Finding everyday hairstyles that are super easy to do and still look presentable can be a real challenge. Who wants to wear their hair down every day? And a ponytail can be super cute, but after weeks of daily ponytails, it might be time to switch things up a little.

Luckily there is this genius thing called a hair stick. With it, you can easily create countless hairstyles – some of them in seconds!

My favorite hair stick bun takes me less than 1 minute to make! But more on that later. First, let’s dive into the basics!

What you’ll learn:

Disclosure: Some of the links below are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

What Is A Hair Stick And Why You Need One

Image of a blue hair stick with a little fan at the end and a dark-haired hairstyle made with the same hair stick next to it

A hair stick is exactly what the name says. It is a thin, but sturdy piece used to create hairstyles and hold your hair in place. The length of most hair sticks is around 8 inches (20 cm) or less.

While most of us are used to having to use several hair ties and bobby pins to create a single hairstyle, hair sticks do something magical. Once you know how to use them, they are all you need for updos you could easily wear to the opera.

Especially if you have longer hair or try to grow your locks longer, a hair stick should really be part of your “hair toolkit”. (Honestly, once you’ve gotten your first one, you’ll very likely want several. But more on that in a minute.)

Not only do hair sticks make it easy to create hairstyles that protect your hair from damage, they are also one of the most gentle ways to style your hair.

Related: 14 hair care tips to avoid split ends

Think about the way your hair breaks at that point where your hair tie holds your ponytail. Or how often bobby pins pull out some hair when removing them.

None of these problems exist when using hair sticks.

The Different Types of Hair Sticks

Now, before we go into how to actually use hair sticks successfully, I quickly want to give a rundown of the various kinds of hair sticks.

Asian hair sticks

Probably the best-known of hair sticks are Asian hair sticks. Who hasn’t seen a movie with a black-haired beauty wearing artfully arranged hair? (And who hasn’t secretly been a little jealous of her beautiful hair?)

While several Asian cultures have been using hair sticks for centuries, I am only going to show you two typical ones here. Time’s a wastin.

Japanese hair sticks

Image of a hair stick decorated with purple flowers and little tassles

All the hair ornaments used in traditional Japanese culture are summarized under the term “Kanzashi“. The Japanese hair sticks or “Kogai Kanzashi” are two-piece hair sticks consisting of a “sword” and the sheath.

Nowadays, when you look for Japanese hair sticks*, you are way more likely to find delicate hair pins, often decorated with flowers or other ornaments.

Korean hair stick

Image of a golden binyeo, a Korean hair stick

The traditional Korean hair stick is called “binyeo“. They come in different materials, shapes, and colors, and before the Joseon Dynasty (1392 CE – 1910 CE) they used to be worn by both men and women.

You can buy a binyeo online*. As always with traditional accessories, be mindful about where and when you wear it.

Wooden hair sticks

Image of two dark, wavy wooden hair sticks, crossing each other

You know, I personally really like using natural materials on my skin and in my hair. Hair sticks are no exception.

Related: 8 reasons for using a wooden hairbrush or comb

Wood has the advantage of being light and, if smoothed down properly, very hair-friendly. So for everyday use, they are the best hair sticks, in my opinion.

On the other hand, you’ll need to keep an eye out for humidity or even wetness. For example, I personally like to do bun my hair up while letting my favorite hair mask soak in. There is no way I could use a wooden hair stick for that, as it would be ruined after.

So while wooden hair sticks* are awesome for daily wear, it is good to also have an alternative. Which brings me to the next type of hair sticks.

Plastic hair sticks

Image of 12 colorful plastic hair sticks in 6 colors: purple, pink, blue, white, orange, and yellow

Plastic is a material often frowned upon. But as we just saw, it can be good to have a hair stick around that is basically immune to humidity.

Another huge advantage of plastic hair sticks is their variety. If you want a hair stick to match every color in your wardrobe so that your outfit is perfectly color-matched every day – no problem! Plastic hair sticks come in all kinds of colors and shapes *.

Image of some more plastic hair sticks and a woman wearing a pink one in her hair

Do watch out for super cheap offers though. In order for your hair stick to not break on the first use, it needs to have a certain stability and solidity. The very cheap plastic hair sticks usually offer neither of those.

