51 '90s Hair Tools That Defined The Era (& Were Kind Of Wild)

Believe it or not, the 1990s were 30 years ago. The tail end of the Millennials are entering their third decade of life, and Gen Zers are headed there soon. Since we've had long enough to adequately process all that the '90s was, we can now objectively look at some of the trends we engaged in — good, bad, or otherwise — and determine once and for all under which category they fall.

We can do the same with hair tools. The '90s brought us some of the wildest hair tools we've seen to date. From strange curling irons to accessories that simply did not work, hair products of that decade were unique — so unique, in fact, that most of them died with the new millennium. In honor of said unique hair products and with '90s hair styles that could become trendy once again, let's review them and thank them for the strides in hair styling they allowed us all to make. Here are 51 '90s hair tools that defined the era.

Butterfly clips

In retrospect, very little about trendy '90s hair was practical. And whatever was practical still had some bizarre, unnecessary flair. Take butterfly clips, for instance. Sure, they served a purpose (albeit, to hold back the smallest pieces of hair possible), but said purpose was adorned with plastic renderings of tiny insects. Cute? Yes. Necessary? Not at all. Butterfly clips were far more useful as hair accessories than legitimate styling tools. Unless holding back the curtain bangs of an angel, they were effectively useless.

Goody combs

If you had randomly selected 10 homes in the '90s and searched through the contents of their bathrooms, chances are, you would've found Goody products in nine of them. While we're not certain that's a legitimate statistic, we're confident that it's fairly accurate. Goody products, like its combs, ruled heads in the last decade of the 20th century. Goody has long been the brand that we turn to for basic hair products, then and now. They make durable, reliable products, and you're lying if you say you haven't brushed your hair with a Goody comb at least once in your life.

Conair Curl Dazzler Plus 1500

We've got to hand it to Conair — the company is still in business, and that's no small feat considering a good portion of their merchandise was either unnecessary or low quality. But in the company's defense, they've got a great marketing team because we all ate up everything they offered in the '90s (TBH, we still kind of do). Take their Curl Dazzler Plus, for example. Did it do anything but permanently damage the hair of women with type 2C hair? Probably not, but that didn't stop everyone with the slightest wave from giving it a whirl.

EZ Combs

As always, hindsight is 20/20, and, upon review, the '90s feels like a time when trend forecasters and tastemakers gave up a little bit. Instead of equipping us with beautiful ways to style our hair, they gave us cheap accessories, such as EZ Combs, and told us to make do. We did make do, but at what cost? EZ Combs could pull your hair back into a ponytail, bun, or twist, but it really only succeeded in making hair look worse. If this product comes back in style, just use regular pins.

Flexi Rods

What was our collective obsession with corkscrew curls about? While stunning on a natural head of hair, it's not the look for everyone, and far too many of us were embracing trends we had no business touching. But, instead of blaming ourselves, let's blame the tools that were marketed to convince us our regular hair wasn't good enough — Flexi Rods, for one. Perhaps a few buyers liked what they did for their hair, but, we have to say, there's a reason Flexi Rods are in product heaven (or, perhaps, hell).

Conair Quick Braid Styling Kit

Sick of hearing about Conair? Well, you're not in luck, because this brand had a chokehold on the hair products of the '90s. Let's pay a quick homage to their Quick Braid Styling Kit, a kit replete with a braiding tool, a pouch to carry the tool, a comb, beads, and bands. This was one item that all girls in elementary and middle school wanted, but most of our parents were too sensible to purchase for us. To those lucky enough to have owned one, we have one question: Did it actually work?

Clip-on bun

The '90s really didn't want anyone rocking a natural hairstyle, did it? If the decade wasn't convincing you your hair was too curly or too straight, it was telling you your hair wasn't thick enough, and, therefore, you needed a clip-on bun. Clip-on buns were somewhat practical, but they only worked if you had one of four hair colors and had to style your own hair for prom, so, in hindsight, they really weren't all that practical. They were also painfully obviously synthetic. All in all, clip-on buns were a waste of money.

