Hair ties are one of those little things that we sometimes take for granted, but are a major essential. Whether it’s to get hair off of our faces in order to see better, or to create trendy hairstyles such as a super sleek ponytail, these hair accessories are a true favorite and are as integral to our routines as a brush, comb or even conditioner. What’s more, they come in a range of shapes and sizes, from minimal thin elastic bands to the beloved ’90s scrunchies that are, yes, making a comeback.
The humble hair tie actually dates back to the 1700s, when they rose to fame as a male hair accessory in France. They were called “queue” (French for “tail”). This developed in the 1800s to become popular with young ladies, and colored hair ties were a sign of wealth. The elastic hair tie was actually invented in 1820 by the British inventor Thomas Hancock and has been popular ever since. They are super quick and easy to use and are also an inexpensive hair accessory.
Hair Ties: The Different Types of Hair Elastics
There are several variations of hair ties. These range from the fabric-covered all-elastic band (our favorite, as this is gentlest on the hair strand) to the part metal-part elastic tie to ’80s scrunchies and decorative ponytails—a.k.a. those looped elastics that have acrylic balls or ribbons attached to them.
Simple to use, taking a brush (a paddle brush is perfect for this) sweep back the hair and gather it all together, keeping it in place with one hand. With the other hand, stretch the elastic band over the gathered hair and, using a figure-eight loop, continue wrapping the band around the hair until your ponytail feels snug and in place.
Hair Ties and the Ponytail
Elastic bands are most commonly used to create a ponytail. This hairstyle gained steam in the ‘50s, ’60s and ’70s, and though it may be a very simple look, has stood the test of time and is a look that’s still as popular today as it was back then. Nowadays ponytails aren’t just for the day; slicked-back versions are great for a night out and are common on the red carpet as well. Top tip for a polished look: A hair serum or hair oil, such as Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Styling Oil, can help smoothen a ponytail base and tame any flyaway strands. This can be followed by either a gel, such as TRESemmé TRES Two Mega Firm Control Gel, or a hairspray like Bed Head by TIGI Hard Head, to ensure that each strand stays in place.
Stretch combs are a comb-and-headband combination. As the name suggests, they are very elastic, and allow the comb to reach around the entire ponytail. To use, gather hair back and put the comb around the head. The teeth of the comb will then secure the hair in place. These can be used for all hair types, but are especially great for all those with thick, unmanageable hair as the teeth securely grip onto the scalp, helping keep hair in place.
Which hair ties have you used while styling your hair?