Metal hair sticks

Image of two metal hair sticks with marbles on top

With metal hair sticks* you can get a much more chic look than with plastic or wooden ones. They often come decorated with sophisticated details, like ornaments, small chains, or gemstones.

These types of hair stick fit well for special occasions or if your everyday style allows for a little “more”. You can even fit the metal color with the rest of your jewellery, creating a very put-together look.

A downside to decorated metal hair sticks is that all those pretty details can easily get tangled in your hair.

Image of a metal hair stick with rhinestones and delicate tassles

As with all other materials, also for metal the quality plays a big role. Low-quality hair sticks easily get discolored or even start corroding. Not cute.

Hair forks

Image of a wooden hair fork with a flower topper

Hair forks* aren’t technically hair sticks, but they are used in pretty much exactly the same way. The only difference between a hair fork and a hair stick is the amount of “legs”.

As the name suggests, a hair fork has a fork-like shape. Some hair forks have two “legs”, some have three or even more.

Image of a 4-legged hair fork

The more legs the fork has and the wider it is, the stronger will be the hold in your hair. That is the only difference to a “normal” hair stick. So if you are wondering how to use a hair fork, you can simply follow the hair stick tutorial below!

Hair sticks for short hair

Theoretically, you can use all kinds of hair sticks also on shorter hair. But the resulting look often doesn’t work quite as well.

Optically, there is just too much stick for too little hair. The easy solution for this is to simply use shorter hair sticks or forks.

Image of 3 black hair forks for short hair
These hair forks are only 3.5” (9 cm), making them suitable for shorter hair as well.

This way you get to enjoy the luxury and ease of hair stick hairstyles, but don’t need to worry about it looking “too big”.

Related: 5 Reasons why your hair isn’t growing

Shorter hair sticks also work great for longer hair, if you only want to style sections of your hair.

Hair sticks and barrettes

Image of a copper hair barrette

Just for the sake of completeness I also want to mention stick barrettes*. While these also use sticks to hold hair in place, a very important role in the hairstyle goes to the barrette part.

You basically put the barrette over your ponytail or bun and then push the stick through to secure it in place. It is a different mechanism from how you use hair sticks, so I won’t go more into detail about them here.

How to use hair sticks

So now that you have a good overview of different types of hair sticks, it is time to learn how to actually wear a hair stick!

Hairstyles for hair sticks

While there are countless hairstyles that you can do with hair sticks, I want to specifically show you a few that are super easy and quick to make.

Let’s start with the easiest bun ever. Many people wonder how to put your hair up with a hair stick and expect something challenging – it’s really not!

(In the video I am putting my hair up with the pencil because I wanted something that contrasts with my hair. So for everyone who has ever wondered how to tie their hair with a pencil – now you know! Obviously, it works just the same way with any hair stick!)

  1. First, you want to gather all your hair in your left hand as if you were gonna make a ponytail. Hold it with your thumb and index finger as shown in the picture.
  2. Then, use your right hand to grab the “ponytail” from below and flip your hair over the left hand. Sounds weird, but the video shows what it should look like.
  3. Take your hair all the way around so that it is wrapped around your left hand.
  4. Keep wrapping it around the base of the “ponytail”, until you have no hair left.
  5. Now, take your hand out of the hair loop and pull the loop over the “knot” in the middle.
  6. Take a hair stick and gently push it through the middle, over the loop. You can take up hair from the scalp. But I usually don’t, simply to avoid any tugging on my hair roots. (Yes, I am sensitive like that.)

If your hair is not quite long enough for doing this bun the way I show it in the video, you can simply make the loop smaller. Instead of wrapping the ponytail around your whole left hand, try wrapping it around only two fingers.

This give you a smaller loop, and uses up less hair length.

Another quick hairstyle you can do only with a hair stick is the “figure 8”- or “treble-clef-bun”.