Conair Impressions Stamper

If there is one product on this list that stands out among the others as the most unnecessary, it's the Conair Impressions Stamper. And that's saying something. By applying an amount of heat even a woodfire oven would find high, users of this bizarre tool were left with an impression of a chosen shape — hearts, stars, and zig zags were among the choices — in their hair. A fun, albeit strange, idea, but, unless your hair was made of foam, these impressions weren't staying put.

Crimping iron

While the Conair Impressions Stamper is the most unnecessary tool on this list, the crimper is the most quintessential '90s. Everybody had crimped hair at some point in the '90s — celebrities, your neighbors, the most popular girl at your school — and it was imperative that you, too, permanently damaged your locks for the sake of style. Whether you crimped your entire head or carefully selected strands to take on the look, crimped hair elevated your status. While we respect it, we're glad crimped hair is a thing of the past.

Conair Shiny Styles

But why waste your money on a hot tool that can only crimp? Conair knew that anyone dedicated to trendy hair needed more than just a crimper, so they responded with their Shiny Styles hot tool, which came complete with four separate slide-in attachments that all achieved a different look. There was a crimper, a slightly larger crimper, a straightener, and a shiner. That's right — one of the attachments was dedicated to shining your hair, because there was apparently no other good way to do so. File this one under "only sort of unnecessary."

Folding hairbrush

We've got to give it to folding hairbrushes — this is actually a pretty good idea. When traveling, hairbrushes can easily get ruined. Their bristles can fold or pop off, and companies, bless their hearts, just wanted us to have a solution to that problem. Thus, the folding hairbrush was born, making it possible to toss a brush in your purse without worrying about it breaking, and, if you were lucky, your folding hairbrush came with a compact mirror. Of all the products from the '90s we could get behind returning, folding hairbrushes are near the top of the list.

Scunci Stretch Comb

A Scunci Stretch Comb was that item we all had, but we weren't really sure why. Even then, we knew it was wholly unnecessary. If you needed to pull your hair back, but didn't have a ponytail, and also didn't want it fully pulled back, just out of your face a bit, then it was useful. In literally every other hair scenario, it served no purpose. It was also very difficult to use, which makes perfect sense when looking at it now. Points for creativity, though.

Banana clips

Banana clips are just about as useful as Scunci Stretch Combs. Sure, they pull your hair back, but that's about it. If your hair is in a banana clip, it's just pulled back. It doesn't look good, and it's likely not secure. If your hair is thin and the banana clip is small enough, it could potentially be of some use. But the ones in the '90s were far too long, making the head of anyone wearing one look incredibly unnatural. But since unnatural was the hair thesis of the '90s, banana clips raged on.

Sponge curlers

Someone in the '90s must've been on a mission to market as many different tools for curling hair as possible. We can't imagine another scenario in which the sponge curlers would've become so popular. Like with most hair products, the tresses of the model on the sponge curlers' package looked way better than any of our at-home results ever did, likely because the model's hair wasn't styled via sponge curlers. They might be more comfortable to wear than other rollers, but, as far as results go, there are several far better options for curls.

Topsy Tail

If the first time you laid eyes on a Topsy Tail you were incredibly confused, don't feel bad. We were, too. And, quite honestly, we're still a little confused. These crazy tools, which look more like bubble wands than something you'd use to style your hair, were created to help users achieve a specific ponytail style that needs to be left in the '90s (it really shouldn't have had a moment at all, but we'll let it slide).

Wrap, Snap and Go! Comfort Curlers

The Wrap, Snap and Go! Comfort Curlers were just another tool used to give us curls we desperately needed to brush out. But, as far as curling tools of the '90s go, these weren't the worst. They worked and probably didn't damage your hair. If anything, we're most confused about the name, particularly the Go! component. Did the creators of this product intend for us to leave our homes while wearing these? We can't think of many scenarios in which that would be necessary. But, then again, the '90s were a different time.

