There are fairies among us, at least by way of the fairy hair trend that has some UNC students sporting sparkling hair tie-ins.
Sophomore Diana Bangera said she had fairy hair last summer and was surprised to see the trend gaining ground at UNC fall semester. She said she got 10 strands for 10 dollars in a 10 minute process.
Some see fairy hair as a way to exhibit a fun, low commitment look that is accessible to anyone with long enough hair. The thin, shimmery strands can withstand heat, washing and brushing and come in an array of colors. They can last several days or several months depending on how they are put in.
Senior Caroline Mueller said she had a mentor give her fairy hair several times, once at a festival where people of all ages awaited their own glittery locks. She got 10 strands for $25.
Though the fairy hair trend is growing in popularity and visibility, Mueller said some people are still surprised by her accentuated hair.
“There is a fun little moment where people aren’t expecting glitter in your hair,” Mueller said. “I like that moment of surprise.”
While some salons or hair dressers offer to tie in fairy hair, others choose to buy large quantity packs from Amazon to do it themselves.
Kelly Lin said her sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma, used packs of purple fairy hair on their bid day to add flare to girls’ hair. Lin said fairy hair seems popular among some demographics at UNC, but that it is not a UNC-wide phenomenon.
“I have noticed it mostly on ladies who are in sororities, because fairy hair is a cute way to spice up a hairstyle and fit event themes,” Lin said.
Senior Kathleen Brock, a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, said she saw fairy hair everywhere during sorority recruitment week.
“I think trends tend to get bastardized once they go mainstream,” Brock said. “Something individualistic, fun and quirky can get turned into the newest rage. But who is to say if this is true of the connection between fairy hair and sorority women?”
Brock also said she sees it a lot on younger children and even on pets like her dog, Heidi, whom she ties in a few sparkly strands. She says fairy hair is a fun thing to try for anyone who just wants to try a new look.
“I have seen fairy hair on everyone from middle schoolers to post menopausal sexagenarians and I think it's a really cool trend,” Brock said. “I’d like to see it more on men, especially men with long hair.”
Personality also shines through one’s color choice, Brock said. People can choose between metallics, neons and rainbow assortments of colors to match a certain theme, or to amplify an act of self-expression.
With a 10,000 pack bought from Amazon for $7, Brock said she enjoys giving fairy hair to her friends free of charge. She uses the time to have fun mindless conversations.
Another aspect of fairy hair that might not be as frequently discussed is what they are made of.
“I don’t know what it’s made of,” Lin said. “But I’m conscious that it is likely made of something that is not good for the environment and probably isn’t biodegradable.”
Some types of fairy hair, especially those sold in large packs online, are made of polyester, which is a type of plastic. Owner of the business Fhairy Sparkles Fairy Hair, Jennifer Powell, said this material comes out more easily and doesn’t work with everyone’s hair. It is also often much less expensive.
Often stylists like Powell use silk strands that she says can work with anyone’s hair. Powell started her business several years ago and caters to elementary children, college students and a lot of senior women who like the damage-free aspect of this nuanced look.
Powell said she buys her silk strands from Silk ShimmerZ, a large U.S. distributor selling strands from Thailand. Silk Shimmerz said their strands last longer than those made of polyester and that their product will impress with "subtle beauty and a luxurious feel."
Celebrities like Beyoncé and Kesha have sported the look, and it has also been spotted on pets. Those who have tried it say they love it.
“I think this trend will last,” Powell said, “and if it is a fad it has already lasted a long time.”
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