There are so many types of hair clips and, yet, they don’t seem to be enough. Ever. How many times have you found yourself wandering around the house looking for a certain hair clip? Especially when you’re styling your hair, you always seem to need another hair clip, maybe a larger one, maybe a stronger one.
The colorful world of hair clips is marked by a clear distinction. It’s like there are two social classes – the humble hair clips only good enough for styling purposes and the fancy ones that belong in the fashion items category, those that get to see the outside world.
Different Types of Hair Clips
In this article, we’ll be looking at the various types of hair clips and their uses. Some of them you probably have already, but you might discover new ones that you’ll find useful. Or simply cute!
Claw Hair Clips
One of the most versatile types of hair clips, the claw clip can be used for holding your hair back when you do your makeup, but they’re also stylish enough to be worn outside.
Made of two toothed plastic parts, the claw clip comes in handy when you haven’t been to the stylist in a while and you just need something to pull the hair back.
If you have thin hair, you can use small claw clips to secure a ponytail. Claw clips are suitable when you’re going for a laid-back look when going out to meet your friends. They’re also great to pull back your hair on a hot summer day!
Snap Hair Clips
Snap clips owe their popularity to the fact that they use a very simple snapping mechanism and they’re very colorful. Most of them are rather small so they’re not what you should be looking for when you have thick hair, but they do an excellent job of holding in place loose strands.
They’re a great choice when you want to put some color in a rather plain hairdo. Literally. You can match the color of your snap clips to that of your T-shirt or dress and you’ll get a polished image without trying very hard.
Banana Hair Clips
This type of clip gets its name from its distinctive banana shape when it’s closed. Most banana clips are made of plastic and they come in many colors. The two parts have strong plastic teeth so they’re excellent to keep in place thick unruly hair.
They’re used to pull back your hair to the back of your head. If you have thick hair you can tuck a banana clip underneath, so it will barely show, which makes this simple accessory ideal for elaborate hairdos.
While plastic ones are perfect for everyday use, banana clips with fancy and shiny decorations can be totally used for more formal occasions, like a night out or a wedding.
Double Prong Curl
Simple and strong, double-prong hair clips are mostly used for styling purposes. The two metal prongs can be relied upon to section various strands of hair, like when you’re curling your hair.
Use a double prong clip to secure each freshly styled curled and leave them in place while you dress and do your make-up. Once you’re ready to go, take the metal prongs out and your curls will fall nicely into place.
Double prong curls are also the go-to hair clips when you’re doing a pin curl perm and you need something to secure the rollers in your hair.
Alligator Hair Clips
Quite similar to the double prong curl, alligator clips are used for hairstyling in a professional or home setting. They’re long enough to keep in place large sections of hair when you’re busy curling or braiding your hair.
Since they’re made of metal, they can safely be used with a blow-dryer. Since they serve a functional purpose, they can be as plain as can be. However, for a fun experience, you can also choose colorful alligator clips, so your boyfriend will find you cute even when you’re getting your hair done.
Duckbill Hair Clips
This is a type of functional hair clip that you can probably find in every hair salon in the world. Duckbill clips aren’t meant to look stylish, which is why they’re made of plain metal, without any adornment.
They’re used to separate strands of hair and keep them apart while cutting the hair or when applying highlights. If you love spending time in front of your bathroom mirror, make sure you have some duckbill clips in your vanity drawers as they come in quite handy when you’re styling your hair.
Jaw Hair Clips
Jaw hair clips are very similar to claw clips and it’s sometimes hard to distinguish between the two types. They’re made of two plastic parts joined by a spring mechanism.
Large jaw clips are best for women with long thick hair, while a smaller model might be just what you need to pull back rather thin hair. Colorful jaw hair clips can be used to style up your hair on the go.
They’re very comfortable to wear and you can have them in place the whole day if you want, but make sure you don’t place them too tight.
Octopus Hair Clips
Octopus hair clips are stylish cousins to the jaw clip. They’re smaller and don’t have as many plastic teeth. Obviously, they’re not suitable to pull back a lot of hair and that’s quite all right.
