Trust Me—Hair Gems Are the Unexpected Y2K Accessory I'll Be Wearing Into 2023


(Image credit: @kaitlyn_mclintock)

There are a few Y2K trends that I've never stopped thinking about (or yearned for). They are, in order: butterfly clips, body glitter, and hair gems. The first two need no explanation, but the last one might. 

As is the way with all things in 2022, Tik Tok is the driving force behind the reemergence of this trend. It only makes sense. After all, Tik Tok has a thing for nostalgia. Just recently, it brought back a 50-year-old lipstick and something called Meredith Blake style (if that name sounds familiar, it's the antagonist from the 1998 cinematic masterpiece The Parent Trap). 

It was only a matter of time before hair gems came back, too. And I, for one, am overjoyed that it's finally that time. Keep scrolling to see some serious celebrity inspiration and learn how you can take part in this trend too (trust me—it's way less complicated than you might think). 

Celebrity Inspiration


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Florence Pugh's take on the trend is subtle, with only three distinct hair gems adorning her slicked-back style. It lets the rest of her look—namely her statement jewelry and graphic winged liner—take the focus.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Alicia Keys makes a case for a more maximalist take on the trend. I love how her hair gems are placed in a precise, almost grid-like pattern. 


(Image credit: @thewhitmore)

Sure, they're not exactly gems, per se, but I say the gold beads in Laura Whitmore's twisted braid count. It's just the kind of unexpected detail I love. 


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Katherine Langford is also a fan of accessorizing with gold beads. This time, they're placed perfectly along her hairline to complement her monochromatic red makeup.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Blink and you might miss Saweetie's hair embellishments. The ever-so-subtle gems are placed all the way down the length of her hair—even on the flipped-up ends of her lob haircut.


(Image credit: Getty Images)

There's no better trend for JoJo to take part in than this one. I mean, it's an early-aughts trend, and she was an early-aughts pop music idol. It's so fitting.

My Take on the Trend

A photo posted by on

My take on the trend is more casual than red carpet–ready. Personally, though, I don't think hair gems need to be reserved for elevated occasions. I think they work just as well on a sunny Saturday when you're spending your day drinking coffee, eating brunch, and cleaning your apartment (speaking from experience here). 

I used a stamping device, although there are other application methods (but more on that in a minute). All you have to do is insert a plastic disc that holds the rhinestones, place a lock of your hair inside of it, and press down. That's it—the rhinestone will stick to your strands. 

The Products

Here it is—the stamper set that includes the actual device along with 225 rhinestones. Don't let the product page fool you. Even though it's marketed toward kids, it's cool for adults, too. 

The same brand offers a grown-up version of the device. This one works the same way, except it comes with diamond cut-glass crystals instead of rhinestones (for even more sparkle). 

If you're not about the stamping tool, Tik Tok has another option for you. You can buy rhinestones separately, then use this hair glue to keep them in place. Just apply a small dot to the back of each rhinestone and place it where you wish. When you're ready to take the gems out of your hair, all you have to do is pick them out and shampoo. They've never damaged my hair or left any kind of residue. 

5 Other Hair Accessories I Love

Next, hairstylists are begging you to use these five things to repair summer damage

Kaitlyn McLintock
Associate Beauty Editor

Kaitlyn McLintock is an Associate Beauty Editor at Who What Wear. Although she covers a wide range of topics across a variety of categories, she specializes in celebrity interviews and skincare and wellness content. Having lived in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, she recently relocated back to her home state of Michigan where she works remotely. Prior to Who What Wear, she freelanced for a variety of industry-leading digital publications, including InStyle, The Zoe Report, Bustle, Hello Giggles, and Coveteur. Before that, she held a long-term internship and subsequent contributor position at Byrdie. When she's not writing, researching, or testing the latest and greatest beauty products, she's working her way through an ever-growing book collection, swimming in the Great Lakes, or spending time with family.