Cloth headbands

If, over the past few weeks, you've watched a video on TikTok of a Gen Zer getting ready, you might've noticed them wearing a cloth headband. This is one trend from the '90s that just won't die. It returns time and again, always as chunky as ever. Seeing someone who wasn't born in the '90s wearing a cloth headband might've given you a jump scare. If so, we empathize. It's unsettling. But if any hair tool from the '90s is going to return, cloth headbands are the least unsettling.

Glitter hairspray

Why lock your hairstyle with regular hairspray when you can use glitter hairspray instead? Well, if you're not a child or a professional dancer, there are literally hundreds of reasons why you shouldn't use glitter hairspray. But hair in the '90s threw away all logic. It wasn't about what was practical or what looked good. It was about what looked the gaudiest, and glitter hairspray is one surefire way to give yourself a gaudy hairstyle. Unless you need it for a Halloween costume, glitter hairspray doesn't need a spot in your cabinet.

Hair bedazzlers

Bedazzling has been a beloved practice for decades, but the '90s took it one step further. If truly anything can be bedazzled, hair could be, too, right? And, thus, the hair bedazzler was born. Lots of retailers had their own iterations of the hair bedazzler. Even Barbie got in on the magic. They were ridiculous, but so much fun. And, if you're dressing up for an occasion that requires a camp outfit, bedazzled hair is a fun style to rock. If you come across a hair bedazzler, it might even be worth snagging.


Chic hair in the '90s translated to some sort of bun or ponytail. And hair tool manufacturers everywhere apparently thought the inability to give ourselves certain bun or ponytail looks was a pervasive problem that could only be solved with highly specific products with literally only one use — hence, products such as the Hairagami. Though the product claims it's good for six new hairstyles, we're not so convinced. Hairagami was popular enough for it to expand into other products, though, so maybe someone out there found a purpose for it?

Conair Hot Sticks

Remember Conair Hot Sticks? They were hot rollers that left users with much tighter curls than most sets of its ilk. They weren't the worst idea. If you were a hot rollers fan but wanted tighter curls, these were a great option. Though they're no longer for sale en masse, plenty of used Conair Hot Sticks are available for purchase. Though there are several other ways to give yourself a tight curl, it might be fun to purchase for nostalgia's sake.


Once again, hair manufacturers of the '90s had very little faith in the consumer's ability to style their own hair. They had such little faith, in fact, they created the Braidini, a tool intended to make braiding easier. The problem with the Braidini is that the braid it produced was loose and messy — and not in a good way. The Braidini was also created to save your arms from tiring while braiding the conventional way, but we're fairly certain it didn't save anyone any time.

Oversized claw clips

We'll be the first to admit how spectacular claw clips are, since the claw clip wrangles your locks and offers you a cute 'do in exchange. In the '90s, claw clips were taken to the extreme. Instead of having a simple little clip in the back or on top of your head, the trend was a giant, oversized claw clip that could contain far more hair than you had (even if you were wearing a clip-on bun). While oversized claw clips are useful for women with thick or long locks, they're not particularly stylish for those of us who don't need them.

Hair mascara

In the 2020s, hair mascara is used to cover grays or touch up roots, and it's actually a super useful product. But, in the '90s, hair mascara was used to change your hair color from something natural to something neon. Hair mascara in the '90s was unnatural in the most basic sense of the word, and it was likely toxic. If you have some from the bygone decade lying around, don't use it. It's definitely expired, and it probably shouldn't have been used when it wasn't. But keep it as a reminder of how much progress has been made in at-home hairstyling.

Lil Miss Magic Jewels

Toys of today are far cooler than they were in the '90s. They look more realistic and function better. But, unlike toys of today, toys of the '90s came with parts that could be used on your person as well as on your toy. Take the Lil Miss Magic Jewels, for example. This doll existed for kids to adorn their hair with jewels that lit up when in contact with the accompanying magic wand, and the jewels could go in their hair, too, not just in the doll's. We'd like to see slime light up from a magic wand.

