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Choosing Accessories to Suit Your Hair

By: Jennie Kermode - Updated: 22 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Accessories Ribbon Clip Bow Scarves

There are all sorts of great hair accessories out there, but how should you go about choosing ones that really work for you? Rather than simply copying the fashions adopted by celebrities with different hair types and face shapes, it's time to start thinking about getting to grips with accessories in a way that can create a flattering look which is all your own.

Up-Do Accessories

These days there are an increasing number of devices available for binding up your hair. Unfortunately they are not all kind to it. Avoid those that bind hair tightly, and avoid metal or hard-edged plastic clips that press into it, as these can create a permanent kink and a fragile point where their hair can break.

The kindest way to bind up hair is with a simple scrunchie (use a slender band for straight hair and a wider, perhaps more elaborate one for thick, curly or afro hair). Alternatively you can use a flexible wire cushioned with rubber. This can look surprisingly good and it's easy to use if you want to style your hair quickly by yourself before rushing out to work or a party.

If you must use a clip, comb-shaped 'bulldogs' work well because they place the strain on a different part of your hair each time they're worn, and they leave room for some flexibility. They can look striking in thicker hair but can easily overwhelm thin hair. The same is true of flower clips, worn at the top of the head or beside the ear. They're a great way to add a striking touch of colour and especially suit people with strong cheekbones.

Ribbons, Bows and Scarves

Ribbons, bows and scarves are flexible in more ways than one - they can flatter almost any hair type, though they sometimes risk getting lost in thick, curly hair. Satin and silk are the best choices because their smooth surface and strong weave means they can easily be anchored in the hair without damaging it. Ethnic Indian shops are a great place to buy high quality silk ribbons and scarves at low prices.

Hair accessories of this type can be bound around a ponytail for a simple look that adds a little colour, or they can be tied to the top of bunches for a more outlandish, playful look. Short ribbons or bows are ideal for the ends of braids, or they can be woven through them (tie them at the top and treat them as a third strand of hair when braiding) for a more dramatic effect.

Silk scarves can also be bound around the front part of the hair and worn as Alice bands, or extended further back to protect your hair from the weather. They're a better choice than plastic Alice bands, which can dig into the scalp and cause headaches if worn for too long.

Beads and Baubles

Beads and baubles worn at the tops of bunches or the ends of braids are often seen as childish, but there are an increasing number of more stylish and sophisticated creations that can look good at the top of a ponytail or the base of a French braid. They have a wide variety of applications and should not be overlooked.

If you like the beaded look and really want to look glamorous, an Indian-style bead net worn over smooth straight hair (especially dark hair) can be very striking. Meanwhile, thick curly or afro hair can be tamed and given added appeal by beads secured on slender braids and worn high up on the head.

Spectacles and Earrings

When thinking about hair accessories, people tend to neglect the things they wear on their faces, but spectacles and earrings can make a big difference to the way your hair looks.

The crucial thing to understand is that these items change the apparent shape of your face, and they also change the parts of your face that people focus on. Spectacles tend to make your eyes look bigger and can give your cheekbones an apparent lift, so they work well with hairstyles that flatter these areas. Choose thick-framed spectacles for curly hair, high-cut bobs and dark colours, or thin frames for paler, straight hair and up-do's.

Whilst they may catch in long hair and make it look untidy - as well as potentially being painful - earrings really flatter shorter styles and up-do's. Choose simple studs or delicate styles for a sophisticated look, or choose larger earrings to draw more attention to your style. Metallic earrings look good with grey, pale blond or black hair, whilst stronger colours bring out the richer shades in brown or red hair.

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