Get Strands That Sparkle With Hair Tinsel at Home

August 24, 2023
Ariel Wodarcyk
By: Ariel Wodarcyk | by L'Oréal
Picture of a person with black hair and hair tinsel on a graphic blue background

If you’re obsessed with all things shiny, from glossy chrome manicures to megawatt sparkly eyeshadows, you’re going to want to add hair tinsel to your list of trends to try ASAP. The final effect is bedazzled, blingy and can be as subtle or as showstopping as you please, depending on the amount of tinsel you choose to use and the colors you reach for. The finished look is perfect for an array of events, too — from music festivals to nights out on the town. Is hair tinsel easy to put in, though? Keep reading for a full tutorial and helpful tips that make the process as seamless as possible, plus find out how to remove the glitzy strands after the party’s over. 

What Is Hair Tinsel?

According to celebrity extensionist Priscilla Valles, hair tinsel is made from the same material as the tinsel you’d find wrapped around a Christmas tree, except the kind that’s made for your hair will have a bonding method that allows you to attach the tinsel to your roots. “It's incorporated into the hair by tying a piece around a section of hair, using a special tool that loops around the tinsel,” she explains. Sometimes, tinsel can also be applied using hair extension glue, while other brands of hair tinsel can be clipped in, similar to traditional clip-in hair extensions.  

How to Put in Hair Tinsel at Home

Below, editor Mary Honkus shares her experience with putting in hair tinsel for the first time, plus tips on how to make the process easier the next time. 

I found a TikTok tutorial from hairstylist Quiozel Alcantara on how to easily put in hair tinsel. According to Alcantara, you only need two to three strands of tinsel per section of hair. To begin, hold the tinsel from the middle and create a small loop. “The tinsel is going to try to go everywhere, so try to keep the loop clean and organized so they’re not all over the place,” she says.

From there, she recommends grabbing a tiny section of hair (no more than 10 strands of hair) from the underlayer of hair. The finished look will appear more streamlined if you don’t attach the tinsel directly on the top of your head — so choose a section to the side of your part or under it. 

Once you have a section of hair, place the tinsel loop on one side of the hair section. Then, thread the end of the tinsel through the loop. Tighten the loop around the hair and push it up towards the root to secure it.

After attaching your desired amount of tinsel, cut it with scissors to match your hair length. Style your hair as you like and when you catch the light, the tinsel will peak through for a little pop of sparkle.

I watched the tutorial about 100 times before buying a hair tinsel kit off of Amazon for myself. The kit I found comes with 12 different colors of tinsel for less than $15, which is a pretty good deal considering it can be reused. 

When the tinsel arrived, I decided to try out the iridescent multi-colored strands. With the tinsel and tutorial in hand, I got to work. While I expected to catch onto the process pretty quickly (I did watch the tutorial 100 times, after all), I found hair tinsel pretty difficult to apply.

After struggling for about 30 minutes to loop some tinsel around my hair, I finally got the first section to stay attached. I could only get that one section wrapped around my hair, too. Frankly, I just didn't have the patience to spend an hour or more applying hair tinsel. I was disappointed because I wanted my hair to sparkle, but after watching a few other tutorials, I know what to change for next time to make the process more streamlined.

If you want to try hair tinsel out for yourself, I suggest giving yourself plenty of time to attach the strands. You’ll need a minimum of an hour so you’re not rushing around or getting super frustrated — especially if it’s your first time trying them out. It’s also a good idea to have a friend help out. Having four hands instead of two can help speed up the process. It’s true that practice makes perfect, too! The more time you spend putting in hair tinsel the better you’ll get. Don’t give up. 

hair tinsel kit

How to Remove Hair Tinsel at Home

Wet Your Hair

First, Valles recommends getting your hair wet by misting it with a spray bottle filled with water. Once your hair is wet, you’ll have an easier time removing the tinsel, she explains.

Grab a Pair of Scissors

“Then cut the tinsel using the scissors as close to the root [as possible]” Valles continues. “Make sure you cut straight into the tinsel and not into the hair.” From there, she says you can gently comb out the tinsel, brushing your hair from root to tip.

Wash and Condition Your Hair as Usual

Once you’ve removed the sparkle from your strands, Valles says it’s important to wash and condition your hair as normal to remove any bonding or residue left over in your hair. One of our favorite shampoo and conditioner duos of the moment is the Matrix Food for Soft Hydrating Shampoo and Detangling Hydrating Conditioner, which is infused with avocado oil and hyaluronic acid. Valles notes that with proper application, hair tinsel can last you anywhere between four to eight weeks. 

Matrix Food for Soft Hydrating Shampoo and Detangling Hydrating Conditioner

How to Style Hair Tinsel in Curly and Coily Hair

When you look up photos of hair tinsel online, you’ll likely find the glittery strands on straight and wavy hairstyles. However, tinsel can pop on curly and coily hair textures too — it will just require a bit more patience and manipulation with hot tools. “Make sure you find tinsel that is heat-safe so you can curl it in your hair so it matches the texture, because it does not come curly,” says Valles. “You'll just want to keep the heat at a low setting and check with your hairstylists to make sure it’s heat safe, or when you are purchasing, so that you are able to style it to match your texture.” 

Hair Tinsel Inspo

Indigo Streaks

Dark, jewel-toned shades of hair tinsel make a bold statement against jet-black or chestnut brown hair. 

Golden Shimmer

We’re mesmerized by the subtle flecks of gold in this client’s warm-toned, caramel blonde hair. This style would look particularly stunning when it catches the light during golden hour.

Cowboy Copper

Fiery red and copper hair colors are still trending, especially when accented with hints of subtle sparkle. For an understated yet sparkly effect, opt for hair tinsel in a gold or rose gold shade.

Purple Pop

Want to add a pop of color to your hair without going through the trouble of bleaching or dyeing it? A few vibrant pieces of hair tinsel will instantly transform your look.

Sparkling Braids

Box braids are a classic and beloved protective hairstyle for their versatility. Make yours stand out by weaving pieces of iridescent, multicolored hair tinsel through your strands, and watch the compliments come rolling in.

Photo:  @braidsbybeckaa,  Design: Juliana Campisi

Read more

Back to top