Part Pizazz

Big hair was at work in the '90s, dedicated to making us believe that bizarre hairstyles, such as zigag parts, were stylish. It was clearly a ploy to sell us the items needed to create the style, like the Part Pizazz. Hairagami, the manufacturer of the Part Pizazz, claimed that you could use it to "draw any part pattern." In case you weren't sure what part pattern existed other than a straight line — the middle part continues its reign today — the package came with plenty of inspirational photos. Unnecessary and difficult to use, the Part Pizazz fit right in with the many other needless hair tools of the '90s.

Mini hair dryers

Mini was a major motif of '90s hair styling. And we were here for it. Actually, we still are, especially when it comes to legitimately useful items, such as hair dryers. Mini hair dryers are great for traveling. They take up far less space than a full-sized hair dryer, and if you have the choice between using your own hair dryer or the complimentary hair dryer from your hotel, you'd likely choose your own. They're also great for anyone living in a small space, whether an apartment or a dorm. Mini hair dryers, we have to say, are fantastic.

Set 'N Curl hot rollers

The Set 'N Curl hot rollers were one of the few hair styling tools from the '90s that could actually save users time. These rollers were meant to set your hair, a style usually achieved through regular — often weekly — visits to a licensed beautician. If you could finagle these babies to give your hair the desired look, the Set 'N Curl could save you a trip to the parlor and the cost of a set. We do love a useful product.

Conair Spoolies hot rollers

In theory, if hair is wrapped around any round material for long enough, it'll curl. But that doesn't mean we need hair rollers of every material known to man. The '90s missed that memo, though, which is why we have relics such as the Conair Spoolies. These hot hair rollers were made of silicone, which is truly their only defining quality. They curled your hair, but they certainly didn't revolutionize at-home curling. They're a rather forgettable styling tool of the '90s, but they did come in fun colors, so that's something.

Conair More Big Curls hot rollers

Joining the Conair Spoolies on the list of rollers made of unnecessary materials is the Conair More Big Curls hot rollers set. Instead of silicone, these were made out of velvet. And, we do have to say, although it first seems odd to have rollers made from velvet, we understand the thought behind the product. Rollers can easily give your hair unwanted kinks, and a softer material seems like it would eliminate that issue. The velvet must not have eliminated enough kinks, though, because the Conair More Big Curls is no longer for sale at major retailers.

Remington S7350 Wet2Straight hair straightener

The Remington S7350 Wet2Straight hair straightener was bound and determined to convince you that it would add convenience to your life. A tool that dried and straightened wet hair at the same time, its entire marketing campaign centered on eliminating the need for a hair dryer. It claimed to save you time when getting ready, and it purported to be a useful item when traveling since you didn't have to bring along a hair dryer. This tool really just had a vendetta against hair dryers. And, as we now know, its efforts to eliminate the hair dryer were in vain.

Conair Quick Bead

Of all the Conair products that required you to place strands of your hair into a little machine, the Quick Bead might've been the most useful. Lots of women and girls still put beads in their hair, and it can be awfully time-consuming. But, like the other similar Conair tools, the Quick Bead could so easily go wrong while wrapped around someone's hair. It's great in theory, but, in practice, it's a little precarious.

Velcro hair rollers

It's truly unbelievable that Velcro rollers work as well as they do in hair. It seems they should pull your hair out of your head during removal, but they somehow don't. And, as far as curlers go, Velcro is a great option since you don't have to clip them in place. These rollers give you a great curl sans kinks and are easy to use. There are plenty of '90s hair products we're happy to have stayed in that decade, but Velcro hair rollers, we have to say, are one that needed to join us in the 21st century.

Conair Supreme Hot Curl Brush

Hot brushes never work as well as they purport. They don't work well today, and they didn't work well back when we tried to style our hair with the Conair Supreme Hot Curl Brush. This tool was meant to give users smooth curls, but it ended up being more trouble than it was worth. It did have multiple heat settings, though, which is more than we can say for, well, any of the other hot tools on this list.

