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Emergency Hair Tie Substitutes When You’re on a Road Trip

You and your besties have planned the ultimate getaway.  ROAD TRIP TIME!!! You’ve packed your bags, stopped for snacks, and plugged your coordinates into your GPS.  As you’re all having a blast and listening to your favorite 90’s tunes, you realize the open windows are making your hair a little wild.

You reach into your purse and you find nothing. Then, you check your wrist…Nada. You ask around, dig in your bag, and even search through the loose change in the center console. There isn’t a hair tie to be found. What do you do?!

We’ve compiled a list of unique items you will encounter on your travels, or that you might already have, that will whisk you away from that hair emergency and bring you to a…well… less of a hair emergency until you can stop at the drugstore for some new hair ties.

Chopsticks From a Restaurant

We’ll start with something we are all familiar with. While these eating utensils are already known for their hair styling abilities, they are also easily found at almost every Chinese restaurant. If you’re going to grab a pair, make sure to also grab a small fried rice or some steamed dumplings, too.

Bag Ties at a Grocery Store

We’ve all seen these at every grocery store in the produce section. While they might not be the most attractive, in terms of functionality, these will twist snuggly into your hair keeping your neck cleared from your hair on a hot day.

Rubber Bands


While these can be found almost anywhere, one of the quickest stops that you might already have on your to do list is the post office. As you stop in to purchase postage for your postcards, just ask the person at the counter for one. They might even hook you up with a few. Just be careful because the rubber can pull and damage hair, so use sparingly.

Coffee Stirrers/Skewers/Toothpicks

These are the same concept as the chopsticks, just a mini version. These can also be on the flimsy side so they are best kept for smaller buns, and even some cute mini mouse ear buns on top of your head.

Old (Clean) Sock

Just snip the toes out of an old sock (or carefully rip the hole bigger if your big toe has decided to make a surprise appearance) and roll it into itself as a donut shape. Then make a sock bun and you’re ready to go. Just make sure it’s a clean sock or you might have a seriously stinky ‘do. 



For another road trip staple, there are a million ways to use a bandanna for your hair. Even if you don’t need it for that purpose, having a bandanna can come in handy for plenty of other non-beauty emergencies.

Tin Foil

Another essential in many restaurants is foil! You can twist a clean piece of foil into a long snake and then twist around to secure a ponytail or braid. It might not be the most attractive, but at least your hair is up, and who knows, maybe you’ll get better cellphone reception!

USB Cable

This method might not work long term, but everyone has a portable charger or charging port on a long trip. If you need something super temporary, this might be just what helps you out when you’re in a jam.

Rubber Water Bottle Seal

While the silicone ring that makes a reusable bottle watertight is stretchy and similar to a rubber band, removing this small piece will basically make your water bottle unable to hold its contents from spilling and splashing. If you use this method, make sure you thoroughly clean it afterwards and don’t lose it or your bottle won’t be as effective.

Shoe Lace or Hoodie String

A string is always a go-to method for putting up one’s hair.  Just make sure that either the shoe lace is clean, or you don’t need the string in the hoodie.

Do you have a non-hair tie substitute that saved the day? Tell us!! Share your stories on our Mane ‘n Tail Facebook Page.  Also follow us on Instagram @manentailbeauty!


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