Last Updated on January 7, 2022
Whether you’re trying to disguise bangs in need of a trim or putting in pin curls for a Betty Draper retro style, we all need a hair clip now and then. But with a trip to the store offering so many different choices, it’s hard to pick the right one.
With this breakdown of 15 different types of hair clips and pins, you’ll be able to choose the perfect one for every style.
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Types of Hair Clips
1. Bobby Pins
Bobby pins are the MacGyver of hair accessories. There’s almost nothing they can’t do. They help hold an up-do, pin back a braid, and keep long bangs out of your eyes.
Available in many colors from black, to silver, to the palest of blonde shades, you can find one to match your hair.
When you find the perfect shade for your luscious locks, buy a few packages and stash them everywhere from your makeup bag to your purse, so you’re never without one of these multi-tasking marvels.
2. Alligator Clips
If you ever blow-dry your hair, these clips will be your new best friend. They hold the hair in sections so you can concentrate on one part at a time. While any clip is technically able to perform the task, alligator clips are the best.
They’ve been given that name because of the little “teeth” that grip the hair as it holds it back. That makes them perfect to keep already dried hair from migrating into the part you are trying to blow dry.
3. Single Prong Curl Pin
Prong pins are the best for putting in curls. Often used with rollers, single prong clips are best for shorter hair. They hold the rollers securely as they dry, for a tight curl. Once brushed out, it makes a retro-glam style like Marilyn Monroe.
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4. Double Prong Curl Pin
These pins are perfect for supporting the velcro rollers that will give you the voluminous 90’s blowout of your dreams. Having two prongs instead of just one, it supports larger curls and longer hair.
So whether you want to go with a vintage roller set or get mega volume, these pins will help you get it.
5. Claw Clips
Second only to bobby pins, this is the most useful multi-tasker a girl can have. Coming in many sizes and colors, it can do nearly every style for every type of hair.
It can hold your hair back in a twist at work, a half-up style on weekends, and a messy bun when you wash your face at night. Its claws hold hair securely without creating breakage or getting tangled as elastic hair ties do.
You can’t go wrong with having one in your purse, next to your face cleanser, and even in your glove compartment.
6. Snap Clips
These are the perfect clip for growing out bangs. They snap into hair and hold it out of your face until that DIY bang trim grows out.
Holding only a small amount of hair, these clips are best suited for fine to medium locks, but stay all day once snapped in. Though the metal is classic, try one of the new resin styles for a more work-appropriate snap clip.
7. Banana Clips
Holy 80’s mallrat batman! These clips were the answer to permed hair prayers. The ’80s may be long gone, but these clips can still help keep thick curls back without sacrificing volume.
Fine to medium straight hair will slide right through the teeth, so these clips are best for thick, curly, or coarse hair.
8. French Barrettes
We all had those little pastel barrettes with lambs and ducks that we would match to our outfits. Now that we are older, there are fewer situations in which a baby pink lamb holding back your bangs is appropriate, but the need for a barrette still exists.
You can’t go wrong investing in a tortoise-shell, gold, or silver one. They are perfect for half-up styles and hold all day. Thinner than spring-loaded barrettes, these are best for fine to medium hair.
9. Spring-loaded Barrettes
These really are one size fits all, as they come in many different sizes so no matter how thick or thin your hair is, there is one for you.
Perfect for holding back curly hair where an elastic might get tangled, these barrettes take seconds to put in, and seconds to remove at the end of the day.
From short ones that keep small sections of hair back, to long ones that tame it all, you can’t go wrong with having one of these in your bag.
10. Duckbill Clips
Duckbill clips are made to help you get those gorgeous, Old Hollywood glamour waves. After curling your hair, these clips help define the waves as they cool.
Once you’re ready to go, simply slide the pins out and you’re ready for your close-up.
11. No-Crease Setting Clips
Imagine this scenario: you are going to an event, have the perfect hairstyle, and are ready to do your makeup. But those peek-a-boo waves and curtain bangs are in the way.
If you use a regular clip, it will leave a crease. That scenario is actually pretty close to how no-crease setting clips were invented.
Before their incarnation, makeup artists backstage at fashion shows would use playing cards and curl clips to keep hair off the face without creasing the model’s perfectly styled hair.
Finally, someone got wise and made clips with little silicone pieces that took the place of playing cards. Even outside of fashion week, these little clips are perfect for primping.
12. French-Twist Pins
Ooh, la la. Made to hold the French twist in place, what the pin lacks in name originality, it more than makes up for in versatility.
Beyond its namesake style, it helps hold buns and updos in place, as well as those perfectly imperfect chignons that scream French girl chic.
13. U Pins
If French twist pins and bobby pins had a baby, it would be this pin. U pins, also called u-shaped pins, are essential for an updo.
Lacking the tight grasp of a bobby pin, they help secure all those perfect little tendrils in place without causing bumps in your perfectly smooth style.
When that one little piece needs to fall just so, a u-pin hold hair gentle in place and allows you to move it a little to the left… no, maybe to the right… and back again without ruining your ‘do.
14. Spiral Pins
These pins are perfect for ladies with thick, coarse hair that want a ballerina bun or a chic chignon. Instead of using countless bobby pins, gather those thick tresses into a bun, and twist in one of these little lifesavers.
They are perfect to carry in your bag for an on-the-go style without having to cart around a whole package of pins.
15. Wave Clips
Nothing says Roaring Twenties like finger waves, and nothing makes a stronger finger wave than wave clips. From flappers dancing the Charleston to a Gatsby-themed party today, finger waves are classic.
To get gorgeous, defined waves that last longer than a night at a speakeasy, you’ll need a set or two of these metal clips. Clip them in to define the ridges between the waves as they dry, and you’ll have an elegant style in no time.
With all the different types of clips and pins on the list, you are sure to find one that works for every kind of style, no matter your hair type. Whether you pick up a few multi-taskers or style-specific clips, you’re now armed with the knowledge to hit the hair accessory aisle with confidence.