L.A. Looks hair gel

The grip L.A. Looks hair gel had on us in the '90s was as strong as the gel itself. It might even be stronger. Even if we didn't have a reason to wear hair gel, we found one. That, of course, meant either ultra-slicked ponytails or crunchy waves, because, as it turns out, there's a method to correctly using gel. Still, it didn't matter because we were using the popular product. L.A. Looks hair gel is still for sale today, so if you need a new gel (and actually know how to use it), give it a try.

Kurl Mi round brush

Thank goodness for product descriptions because sometimes it's hard to tell what exactly a product does by looking at it. Such is the case with the Kurl Mi hairbrush. Unless someone had explicitly told you what it was, you would've had no way of knowing the intended use of this round brush without reading the instructions. The Kurl Mi brush had a sister item, too — a Hot Air Styler you plugged into an outlet. These items are unsurprisingly no longer available for sale, but they make for a great conversation topic.

Snap clips

Snap clips are as useful a product today as they were in the '90s. They keep your hair in place and can be used as a fun, colorful hair accessory. Snap clips have evolved a bit since their prevalence in the '90s — they come in more colors and shapes, many are lettered, and they're somewhat larger than back then. Snap clips aren't a hair product everyone needs, but they serve a purpose while looking cute. We're big fans of snap clips, and we know many of you are, too.

Perm for a Day

Don't want to commit to curly hair for the next six months? Fear not, because there's a tool that can solve that issue for you. Meet the Perm for a Day. This device ensured you had beautiful curls that lasted for only a day, allowing you to rock the style without changing your hair permanently. There certainly weren't any other products on the market at the time that gave you temporary curls, especially not ones that were easier to use. We're shocked this device didn't stay on the market long term.

Conair Geometricks

Where do we even begin with Conair Geometricks? We've labeled many items on this list as bizarre and unnecessary, and we're beginning to regret our overuse of those words because they didn't really have meaning until the Conair Geometricks came along. This set of hot tools allowed you to put shapes into your hair you didn't know you (or anyone) could put into hair. Crimps and spirals, zigzags and triangles (yes, zigzags and triangles), nothing was out of the question with Conair Geometricks, including shapes you don't actually want in your hair.

Clairol Currents curling iron

At its apex, there wasn't much to say about the Clairol Currents curling iron. It was a curling iron that worked. Upon review, the Clairol Currents curling iron is quite the piece of '90s nostalgia. Inside its box, it's nearly impossible to discern its actual purpose. Outside its box, it's a curling iron that looks more like a power strip thanks to its giant yellow cord. If you can identify another piece of equipment — haircare or otherwise — in which the electrical cord is the same size as the tool itself, we'd love to hear.

Conair Twist'N Curl

Let's take a moment to appreciate how far curling irons have come. There's nothing inherently wrong or strange about the Conair Twist'N Curl — in fact, it was a good idea that's still used in hot tools today. You purchased a base that came with three separate attachments for different styles. In the '90s, it was about as good a hot tool as any. We just have far better tools today that don't cause as much heat damage to your hair. But we had to start somewhere, and, for that, we're deeply indebted to the Conair Twist'N Curl.

Conair Quick Wrap

Sticking your hair into a styling tool can either go very right or very wrong. Manufacturer of these designs today seem to have figured out how to safely design the technique, but lots of predecessors, such as the Conair Quick Wrap, taught us valuable lessons through tangles and lost hair. If it didn't give you a bald spot, the Conair Quick Wrap left strands of your hair wrapped in string. It was a very specific style you probably only wanted to sport once. That said, they made for a great sleepover activity.

