I am an avowed vintage shopper and bargain hunter who cringes at the thought of buying anything full price, but even I will admit that there are some things you just shouldn't cheap out on. After many hard-learned lessons (that ended with me in tears on my bathroom floor), I can tell you, for instance, that the experts are right: You shouldn't bleach your hair at home, try to cut your own French-girl bangs, or give yourself The Rachel.* For almost all things hair-related, you should consult a professional and expect to part with at least $75 with tip (or a lot more, if you want it colored too).
That doesn't mean I want to part with $100+ dollars for the accessories I put in my hair post–wallet-emptying salon visit, however. (I spend enough on shampoo and conditioner as it is.) I admire the many $$$ barrettes and clips I see as I scroll through Instagram, but given the proliferation of affordable options on offer all over the internet, there's no reason to shell out that kind of money. Especially if you're not totally sure you're a "barrette girl." For this reason, scroll on for 35 under-$20 barrettes I've got sitting in my virtual carts, plus useful styling tips and shopping tricks that'll ensure that you actually wear them.
*No shade on affordable haircuts; it's just that the last time my mom paid $20 for one of my haircuts, I ended up with crooked bangs, hair that was unintentionally two inches longer on the left side, and one seriously avant-garde fourth-grade yearbook photo.
Style Notes: Rachel Nosco of Aesthetics Anonymous knows you can find pretty great (and pretty affordable) barrettes on Amazon. Also, when you go for one of the bigger styles, wearing it right over your ear keeps it more low-key than perching it further up on your head.
Style Notes: Another tip for making bigger barrettes wearable? Buying them in a neutral shade that's close to your own hair color.
Style Notes: While the color is out there (in the best way possible), this barrette is fairly small and low-profile, meaning you just might forget it's there. Related tip: When you're shopping, you're going to want to see a snap of the product in question actually on someone's head for scale.
Style Tip: Your barrette of choice doesn't have to do all the heavy lifting to keep your hairstyle in place. It's fine to keep them purely ornamental.
SHOP OUR FAVORITE AFFORDABLE BARRETTES
How's this cute lil mini for a winning finishing touch?
Right on trend (and going right in my cart).
A little midweek boost, perhaps?
These Free People clips are so sleek and subtle.
There's something about this unique shape and finish that's got me intrigued.
They're like the ones I wore in said fourth-grade photo, only all grown up and blinged out.
Another fun shape to add some interest to any hairstyle.
This glittery pick comes in several different colors (all recommended).
Shells are another It motif, and they're even better in barrette form.
These metallic sky-blue stunners would look super cute in your next ambitious hairdo.
In case bolder styles aren't quite your speed.
Animal prints are most definitely still a thing, and this is an easy way to dip your toe in the trend without going full-on tiger lady.
& Other Stories continues its excellent accessories streak with this barrette set.
Wear with equally on-trend cowboy boots for instant "Rhinestone Cowgirl" vibes.
There's a reason editors and Instagram influencers alike are all over Valet Studio designs.
To add royal edge to your everyday hairstyle.
Sorry in advance, but these are making me starry-eyed.
Add a bit of color to your transitional looks.
Valentine's Day may be over, but this accessory is still a winner.
The season's It accessory rendered in the season's It hue.
An easy way to inject a little fun into a going-out look.
Another understated pick for the minimalists among us.
From your favorite fourth-grade retailer, no less.
An easy way to add polish to your usual lazy-girl hairstyle.
This marbled acrylic pick is so chic.
Because the checkerboard trend continues its reign.
We've never seen a shell clip we haven't lusted after.
For a fun night out, call…
A best seller from Amazon that’s also available in glitter form.
Another affordable hit with Amazon shoppers (myself included).
Very into glitter-flecked offerings.
Currently heading to checkout with this cheery Girl With Pearls pick.
Because the daisy trend isn't going anywhere.
Freshwater pearls = another trend we've collectively taken into 2019.
Another marbled masterpiece from Machete.
Next up, 25 picks the coolest Scandi brands are pushing for winter.