A hair stick (also hairstick) is a straight, pointed device, usually between five and nine inches in length, used to hold a person's hair in place in a hair bun or similar hairstyle.
Unlike many hair pins, which are usually small and quite simple, hair sticks are often more elaborate and decorative, and feature jeweled or carved designs that make them stand out as pieces of luxury jewelry. The price of hairsticks varies greatly depending on the style, materials and craftsmanship - the cheapest pairs of plastic hairsticks can cost less than a dollar, while a single, hand-crafted hairstick by an artist can cost over two hundred dollars.
Hairsticks have been in use for thousands of years, and have been found in cultures of the Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks. Although some of these have been jeweled, luxury items, such as the gold hairsticks of Egypt, more common, wooden hairsticks have also been found in cultures such as Rome, suggesting that they were in wide use amongst people regardless of their financial standing. However, the most influential culture on modern hairsticks has been Japanese, and in particular the use of decorative Japanese Kanzashi.
Although many modern hairsticks draw more on the elaborate approach to the design of Kanzashi more than on the simpler designs for functional pins, Kanzashi are used within a far more rigid and traditional environment. Kanzashi are frequently floral in design, especially those dictated by the changing of the seasons and used by Geisha (see full Kanzashi entry for more details).
Hand-crafted, purpose-made jeweled hairsticks that add colour and flair to hairstyles have overtaken the use of simpler chopsticks, and have become a more popular hairstyle embellishment.
Because of the wide availability of components for the crafting of hairsticks, making home-made hairsticks has also become a popular trend. Many people enjoy making their own pieces using the blank sticks that can be online, and buying pins, crystals and beads from various online suppliers. A large number of these kinds of pieces are also put up for auction online.