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What Is Tinsel Hair? We Tried the Glitter Extensions

We Tried the Tinsel Hair Trend, and It's Our New Festival Favourite

When it comes to summer festival hair trends, beach waves and sleek ponytails are simply not going to cut it for 2022. After the pandemic cancelled most of our summer plans for the last couple of years, now is our time to shine — literally. That's why we had to give the latest tinsel hair trend a go. Thanks to Emma May, master stylist and tinsel specialist at London's Samantha Cusick salon, tinsel hair became a reality for POPSUGAR UK Social Content Producer Chloe Dunn.

Though it's having a major moment right now, hair tinsel is nothing new. We can thank Beyoncé for introducing us to the magical concept back in 2010 at the Grammys when she wore iridescent strands woven through her honey-hued hair on the red carpet. And much like everything from the noughties, tinsel hair is returning, and we couldn't be more thrilled.

What Is Tinsel Hair?

Tinsel hair is exactly as the name suggests: tiny threads of tinsel secured to stands of hair to add subtle sparkle. Tinsel is a great way to experiment with your hair without any major or permanent changes (such as a big colour transformation). There are a variety of colours to choose from, including black, silver, pink, rose gold, gold, blue, purple, and multicoloured.

What Is the Process of Getting Tinsel Hair?

The process of getting tinsel hair is similar to getting micro ring extensions. After the hair is washed and blow-dried, strands of tinsel (each one is two pieces of tinsel that are folded over so it feels like four pieces) are attached to very small sections of hair at the root using secured micro rings. "We attach the rings a few inches below the parting to keep the [rings] discreet," May said. "The result is fine, hair-like sparkles that glisten through the midlengths to ends," she added.

Chloe has approximately 12 strands in her hair with three different colours (pink, rose gold, and gold) that were recommended based on her natural auburn hue. It took about 15 minutes to apply and was "straightforward, painless, and easy", Chloe said.

Who Can Have Tinsel Hair?

The great news is that any hair type and texture can try tinsel hair because of the micro ring application process. May explained that tinsel does blend a little less seamlessly for curlier hair types, but "tinsel can be easily incorporated into braids, cornrows, and plaits for sparkly looks".

What Is the Aftercare For Tinsel Hair?

Since the tinsel in the hair is secure, you can shampoo and condition your hair as normal, though taking extra care to gently massage your roots around the rings with shampoo is encouraged. When it comes to styling, the tinsel can withstand about 200 degrees of heat, making it safe to style with a hair dryer or straighteners as usual. If you're not sure about certain types of styling, you can just ask your hairstylist for guidance.

How Long Does Tinsel Hair Last?

May recommends that her clients wear the tinsel for no longer than six to eight weeks. This is due to the nature of application, which, much like extensions, may cause some damage to the strands of hair attached to the tinsel if left much longer. Like with most things when it comes to hair, the more you take care of the tinsel, the longer it will last. "All clients are welcome back for a removal-only appointment, which takes no more than 15 mins, unless you want it reapplied, of course," May explained.

How Much Does Tinsel Hair Cost?

At Samantha Cusick, tinsel is an add-on service that can be applied to any salon service with prices starting from £42. The salon also offers a sparkly blow dry, which includes a wash, cut, blow dry, and tinsel with prices starting from £72. Pricing will vary from salon to salon depending on your location.

Can Tinsel Hair Be Achieved at Home?

While we recommend seeking a professional to help with the task, you can order your own tinsel hair and try the look at home. Whether you opt for the Easilocks Hair Tinsel Shimmer at ASOS (£5) or try the multicoloured Amazon hair tinsel sets (£11), try tying them into strands of hair or use the micro rings provided and follow the instructions. We do advise getting help from a friend, though!

Final Thoughts on Tinsel Hair

If she were to get it again, Chloe would definitely get more strands added to make the tinsel stand out more. "If you're doing tinsel hair, go big or go home, right?" she said. Though starting with fewer strands was a great way to test the tinsel waters. Chloe also noted that the tinsel isn't biodegradable or eco-friendly, so she would definitely ask if they could reuse the same strands if she was to get it done again.

Sure, it's a little extra effort when it comes to taking care of the tinsel and the micro rings. And it's definitely a luxury at approximately £45 a pop, but it's absolutely worth it. Why, you ask? "It makes me smile when I catch myself in the mirror because . . . I have glitter in my hair," Chloe said. All in all, tinsel hair was a huge hit that she loves for festival season and beyond. Who said tinsel is just for Christmas trees, hey?

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Chloe Dunn
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