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: 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.