Looking for hairstyle inspiration? If your hair is long enough, you could try the treble clef bun! This step by step tutorial shows you how to do it with only a hair stick!
  1. Gather your hair like for a ponytail, but rather on the lower half of your head. Start twisting your hair just as for the twisted bun above.
  2. Also for the first coil, let your hair go clockwise around the base again.
  3. But when the second coil forms, you want to flap it upward in such a way that it forms the shape of an 8 together with the lower coil.
  4. Wrap the rest of the hair tightly around the lower coil. Then you can take your pencil or hair stick and put it in. Start by sticking it through the middle of the upper coil and then under the bun and out through some hair of the lower coil.

9 Benefits Of Using A Hair Stick

By now I’ve already mentioned several benefits of using hair sticks. Let’s summarize them:

1. Less hair damage

The hairstyles you can do with hair sticks are generally much more gentle for your hair than, say, a ponytail. By distributing the weight of your hair evenly and then putting a minimal amount of friction, you’ll have significantly less breakage.

So if you have asked yourself the question: “Are hair sticks good for hair?” – now you know!

Related: 14 hair care tips to avoid split ends

2. Super quick hairstyles

Once you learned how to do a few of the hair stick buns, you won’t need hours anymore to create a chic updo. Instead, you’ll be ready in literally seconds. As long as you have a hair stick nearby you can super quickly come up with a pretty, last-minute hair stick style!

Can you imagine how many hours this saves?

Related: 6 quick and easy hairstyles for long hair to do yourself

3. Fewer headaches

Hairstyles using hair sticks distribute the weight of the hair better across your head. This doesn’t only protect your hair roots from unnecessary pulling and tugging (hair loss scares, anyone?!), it also prevents headaches.

And I bet you agree that those hair headaches can be the worst!

4. No more bad hair days

Another huge advantage of having a hair stick is that with it, it’s really hard to have a bad hair day.

Those mornings when I looked like an exploded pillow because I didn’t follow the curly girl method? No problem, I just put them in a bun!

Image of a woman whose long hair being is blown around wildly by wind

Out and about and the wind picks up? No worries at all, I got a hair stick in my purse!

5. Many things can be hair sticks

When learning “hair-stick-hairstyles” you learn how to do hairstyles you can do with any thin long object – like any nearby pen or pencil. Never get trapped with your hair down in uncomfortable situations again!

Related: How to easily solve these 5 long hair struggles
Related: 9 things people with long hair don’t want to be told anymore

6. Look elegant without effort

With these types of hairstyles, looking sophisticated is super easy and a matter of minutes. Meanwhile, people will think you put hours into your hair!

I’ve been asked so often how long it takes me in the morning to do my hair. And then I’m met with incredulous glances when I tell them that it’s a matter of minutes.

Related: 9 Tutorials for Easy and Cute Easter Hairstyles

7. “Grows” with your hair

The cool thing about hair sticks is that you can use it on almost any hair length. Other than really, really short hair, everyone can make various hairstyles with them.

Even those with really long hair who often struggle to find quick and easy hairstyles can rely on hair sticks. And the best: you don’t need to continuously get new hair sticks while your hair grows. The standard size will fit most people.

Related: The best healthy hair tips for healthy hair growth
Related: How to make your hair grow faster – the no-BS guide

8. You can avoid plastic hair ties

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a fan of invisibobbles*, papangas, and other spiral hair ties like that. They are better for your hair than rigid rubber ties and cause less breakage.

But we all know that plastic is bad for our environment. So every step we can take to minimize the usage of plastic in our lives is a bonus. (Obviously, this only works if your hair stick isn’t made of plastic.)

The other advantage of avoiding hair ties is that you won’t get weird creases in your hair. You know, those that don’t go away even hours after you’ve removed the hair tie from your ponytail…

9. More instagram material

Okay, possibly I am not 100% serious about this benefit, but I have to mention it.

Have you ever heard of the term “bun drop”? It’s basically the action of letting your hair drop out of the bun in the most insta-worthy fashion.

This is an example I just found while looking for the #bundrop:

Once you know how to make hair stick buns, you can film 5 of those in 10 minutes!

5 Things To Look For In A Good Hair Stick

Alright, by now you know what types of hair sticks there are, how to use them, and why they are seriously awesome. Now it’s time to pick your hair stick. But as with all decisions, there are a few things you want to check before buying.