You don’t wear this type of hair clip to actually pull back all your hair, octopus hair clips are meant for those times when you’re going for a fashionable messy look.
Basically, you want to have your hair wild, but also pretend that you tried to style it up a bit. Use grab a few strands, secure them with an octopus clip and leave the rest of your hair flowing naturally.
No Bend Hair Clips
Small and easy to use, no bend hair clips are preferred by many women as they slip easily through your hair, without pulling at it. They’re great as they don’t cause any annoying creases, even if you wear them the whole day.
No bend hair clips are used in professional salons, but it’s something every woman needs to have at home as they have many practical uses.
For instance, you can use them to pull back your hair just a little bit while you do your makeup and they won’t damage your hairstyle in any way. Or, if you have some colorful no bend hair clips, you can wear them outside as well. They go great with bangs.
Rubberized Hair Clips
Rubberized hair clips are perfect for all those women worried that prolonged use of clips will end up ruining their hair. Contrary to what you might think, they’re not actually made of rubber. They’re just your basic metal clip, but the comb teeth are coated in thin and soft plastic material.
The main advantage is that rubberized clips are easier on the hair and you won’t get that unpleasant feeling that they’re pulling at the roots of your hair. Also, the rubberized coating holds the hair better so there’s no danger the clips might slip out.
Embellished Hair Clips
When is a hair clip not a hair clip? When it’s embellished to the point that it’s transformed into a hair accessory. The hair clip can be decorated with fabric ribbons, rhinestones, or feathers and the metallic or plastic parts holding the hair together cannot be seen.
Embellished hair clips are perfect for women with wavy unruly hair that needs a bit of styling, but they’re fancy enough to be worn with a classy gown. If you’re using this type of clip, be sure to use something in a color that contrasts with your hair color to make it stand out.
On the other hand, since such a clip counts as a fashion accessory, you‘ll need to select the rest of your jewelry carefully, to avoid clashing styles.
Mini Shaped Hair Clips
Mini-shaped clips are meant for those with fine hair, especially children. They’re colorful and have cute designs so they’re very popular among young girls and teenagers with thin hair.
They can be used to keep a rebel strand of hair in place, but their real purpose is to make you look fashionable.
You can use several mini-shaped clips of the same color, but maybe in different models, or if you’re wearing a colorful dress go wild and accessorize that with a mix of clips in various colors.
Minimalist Hair Clips
Minimalist clips are quite trendy at the moment because they have a very modern look, far removed from the classical claw or snap clips. Minimalist clips appeal to the younger generation with their simple, often geometric shape.
They use a long pin to secure the hair and you’ll have to give it a few tries to decide just how much hair you need to grab so the clip will stay firmly in place. A simple round or heart-shaped clip does a good job of holding your hair back, and also doubles as a fashion accessory.
Most minimalist clips are made of metal, in a silver or golden color. Make sure to match your other jewelry accordingly.
Sectioning Hair Clips
This is another version of the popular alligator clips used for hair-styling. Sectioning clips are long and narrow, which makes them suitable for separating the hair in several strands while curling or straightening it.
This sort of clip is also useful when you want to braid your hair. If you have thick hair use as many sectioning clips as you need to divide it into strands. Make sure they feel symmetrical before starting to braiding them, otherwise you’ll have to start all over again.
Wave Hair Clips
This is another type of professional hair clip every woman should have at hand. These small and smooth hair clips serve a dual purpose.
They can be used to pull back your hair when you want to apply your makeup, but you can also use them when styling your hair. Since they’re small you can use them to give your hair a retro finger waves look.
Just put in as many wave hair clips as you need, depending on how long your hair is, and just leave them in place till your hair is completely dry. For better results, use styling gel or hair spray and a blow dryer.
Comb Hair Clips
Comb clips differ from other types of hair clips because they lie flat against your head, rather than stand out. They have a flat plastic top with a small comb underneath and they’re very useful to tame thick hair.
The teeth of the comb don’t allow the clip to slip, while the spring mechanism is strong enough to keep it firmly in place. Comb clips come in a multitude of colors so you can always select one that goes with the rest of your outfit.
