair is ready to go.
Additionally, when styling your hair with heat, use the lowest setting and a heat protectant like Redken Extreme Playsafe Strengthening Heat Protectant to prevent heat damage.