Decorating braids, twists and locs is a trend that’s steadily on the uptick showing no signs of slowing.
Creative cornrows in particular have completely captivated the natural hair community and we are witnessing a strong renaissance with these highly decorated styles. But you know the level up is always among us and thus enters hair jewelry to further make a statement and elevate this cultural staple to the level of high end hair art.
There are dozens of ways to add hair jewelry to your braids to really set off your style and we’ll explore a number of those options in this article.
But first, let’s spend some time on braid care basics when it comes to your hair jewelry.
Since braids are used by many Naturalistas as a protective styling option, we want to make sure that the health of the hair comes first, right?
What Types of Metals Should I Use for My Hair Jewelry?
Most hair jewelry will fall into the category of fashion jewelry. Do you remember the days when you’d play in your mom’s jewelry box? She might let you have a little fun with her “costume” jewelry but you could never play with the fine jewelry. Oh no.
And for good reason, fashion jewelry was well suited for everyday wear, it could handle a few rough beatings and keep on ticking. But fine jewelry needed to be handled with much greater care. It was made with precious metals and stones and cost much more.
According to Kay Jewelers: “Costume jewelry often has a style and quality that is meant to be fleeting. It might have plastic components, synthetic stones, base metals, or gold plating. These are often statement pieces that you select for a particular outfit or short-term function.
Fine fashion jewelry, on the other hand, is crafted with high-quality stones and precious metals, such as gold and sterling silver. These designs will endure with proper care and treatment.” [Source]
Now we also have a step between the two when it comes to hair jewelry because you can surely find pieces that incorporate semi-precious stones as well.
There are pros and cons to both costume jewelry and fine jewelry or hair jewelry that incorporates semi-precious stones.
For example, with costume jewelry, you can have more fun experimenting with trendier styles and not have to worry if the style will be around next season.
With finer pieces or semi-precious ones, they usually hold more meaning and come in timeless styles that will carry you years into the future.
How Do I Make My Hair Jewelry Last Longer?
- One key tip is to put your hair jewelry in your hair after applying hairsprays, perfumes, and styling products. These products may can contain chemicals that will permanently tarnish your jewelry or cause it to dull quickly.
- It’s also a good practice to remove your hair jewelry before bathing, swimming, exercising or any other physical activity where you’re likely to sweat or get wet.
- Don’t let your children play with your hair accessories. *Best Tip Ever*
- Clean your hair jewelry every so often by wiping away oils and lint (if present) with a soft cloth.
- Have a dedicated place to store your hair jewelry, like a jewelry organizer or jewelry box.
How Do I Prevent My Hair Jewelry from Tarnishing?
The important thing to keep your hair jewelry from tarnishing is to wipe it off and not allow oils from your hair to collect and build-up on the pieces. This is because oils can react with some metals and cause them to turn green.
But what is that green stuff?!? The green residue left on your jewelry is just the metal reacting to your sweat or other hair products; it’s pretty harmless though and any metal other than stainless steel or gold will produce this result over time.
Copper is usually the culprit, but even silver jewelry can oxidize sometimes. When the thin silver or gold plating on your jewelry wears off, it reveals the brass or nickel underneath and that’s when discoloration or tarnishing occurs.
What’s the Best Way To Store My Hair Jewelry When I’m Not Wearing It?
The best way to store your hair and braid accessories is to have a dedicated place to put them, like a jewelry organizer or jewelry box. We recommend this style of jewelry organizer because you can easily see all of your options and it provides easy access as well.
This is also a good practice so that you don’t loose them. You can happily indulge your hair accessories addiction without fear of them taking over of your dresser or bathroom counter.
How Do I Make Sure They Don’t Fall Off?
The best way to make sure your hair jewelry doesn’t fall off of your braids (or locs or twists) is to measure your braids before you purchase your hair jewelry.
Here is a quick video tutorial on how to measure your locs for dread beads but the same method applies for braids too.
What’s important is that you slide whatever hair jewelry you’ll be using on your braids far enough up the shaft of the braid so that it doesn’t slide down. You’ll start to feel the resistance similar to how it feels when you slide a ring on your finger.
For coiled hair accessories, you can stretch out the coil to make the loops smaller and then it will fit snugly around thinner braids.
If your braids are still too small, you can quickly secure the coil, cuff or bead to your hair with a single stitch of thread that you feed through both the braid and the bead. Tie it off with a knot and it definitely won’t fall off. Just be careful when removing. Have someone else remove any that you can’t easily see so that you don’t risk cutting your actual hair.
If you’re using embroidery floss or metallic braid string to wrap your braids, you don’t have to worry about this because the floss will naturally adjust to accommodate whatever size your braids are. Just wrap, secure and go!
What If I Get My Pieces And They’re Too Big?
As mentioned above, by securing the loc to the bead with a small piece of thread, you can avoid any slippage and enjoy your hair jewelry without fear of any falling out. It’s a good idea to use thread that’s closest to your hair color or color of your braids. Just be careful when cutting the thread when you’re ready to remove the hair jewelry.
Where To Buy Hair Jewelry and Hair Accessories for Braids?
As the cornrow and dreadlocks trend continues finding its way into mainstream fashion, more and more opportunities to find cute hair accessories for your braids keep on popping up. You can even now find dreadlock and braid accessories at your local beauty supply store and Walmart. This certainly wasn’t the case a few years ago.
Online stores like Amazon will give you some basic options as well. If you’re looking for more creative options beyond the simple filigree dread cuff though, you’ll need to venture off of the beaten path, so to speak (read: away from mass market chains). Stores like Loccessories offer a variety of hair accessories for braids and locs.
Etsy is also a great marketplace to find unique, and custom pieces sure to help you make a statement. We’ll highlight a few shops below.
So now that we’ve covered the housekeeping stuff, let’s get to the fun stuff!
You’ve seen a couple styles that you like on your fellow CurlFriends and want to join in on the #hairbling party that you see taking place, right? The trouble is, no one’s spilling the tea on all the stylish hair flair hitting the markets right now. What gives?
No need to worry, we’re here for ya…
Trending Braid Accessories: What’s Hot Right Now…
Wire Coils – spiral coils made of flexible metal that wrap around the braid, loc or twist.
Dread Cuffs/Filigree Tubes – Little metal tubes that have an opening on one side. Made of a thin metal that can be easily be pulled wide and then bends again once placed around the hair.
Loc Jewelry – Wired jewelry with various beads, semi-precious stones and accent charms. Loc jewelry can have several attachments to fit over the braid or loc including beaded bails, lobster claw clasps, wire coil, or cuffs.
Embroidery Floss/Yarn Falls – Colorful embroidery floss typically found in the sewing section of the craft store.
Dread Beads – An assortment of beads can be made from wood, clay, ceramic, glass, acrylic and more.
Wooden Beads – beads of wood that are usually carved or painted.
Hair Rings – Small circular rings that are inserted through the braid and left to dangle.
Metallic String – Long shimmer string meant to wrap and/or criss-cross down the braid in intricate patterns.
Beaded Hair Sprinkles – Small iridescent seed beads that are threaded through the hair so that it looks like the beads are magically floating alongside the braid or loc.
Shells and Tribal Beads – hand-crafted beads and natural findings.
Chains and charms –
Ponytail Scarfs – a new twist on the classic scrunchie, this scrunchie with rabbit ears offers a sophisticated way to elevate the classic ponytail.
So which do you want to try first? Leave a comment below and let us know!