This is probably the oldest type of hair clips and the most basic. A bobby pin is nothing but a bent piece of metal whose whole purpose is to tame unruly hair. It’s extremely easy to use and it’s suitable for both thin or thick hair.
As it’s so simple, nowadays the bobby pin clip is mostly reserved for styling purposes, but you can also use some to pull back your hair while getting a facial or doing your makeup.
The traditional bobby pin is black, but you can also find such clips in various bright colors and, yes, you can totally use those to wear outside, when you go jogging, for instance, and you don’t want your hair plastered all over your face.
If there’s one thing that can be said about French barrettes is that this sort of clip won’t cause you any problems. The two metal parts lock with a snapping mechanism and the clip is practically guaranteed to stay in place.
For long thick hair, you’ll need long barrettes, but you can also use them if your hair is rather fine. Just look for a smaller clip, that’s all. You can use two French barrettes to pull your hair back from your ears, but you can also go for just one large such clip at the back of your head.
Pearl Hair Clips
As the name indicates, the type of clip doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the clip is decorated with large or small pearly beads. Any type of hair clip, or almost any type, is suitable for this kind of decoration.
Even a humble bobby pin decorated with little pearls will look great. You can also have snap clips or even large banana clips covered in pearls.
Such a hair accessory goes best with elegant outfits, like a long evening gown. For a smashing impression, wear a matching pearl necklace or pearl earrings.
Hair Ribbon Clips
This is a snap clip after undergoing a complete makeover. Simple snap clips are a bit too plain, but when you add a small fabric ribbon it becomes a fashion accessory. Such items are perfect when you need something to style your hair a bit, but you also want to look chic.
Hair ribbon clips are suitable for all ages and all types of hair. Just buy as many ribbon clips as you want, to make sure you can always find in your drawer something that matches your outfit.
Hair ribbon clips are great for casual occasions, but you can also wear one in a more formal setting if the ribbon is in a solid color that matches your blouse or shirt.
Bumpit Hair Clips
This is a dream come true for women unhappy with their fine hair. Bumpit hair clips add volume while staying hidden under your real hair. The comb with thin teeth allows you to slip it easily into place at the roots of your hair to give it extra volume. The trick is to look for a shade that best matches your hair color.
Also, be sure to choose the right size. If you have thin hair, go for the smallest size, otherwise, the bumpit hair clip might show under your natural hair. If you have thick hair and want to try an extravagant hairdo you’ll be safe even with large bumpit clips.
Themed Hair Clips
This is the perfect gift for a girl with a passion! Themed hair clips are basically snap clips decorated with cartoon characters, butterflies, glitzy princess accessories, and many more cute little things.
You can buy Christmas-themed hair clips with cute little reindeers or naughty elves. Themed hair clips are most popular among young girls who go wild for Smurfs or Trolls-themed clips, but you can wear such clips at any age.
For a beach holiday, try hair clips decorated with small shells, anchors, or dolphins and you’ll look amazing even if you don’t have much time to style your hair.
Metallic Hair Clips
Many women prefer metallic hair clips because they are more resistant, especially when used for styling purposes. Metallic double prong or duckbill clips can be safely used with a blow drier and they also do a better job at sectioning the hair.
On the other hand, an elegant metallic French barrette is just classy enough to wear with a formal outfit. For minimalist clips, metal is also the material of choice. The only problem is that you will have to make sure the rest of your jewelry is in the same metallic color.
Plastic Hair Clips
The main attraction with plastic hair clips is they’re so affordable you can have boxes full of them. You can have various claw or banana clips in various colors, or you can go for many small octopus clips or mini-shaped clips.
The smallest types of plastic hair clips can be used to add a finishing touch to your braids or you can simply use them to decorate a full set of thick hair.
Designer Hair Clips
Designer hair clips are in a class of their own. They’re still clips and you can use them to tame unruly hair, but they’re actually jewelry.
Designer clips are usually decorated with gems or rhinestones, as they’re meant to be shiny and flashy. Some designer hair clips are decorated with the company name, but most are more subtle than that.
