In this post from last year, I wrote candidly about my lifelong dance partner. It’s a love-hate relationship: He’s too clingy, he’s too wild, he weighs me down, yet he also adds another dimension to my dance, he’s always in synchrony with my steps, and he’s just so gosh-darn strawberry-blonde beautiful.

Don’t expect my partner to appear on Dancing With the Stars anytime soon, though: I’m talking about my hair, of course.

Although there’s a 99% chance that by the end of a 5Rhythms or other movement class I will have unfastened whatever tool is holding my hair in place, most days I prefer to begin the practice with some kind of mane management. Letting my locks loose usually happens in the Chaos portion of class (naturally!), but until then I’d rather not to be eating my hair, which is what happens when I’m flowing to and fro…especially during the colder months when that oh-so-sticky static electricity steps in.

As if on cue—as fall is steadily creeping toward winter—I was recently contacted by Washington, DC-based Shaune Bazner Accessories, who invited me to test out and review the company’s Mei Fa® Hairstyx, essentially fancy beaded wooden chopsticks with a trademarked shape designed to hold any type of hair in place.

Mei Fa catalog
I was impressed with the vast collection of sleek, beaded accoutrements available for purchase but had my doubts about their functionality, even after watching the step-by-step online tutorial. Not on my hair, I thought. Even the biggest plastic claw clip (named “The Octopus” for crying out loud) can’t hold my lion’s mane in place during a brisk walk, let alone dancing, so I didn’t expect much from two slender pieces of wood.

Scary hair clip!

Scary hair clip!

Long hair
Challenge accepted!

When the package arrived in the mail, I was perplexed. Inside was a lovely handwritten note from Shaune Bazner herself, but the cute aqua-colored case that held the to-be-reviewed product was a bit…tiny. And so were the sticks!

Mei Fa caseMei Fa sticks and book
Now, I eat sushi on a regular basis, so I am quite familiar with chopsticks. These were nowhere near traditional chopstick length, and my first reaction was that the company had sent me the wrong size (a “shorties” style is available for shorter hair lengths). But after double-checking online, I had been proven wrong: The sticks I had received were 4 3/8 inches long, the size that claims to work on medium, thick, layered, curly, frizzy, and shoulder-length or longer hair.

Now I really had my doubts. I mean, most barrettes don’t even clasp shut over my hair, and even reinforced elastic bands eventually start to slide when I spin, resulting in droopy ponytails or braids.

…OK, so by now you know where this going, right?

Yeah, the sticks worked.

Mei fa is the Chinese phrase for “beautiful hair” or “beautiful method,” but it might as well stand for “magic wand.” (Come to think of it, they almost do remind me of something Harry, Hermione, and friends would find in Ollivanders Wand Shop!)

Mei Fa back

This isn’t to say the experience was trouble free. Using the sticks took practice, even after watching the online video and reviewing the written instructions that came with the product. The illustrations were on the small side, and I had to squint at them repeatedly before figuring out the exact placement. For example, when trying to style a knot/bun, it took me a while to figure out that the sticks are to be inserted in only a small section at the top of the bun, when I kept wanting to plunge the stick through the entire, thick upper half.

Mei fa instructions
Also, both the video and written instructions emphasize that the sticks are to slide through the bun, not under it. Yet, it took me forever to grasp this concept, I think just because it makes sense to want to go under the hair—to cradle it—rather than cut straight through center. Listen to the instructions, people: Go through for the ‘do. Otherwise the sticks get too close to the neck, and they’ll be poking your nape every time you turn your head.

Granted, I am not the most dexterous woman. While I can make a pigtail braid perfectly on my left side, I have thumb-less spaghetti hands when braiding on my right side. That said, it’s no surprise I occasionally struggle getting one of the sticks in. There was a learning curve for me, and now that I’ve had time to practice, I think the best technique is just to not think so much. Like the woman in this video: Just stick it, don’t scrutinize! (She has super-long hair, too!)

The real test came when I started dancing with the sticks. They were pleasantly secure while wearing them around the office and taking brisk walks (an occasional loosening here and there, but only because I hadn’t inserted them properly), but again, I doubted their functionality on the dance floor.

Again, I was proven wrong. As long as I had inserted them correctly, the sticks stayed put, even after throwing in a few test pirouettes and chainé turns. If I began to feel the sticks become loose, all I had to do was push them in slightly, and then they were back in place. This usually occurred after a long sequence of spins and head-whipping, or if I moved down to the floor and had my hair pressed against the ground. (In fact, that’s the one time the sticks become slightly uncomfortable, during supine positions. I could feel the wood against my head, and usually after that, the sticks would begin to slip out.)

As expected, the sticks began to fall out during the more wild dance moves of Chaos. But that’s usually the point I allow my hair to get funky and loose anyway, so I don’t see it as a huge drawback. I would just want to be prepared and take the sticks out ahead of time, because otherwise it becomes a bit of a hazard, sticks flying out on a dance floor.

After many initial doubts and a few days of experimentation, I have to say I am a fan of the Mei Fa Hairstyx. Even my dental hygienist was amazed! (“You mean to tell me those two little sticks were holding up all that hair?!”) I used them in both dry (light) and wet (way heavier) hair, and they worked the same in both conditions.

During the day, I almost always wear my hair up, and so I like the versatility of the sticks—you can make more than just buns! And there are so many styles available, beads of all shapes, sizes, and color. I’m generally not a fancy up-do kind of gal, so having these for a wedding or holiday party would look so much better than a giant black octopus claw that I have to replace every 10 minutes.

Mei fa profile
And of course, they make dancing much less stressful. Even if I have to readjust the sticks here and there, it’s relatively easy, and—perhaps the most important part—I’m not damaging my hair in the process. I lose so much hair when constantly taking out and re-looping a rubber band—not just breaking strands, but yanking them out. I haven’t experienced any tearing yet with the Hairstyx, and another bonus: No headband-induced headaches!

Shaune Bazner Accessories has offered to provide a set of Mei Fa Hairstyx to one lucky reader. I chose the “Enhance” style; comment below which style you would choose…and what song you’d dance to while wearing them!

Commenting will close on Friday, December 7 at 12 p.m. (EST). U.S. addresses only, please! Winner will be selected at random.

Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this review, other than the product itself to test. The opinions expressed are mine alone and were not influenced by any other persons or company.