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Women use all sorts of hair accessories, from barrettes to headbands to ponytail holders. However, one old method of adorning hair has come back into vogue: hair sticks. Some people refer to any type of hair accessory as hair sticks, but the genuine article is a tapered stick, anywhere from 2-12 inches (about 5-30 cm) in length.
Hair sticks have been around for centuries. Paintings of Japanese and Chinese court ladies show the women with hair sticks holding their elaborate hairstyles in place. Hair sticks were used in the court of Louis XIV in France, with the incredibly elaborate hairstyles of the age, and made a resurgence in popularity in the 1920s, when things Oriental were all the rage in the West. Ladies went from playing bridge to playing mah-jongg and dressed as they imagined women did in the Orient. This often included the use of hair sticks.
Hair sticks can be made of many types of materials: wood, stone, bone, bamboo, plastic - any hard material. They may be plain sticks, or may be elaborately finished, perhaps in cloisonné. Hair sticks may also have decorative beads, gemstones or glass ornaments on the wide ends. This allows a woman to coordinate her hair sticks with her outfit.
While traditional hair sticks are straight, they also come in curved varieties, which many women say are easier to use, especially for beginners. Hair sticks are generally used to hold upswept hairstyles, such as buns or French knots. Some women use them for chignons, but a curved, U-shaped accessory, called a chignon fork, may be better for this purpose. Some beginners may secure their hairstyles with elastic bands, and then use hair sticks as decoration. This is strictly up to the woman who uses them.
Hair sticks are available almost anywhere hair accessories are sold. They are also sold on the Internet. They range in price from US$3 and up, depending on the materials and design.
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