As a fully functioning 20-something, the closest I tend to get to a hair accessory is a scrunchie, for the days when I just can't deal with the bleached bush growing from my head. But as a teenager, covering my entire mane with emo hair accessories took the majority of my getting-ready time. Mostly because I had no actual idea how to do my makeup properly yet.
Everything about being an emo kid — not to be confused with a scene kid — was about being over the top. Combining childish accessories with our dark clothing was a statement of irony. You know, in comparison with how dark, twisted, and depressed we felt on the inside. But for the majority of that time, my emo hair accessories were my favorite part of the look.
From oversized bows to different colored clip-in hair extensions, our hair accessories were an outlet for colorful self-expression amidst a sea of dark skinny jeans and My Chemical Romance band T-shirts. It's not that I particularly miss covering my head in an array of different cartoon character-themed clips from Claire's. It's just a part of my life that's fun to reminisce about and laugh about. Because if we don't laugh, we cry, right? Here are 15 hair accessories you probably wore as an emo.
Bat Cosplay Bow, $4, Hot Topic
I remember when I went to Florida on a family holiday during the peak of my emo phase and almost fainted upon entering Hot Topic for the first time. I wish I still had some of the hair bows I got there, because not all of them were The Nightmare Before Christmas-themed and they may still be acceptable to wear now.
2. Big Bows
Pokemon Charmander Cheer Bow, $5, Hot Topic
Deserving a category entirely of their own, oversized bows were the way to go when your average-sized bows just weren't making a big enough statement.
3. Big Clips
Oversized Snap Clips, $23, etsy
In the same vein, why wear the normal-sized version of something when you can wear a giant-sized version instead? More often than not, these clips rarely held back any actual hair.
4. Clip-In Extensions
Manic Panic Synthetic Glam Strips, $6, Blue Banana
Always plastic, always looking awful, and always in a ridiculous color — because your school/mom wouldn't let you actually dye your hair lime green.
5. Raccoon Tail Hair Extensions
Raccoon Tail Hair Extensions, $10, Hair Extensions
This was another case of trying to outdo someone else. Raccoon tail hair extensions have never looked good on anyone. Ever. I made my own by using colored mascara to create stripes on the plastic hair extensions.
6. Childish Tiara
Kids Rhinestones and Pink Crystals Tiara, $4, Claires
No OTT emo kid look — on the verge of becoming scene here — was complete without a mini tiara from Claire's.
7. Cartoon Character Accessories
Spongebob Squarepants Pigtail Bows, $16, etsy
Just take anything on this list and add a cartoon character to it. Emo kids definitely wore it.
Turquoise Paisley Bandana, $2, Blue Banana
This wasn't really one of my favorites — although I definitely still owned one — but bandanas were often worn like hairbands by many an emo kid.
9. Backcombing Comb
Although not an accessory, this was a necessity found in every emo kid's backpack or satchel. You didn't want to be caught without it if your hair started drooping.
10. Glitter Hairspray
Because if you're covering your entire head in hairspray until it's stiff, it might as well be glittery, too!
11. Plastic Headbands
Plastic Hairband Simple Design, $3, etsy
Maybe it was an attraction to things that were obviously fake and plastic in opposition to our very real emotions, or maybe it was just a trend. But almost every emo kid I knew opted for a stiff plastic headband over a softer one any day.
12. Glass Bead Hair Ties
Blue Swirled Glass Hair Tie, $4, etsy
This was a very specific throwback to '90s childhoods — perhaps a reclamation after being forced to wear them all those years by our parents.
13. Morbid Hair Clips
Skull Hair Clips, $1, Blue Banana
As much as we were embracing our childish sides with these kinds of hair accessories, we didn't want people to forget how deep we were for being emo kids. Enter skulls or generally death-themed hair clips.
14. Hair Mascara
This was an easier way to switch up your look without clipping strands of plastic to your head, but also pretty quickly dried your hair into a crispy mess. You've got to pick your battles, I guess.
15. Double Headband
Double Strand Twist Hairband, $3, Claires
Why wear one headband when you can wear two that are stuck together?
Clearly emo hair accessories were all about reaching for ridiculous extremes.
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Images: Don Arnold/Getty Images ; Courtesy Brands