Hair Tools, a starter kit


hair tools

There are a few tools that are absolute must haves in my beauty drawer, and a lot of them are frequently used in my hair tutorials as well. If you are trying to build your hair tool collection from the ground up, or fill in any holes, here are a few of my favorite things to start with.

I’m not going to talk about products or hot styling tools yet since those vary so dramatically from texture to texture, but instead the tools I share below are must haves for any texture.

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1. Cricket Pro 35 comb. This is the only comb I’ll use. It’s strong enough so it won’t bend in the hair, and the fine tooth end is perfect for building texture and volume!

2. I’m new to these Blax hair elastics but I don’t think I’ll ever buy another brand again. They are strong, won’t snag, and can be reused a few times without getting overly stretched out.

3. I have this little mirror sitting on my vanity, but I also have a basic large hand mirror to look at the back of my hair as well. If you are using a makeup compact to see the back of your hair, just stop now. Invest in a big mirror so you can really see what’s happening back there!

4. Duckbill clips are the best for keeping hair out of the way without leaving a crease from a jaw clip.

5. A denman brush is perfect for smoothing through hair, and a vented brush would be even better to use while you are blow drying.

6. A wide tooth comb should be one of the first tools you use to comb through wet hair as it will be the most gentle. This is great to throw in your pool/beach bag as well!

7. Diane bobby pins are the absolute best. They won’t slide out of the hair, and they are really strong. Don’t even bother buying pins at the drugstore, none compare to Diane.

8. Soft elastics. These are great for casual side braids, or wearing your hair back at bedtime. I use these more often than I would have thought, and love that don’t don’t leave a strong crease.

I use tools from this arsenal in just about every tutorial, so bookmark this page to refer back to if I talk about something in the video (a duckbill clip or bobby pin) so you know exactly which one I’m talking about!

Having the right tools for the job will make styling your hair a heck of  a lot easier, so I hope these simple tools help you feel even more confident about rocking your ‘do!

 photos by Jordan Maunder 


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Melissa says · 07.23.15

Where does your sister buy her fold over elastic?

Brandi says · 07.23.15

There is a great selection on Etsy. That’s where I buy mine. 🙂

Brianna says · 07.23.15

I buy fold over elastic and make my own! This is the Etsy shop that I use, and I think Kate was the one to originally suggest them:

Laura says · 07.23.15

I desperately need some duckbill clips…mine seem to have gradually disappeared over the past few years!


Tiffany says · 07.23.15

Love these types of posts as I am totally clueless at hair even at 33 years old! I have been learning from you over the last couple of years so now I look like I may have a little clue, but I just realized I’ve been using crappy combs. I mean…

HEATHER My Little HEA says · 07.23.15

I love my soft elastics! Thanks for putting this post together, looking at those blax clear ones. I used to wear the drugstore kind all the time in high school.

Christina says · 07.23.15

Great post! I have naturally curly hair and my braids never look great from your post. If you ever have a curly girl to demo on or tips I would love to see.

Marisa @ enigmarisa says · 07.23.15

Seriously the best! The pins, duckbill clips and clear elastics are hair life changing! I’ll have to pick up the comb too!

Chendra says · 07.23.15

Do you use the duck bill clips to section hair also? And what is a good clarifying shampoo? I have colored hair and was using shampoo 3 forever

Kristen B. says · 07.23.15

Haha how did you know I use a compact mirror to see the back of my hair!!! Now I am on a mission for a bigger mirror!!!

Cristen Coombs says · 07.23.15

After reading about the wide tooth comb and wet hair it made me think. I currently use a Wetbrush to comb through my LONG wet hair. Are brushes to rough to use on wet hair?



Sarah says · 07.23.15

This is great! Thank you Kate. I have been wondering for a long time what comb you use for teasing your hair because it always seems to turn out perfectly! I’ll have to check out that Cricket Pro 35 (and throw away my drugstore teasing brush!!).

Dana says · 07.23.15

Kate, How do you know what size bobby pins to buy. I have really long and thick hair and I feel like the regular size doesn’t hold my hair. Should I be buying a larger size?

Kim Rock-Carter says · 07.23.15

Thank you for a very informative post! I am trying to reduce the amount of stuff (or as my hubby says crap) in our bathroom. Just placed an order with Amazon for both brushes, comb, Amika and bobby pins. One of those shipments you can’t wait to get : O

Zen says · 07.23.15

I definitely agree about the wide tooth comb! 🙂 I love it especially when I have long hair that can get incredibly tangled in the shower. I will def check out the rest of the items esp the hair elastics! I feel like I am always going to CVS for new ones~ >.<

Thank you for this post 🙂 I look forward to reading more! Your blog is beautiful!

Erin @ Her Heartland Soul says · 07.23.15

I swear by cloth hairties! They’re so much nicer on my hair!

Bee says · 07.23.15

I just cut my hair short – wow, does it take a lot more work! I hope some of your future hair tutorials involve guest models with super short hair. How to build some volume, dealing with the freaky sticky-out bits, etc.

Elle says · 07.23.15

This is so awesome! After all, hair is your specialty!

Holly Housewife says · 07.23.15

I use the majority of these on the daily!
Thank you thank you for introducing me to the duck bill!

The only thing I would add is a wetbrush, I COULD NOT live without my wet brush it really did change my life 🙂

Nora says · 07.23.15

Does anyone else use cut up old pantyhose/tights?? I just cut my hair but when it was super long and thick that is all I used. I find they are gentler on hair than clear elastics or those knotted elastic ties; they never tangle or break hair. (Clear elastics always break my hair.)

Lisa says · 07.23.15

I ordered a pack of the blax the last time I saw them in one of your posts and love them! I’ve tried several clear ones and these are my fave! I love how they hold my hair in place during workouts and long afternoons at the pool with my kids without being too tight and they’ve never pulled a hair or two out like some others I’ve tried. I ordered another pack just this week so I can have them in all the spots I look when I need a quick pony. Thanks for always having such helpful posts!

Kaitlyn says · 07.24.15

I could get all these tools…now if only I could do something with my hair. I liked reading this, even as a hair amateur and dreaming of what I could create using these tools.

– Kaitlyn |

Vicky T. says · 07.24.15

Great tips! Thank you for sharing

– Vicky

Susan says · 07.24.15

Kate, have you done hair plopping? I’m an ex-hairdresser, but had not heard of it until today. A little searching seems to indicate it’s been around at least a few years. I’m going to try it since my naturally wavy, color treated hair has been frizzing something awful with this humidity. I’d love your input on the subject.

Michelle says · 07.24.15

I really like the clear elastics but MAN they are a pain to try to get out! I’ve had to cut some out, especially when I use them in a bun.

Evelina says · 07.25.15

I see those soft elactics everywhere these days but I have never known how well they stay or how to style them.

Leah says · 08.04.15

I just received the bobby pins you recommended, oh maaa Gaaad– where have they been all my life. My hair stayed put all day… this has never happened before having super thick hair. I never knew there were strong bobby pins, i’m used to using a about 50 to keep half my hair up! Here’s to finally keeping my hair in place. Thanks for the tips. XOXOX

Windi says · 11.12.15

Thank you so much! I just bought the bobby pins, duckbill clips, comb and Denman brush on Amazon. I’m new to hair styling (other than blow drying and flat ironing my wavy/curly medium thickness, long and layered hair), and your tutorials and tips are surely going to help me become an expert at styling my hair all different ways! I’m hoping to do my own updo for a wedding taking place in just over two weeks! 🙂