Chances are you have some bad memories about your overall sartorial aesthetic in the '90s, but one thing you can't deny is that '90s hair accessories were the absolute best. Sure, they may have been slightly painful to wear, or somewhat impractical for keeping your hair in place all day long. But they were also colorful, wild, and allowed you to make a serious style statement to everyone in your elementary school.
Perhaps the best part about '90s hairstyles is that some of the accessories we used are still in circulation. Scrunchies always seem to be making a comeback and many trendy websites will still sell claws and snap barrettes from time to time. It's almost as if these hair accessories will forever unite '90s kids, joining us together in plastic hair stick misery as we roll our eyes in unison about the trends we love to hate (or maybe hate to love).
While some of these hair accoutrements might make you look back in terror or leave phantom pains in the spots where you wore your butterfly clips too tightly, others will likely have you hoping for a chance to wear them again. Here are my personal favorite '90s hair accessories to wax nostalgic and/or cringe about.
1. Stretchy Comb Headbands
Otherwise known as your worst nightmare, these stretchy comb headbands had to be carefully pulled down around your head, then back up through your hair without poking your eyes out or ripping your flesh. Once you mastered that, though, you probs looked like the finest chick in social studies.
Hair beads are by no means exclusive to the '90s, but it was then that this look really had its time to shine. The color combinations were endless, and the kids who wore this look to school — not to mention the parents who painstakingly put them in — looked amazing.
3. Butterfly Clips
Every '90s and early 2000s kid knew that these were actually everything. You could wear your butterfly clips in primary and/or neon colors every day to school, and get a special set of sparkly ones for a dance or event. Simply put, a hairstyle wasn't a hairstyle until a few of these got tossed into the mix.
4. Huge Scrunchies
The bigger, the better. I personally amassed a huge scrunchie collection that basically filled an entire drawer, and so did everyone I knew. You got bonus points if you had enough hair to wear more than one, and you couldn't forget to stack the strays up on your wrist for the ultimate accessory.
5. Hair Sticks
Clear Plastic Chopsticks With Stones, $4, Cover Your Hair
This was a look favored by '90s icons like Phoebe from Friends and Jewel, and many of us wanted to achieve it. Unfortunately, keeping your hair up in two sticks was no easy feat, but nobody can say we didn't try. However, it should be noted that the look is now widely criticized as a culturally appropriative hairstyle, and is best avoided.
6. Snap Barettes
Oversized Flip Hair Clip, $4, Urban Outfitters
Like scrunchies, many of us had a fine collection of these bad boys. Ever the throwback ironist, Urban Outfitters is still keeping this trend alive by selling an oversized version of our beloved snap barrettes. I can't lie: The look is still pretty great.
7. Topsy Tail
When I first got my Topsy Tail, I stabbed myself in the neck approximately 30 times. However, once I mastered the art of the loop-and-poke situation, I couldn't wait to show it off. Topsy Tails are still around, and there are plenty of tutorials online to spare your neck from a similar fate.
8. Colorful Hair Clips
A clip for every object, food, character, and flower, these were the greatest, even if they only held the tiniest bits of hair imaginable. Shoutout to all the people who got these tangled in their hair and suffered the pain of mom having to rip them out.
ASOS Hair Claw, $7, ASOS
This was an easy, no-fuss solution to all of your up-do and half up-do needs. Claws are still super useful today, and there's a reason they've stood the test of time.
These were some of the best and most popular looks of the '90s. What a joy it is that so many are seeing the limelight yet again today.
Images: NBC (1); Courtesy Brands; Rod Waddington/Flickr (1)