Conair Cordless Curling Iron

Not all '90s hair tools were totally useless. The Conair Cordless Curling Iron is actually pretty practical. Though you had to use special cartridges to power the iron, they allowed you to curl your hair wherever you were. And they'd still be just as practical today. Though most of us aren't touching up our curls in the car, a cordless curling iron is great for traveling. Whether you're on a trip where many of the outlets are occupied or you're in a foreign country with different outlets that don't align, you could get a lot of use from a cordless curling iron.

Glam Twirl

As-seen-on-TV products ruled the '90s. We all have the shared experience of turning on the TV in the middle of the day only to find whatever program we wanted to watch was interrupted by an advertisement for something no one needs, like a Glam Twirl. The Glam Twirl was another dangerous contraption that could've easily created tangles only scissors could fix, but that didn't stop any girl under the age of 12 from begging her parents for one. Glam Twirls came with beads and glittery twine to spice the style up, only furthering our desire to purchase one.

Big scrunchies

We have nothing but love for the big scrunchies of the '90s. Often made of a material resembling crushed velvet, these ponytail holders were everything to a '90s girl. They often pulled double duty, moving swiftly from a makeshift bracelet to a necessary tool in your high pony. Scrunchies are having a moment again in the 2020s, and we couldn't be happier. They keep your hair in place without leaving marks, and they look far better on your wrist than a regular elastic. We're scrunchie fans and proud of it.

Fake hair ponytail

The '90s weren't a particularly dressy decade, but some of the hairstyles would tell you otherwise. Many tools were created to help users achieve a look that people today would only find suitable for a wedding or prom, and there was a seemingly infinite number of accessories on the market to achieve said hairstyles, such as the fake hair ponytail. If your hair amazingly matched the color of one of these ponytails, they might've looked okay on your head, but even that's a stretch. Note to hair product manufacturers: There is absolutely no reason to continue making these.

Diamond barrettes

Barrettes are a hair staple, and few in existence have ever been as shiny as diamond barrettes. These tiny accessories didn't look like just any barrette, though. These were meant to sit in your hair and look as if your head was sporting 24 carats. The diamonds sat on top of a spiral of metal that allowed you to clandestinely curl it onto your hair. Several were marketed as bridal because nothing says wedding day like a head full of fake diamonds. Oh, the '90s. What a wonderfully weird and tacky time.


Rosie the Riveter's most famous accessory saw a resurgence in popularity in the '90s. Women everywhere were rolling bandanas to tie around their heads and not for costume — they were a legitimate fashion trend. Since bandanas serve far more purposes than hair-related ones, they've remained for sale since once again becoming a bygone trend. If you want to incorporate some '90s into your style, opt for a rolled-up bandana tied around your head, or simply fold it and tie it cap-style. Either way will imbue some welcome nostalgia while keeping your hair out of your eyes.

Side combs

Many hair tools and accessories of the '90s defied both logic and fashion, but side combs also defied physics. We're still not entirely sure how these little contraptions held hair in place, but they somehow did. Amazingly, side combs are still for sale. And, though pulling one side of your hair back isn't the most stylish look, it could be a useful way to keep your hair out of your face while exercising or applying makeup. If you happen upon them in-store, side combs might not be a waste of money.

Interlocking combs

Interlocking combs: because the '90s didn't have enough options for hair combs. Interlocking hair combs were like many other '90s hair products — sure, they did what they (sort of) said they'd do for our hair, but why did we want our hair to look that way in the first place? Once again, as is the case with many other '90s hair products — plenty of other products can do the exact same thing to your hair and look way better. Instead of interlocking hair combs, opt for a claw clip or a plain ol' ponytail holder.

Metal headbands

Many of our most beloved '90s hair tools and accessories have returned to fashion. And it's not the fact that these trends are returning that's shocking — it's which items have returned that surprises us. Many of the most popular hair products from the decade were horribly uncomfortable, metal headbands included. It doesn't feel good to have a strip of metal run across your head, yet we all willingly wore them in the '90s. What's worse, we're wearing them again in the 2020s. At some point, we have to advocate for ourselves and stop the madness of wearing uncomfortable hair accessories.