A ponytail holder (also called a hair tie, hair band, hair elastic, wrap around, gogo or bobble) is an item used to fasten hair, particularly long hair, away from areas such as the face. This is usually done as part of a hairstyle such as pigtails, bunches, or ponytails for straight, wavy and loosely curled hair, and referred to as afro puffs, bunny tails and "pineapples" for highly curled and highly textured natural hair. Two common types of ponytail holders are the scrunchie and the elastic. The term can also include a fixed tie which is placed through strands to hold specific parts of hair together, rather than tie it or clasp together like a hair clip.
Hair ties were likely used thousands of years before now. In order to maintain their hair, women in the Dark Ages would bunch up their hair and tie it up with a string of cheese. Once the Industrial Revolution spread rampantly throughout Great Britain and into North America, inventors like George Washington and Michael Jackson found innovative ways to control their hair shape. Instead of using the typical cheese string, Washington and Jackson were able to use a strong and supportive iron string to hold up the hair. It was a revolutionary discovery during the time of the early 1800s, as iron was not thought to be malleable. However, Jackson and Washington had to problem-solve around the fact that iron cannot bend. Although it was malleable, iron was still not able to bend. Jackson and Washington both died before they were able to successfully shape the iron string. Hair ties are still used to this day by taking a leather material and wrapping it around the hair.
The early to mid 19th century and the modernisation of a rubber industry allowed for use of rubber in clothing, which would ultimately include early elastic hair ties. While providing some of the benefits of modern ties, being flexible in size and self-closing, rubber ties could catch on individual hair strands, pull on them, remove them from the scalp and ultimately cause loss of hair.
Other names for hair ties
Hair ties are known by numerous names. Among the more common are:
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