1. Material & quality of your hair stick

We already talked a little about the material when we looked at the types of hair sticks. So you know that different materials need different handling and work for different occasions.

But what is at least equally important is the quality of your new hair accessory. No matter which material you buy, make sure that all surfaces are sleek.

Image of a high-quality, sleek, wooden hair fork

You want no rough edges, no splinters or other things that your hair could get caught on. Putting a not smoothened wooden stick in your hair, for example, could bring you all kinds of hair damage.

2. The weight of your new hair stick

It might sound weird at first to consider the weight of your hair stick before purchasing. But think about it: You’ll wear this on your head for hours!

If it is too heavy, it can cause mean headaches, either by pulling on your hair roots or by making your neck muscles work overtime.

So if the hair stick feels too heavy in any way, rather pick a lighter one.

3. Sturdiness

You definitely want your hair stick to be sturdy enough to hold some hair. Now, this one is a little tricky to test. I’ve actually had hair sticks break on me when trying them for the first time. Luckily they were very cheap anyway.

Image of a thin, broken hair stick
Ironically, this one broke while I was writing this post…

But no one wants that to happen, right? So here is a word of warning: All hair sticks that are made of wood or plastic and are very thin will not be able to hold the kinds of hairstyles we learned earlier.

Those will snap in half when trying to use them like that. Obviously, you can still use them as decoration by simply sticking them through a bun that is secured by other means. But don’t use them as “proper” hair sticks.

4. The length

While most hair sticks are about the same length, there are some that are significantly shorter, and some that are significantly longer than the standard.

Make sure to adjust the length to your hair length.

If you have rather short hair at this point, do not go for very long hair sticks. It will look out of proportion.

At the same time, if your hair is very long and thick, skip the shorter ones, unless you want to use them for only sections of your hair.

5. A fitting style

Last but not least, make sure to pick a hair stick style fitting your everyday style.

Believe me, I know how tempting the variation can be. So many beautiful, badass, or flashy hair sticks! They all look awesome! But for the first hair stick, make it something you can wear every day.

Otherwise, chances are you’ll simply never use it, and then you’ll have to KonMari it out anyways!

For example, if you’re rather the sporty type, don’t go for the elegant, ornamental hair stick. Or if you wear a serious corporate outfit all day, the neon pink plastic hair stick might not be the best first choice.

Some affordable Hair Sticks you can buy online

Now you know everything you need to know to get yourself some awesome hair sticks! But where to buy hair sticks? The easiest option, as so often, is to buy them online.

Let’s look at a few examples of quality hair sticks you can order today!

Handmade polished black sandalwood hair sticks*

Image of two black sandalwood hair sticks crossing each other

These hair sticks are perfect for every occasion. They are made of polished black sandalwood and with their “no frills” look can be combined with any outfit.

As with any wooden hair sticks, keep them away from water and extreme heat.

In case you are wondering about the “wavy” design: this will help them hold your hair in place better!

Get the black sandalwood hair sticks here*!

Vintage Design Alloy Hair Sticks*

Image of two alloy hair sticks

If your hair is longer or heavier than average, you’ll love these metal hair sticks. They are made from alloy, and one of them has an u-shape. That offers a little more hold than other hair sticks.

These are perfect for everyday wear, but will also shine on festive occasions like weddings or parties.

Buy a pair of these hair sticks here*!

Elegant hair sticks with pearl*

Image of two elegant metal hair ticks with marbles as toppers

These vintage hair sticks are definitely a little more elegant looking. Made from alloy they are topped off with a silver and golden pearl, respectively.

Get the vintage hair sticks here*!

Hair sticks are a must-have!

No matter which type of hair stick you decided to get, now you know how to use it and why it will make your life so much easier. (And your hair so much healthier!)

I recommend getting a few simple hair sticks. This way you have the option to choose every day, and find out what you really like.

And like I said above, once you started with them, you’ll probably end up getting more, to match outfits, colors, occasions… The possibilities are endless!

As always, if you have any questions or comments, post them below, and pin this to your hair care board on Pinterest!

*These links are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.