You don’t have to know a certain clip is made by Gucci or Chanel, the elegant design and the precious materials are enough to let anyone know you’re wearing a designer hair clip. Such types of fashion accessories are perfect for an evening gala or dinner at a fancy restaurant.
Beaded Hair Clips
They’re colorful, they’re quite feminine and just perfect to accessorize a light summer dress. Beads can turn a simple hair clip into a fashion accessory and if you’re looking for something like this you’ll have a hard time choosing just one.
Any type of clip can be decorated with colorful beads, but if you don’t want it to stand out too much look for something small, like a snap clip or even a bobby pin. For a casual look, you can choose whatever bright color you prefer, but for a more classy look, it’s best to stick with pastel colors.
Circle Hair Slide Clips
Circle slide clips are the best choice when you want to put your hair half up. This type of clip belongs in the minimalist clips category, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be simple. You can totally have a simple metallic circle clip, but it can also be decorated with tiny pearls or crystals.
They’re easy to put in your hair, but make sure they’re not too big if you have fine hair, as it might slip off and ruin the effect. If you find securing the pin a bit tricky, you can look for a circle hair clip with a snapping mechanism.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a hair clip called?
Hair clips take their name from what they look like or from the securing mechanism they use. For instance, a French barrette is called this way because it looks like a strap, or what the French call barrette.
Snap clips do just that, they snap when you fix them in place. Perhaps the most obvious examples are the jaw or claw hair clips. When you press on the spring mechanism to open them up the two combs look like a gaping jaw or a claw.
Bobby pins got their unusual name from the fact that they became quite popular after the first World War when they were used by ladies sporting a fashionable bob cut
Are clips bad for your hair?
Clips are not dangerous for your hair if you use them carefully. For instance, make sure they’re not too tight or they might pull and break the hair shaft.
For this reason it is highly recommended to remove all your hair clips before going to bed. If you have fine hair, look for rubberized clips which won’t crease your hair. At the same time, you should make sure that the metallic clips in your hair don’t overheat when using a blow dryer.
To prevent that, always rotate the drier around your head and don’t leave it in the same spot for too long.
What are the different types of clips?
There are two basic types of hair clips. There are the clips used mainly for styling purposes and there are also the fashionable hair clips, which serve to keep the hair in place but also to make you look cute.
Hair clips used for styling are simple and functional, but fashionable ones come in a wide range of colors. They can also be decorated with pearls, beads, or fabric ribbons.
Are hair clips back in style?
Hair clips never went out of style and they probably won’t ever go out of style. Women spend an incredible amount of time styling their hair and hair clips are quite useful for that.
You can safely say that they’ll always need hair clips. It is true that some types of hair clips have lost some of their popularity, like the bobby pin that was all the rage 100 years ago.
Nowadays, few women would go out with bobby pins in her hair, but they’re still useful for styling. At the moment, the trendiest hair clips are French barrettes, pearl-decorated clips or flower-shaped minimalist clips.
How do you keep hair clips from slipping?
There are a few tricks to help keep your hair clip from slipping. First of all, you can use the trial and error method to see just how much hair you need to grab so the clip won’t slip.
That’s not a fail-safe method, so to be extra sure you can use a bit of hair spray or dry shampoo. Apply a bit of spray on the spot the clip will go, let it dry a bit, then fix the clip in place. If you have troubles with a barrette clip, simply use a bobby pin. Place the bobby pin right under the barrette so it will stay hidden.
How do you use hair wave clips?
If you love styling your hair at home, hair wave clips are a must-have. To create the perfect waves, it is recommended that you brush your hair first to make sure it’s tangle-free.
Next, apply some hairspray in the areas where you’d love a bit of curls. Let it air for a few seconds, then slip in your hair wave clips. Leave them on until the hairspray has completely dried.
How do you use big hair clips?
For big hair clips, it’s best if you have thick hair, otherwise you risk your claw clip slipping at the most awkward of times. If you have long hair, make sure to brush it first.
For a simple hairdo, just grab all of your hair at the back of your head and start twisting it up. When the hair is raised to the top of your head, just secure the bundle with a claw or jaw clip and let the ends fall naturally. You can also use a bit of hairspray to help keep it in place.