What are Some Different Types of Hair Clips?

G. Melanson

Unlike bobby pins, barrettes, and baubles, hair clips are able to secure a higher volume of hair, and come in a wide variety of shapes and styles. From sparkles and pastels, to more subtle styles, these clips can be worn as a fashion statement, or blend in with the hair and be used strictly to maintain a certain hairstyle.

Jaw hair clips secure a bundle of hair thanks to plastic teeth that clamp.
Jaw hair clips secure a bundle of hair thanks to plastic teeth that clamp.

Perhaps the most famous of hair clips is the banana clip or alligator clip. Popularized in the 80s, banana clips are thin plastic clips about the length of the hand, which feature tiny teeth to lock the hair in place at the back. Banana clips create a ponytail effect, securing the hair from the nape of the neck to the top, and make the hair appear longer than it actually is.

One type of clip that was made popular in the 80s and then made a comeback in the mid-90s is the “clutch” or butterfly clip. These plastic hair clips come in a variety of colors, and have large “teeth” to secure the hair at the back once it is twisted, creating an up-do effect. Hairdressers typically use plainer versions of these clips to keep sections of hair out of the way while cutting; however a more stylized version, sometimes with a butterfly or bow decoration, has gone on to become a hair accessory. Tiny butterfly clips were also popular in the 90s to pull back small sections of the front of the hair and secure at the crown, creating a corn row look.

One of the most standard types of hair clips that has endured the test of time is the “spring latch” clip, a metal/plastic combination that secures the hair by squeezing two pieces of metal on the clip into a hinged latch. Hair accessory companies such as Goody have sold this style of clip for several years. In the 80s, the spring latch clip often featured fabric bows attached, and in the 90s, large rectangular or oval pieces of plastic were often attached to create a fashion statement.

Another hair accessory that is often grouped among hair clips is an Asian-style accessory that consists of a piece of fabric or metal with a hole, from which a thin piece of metal, plastic or wood can be stuck through to fasten the hair into a bun. Although this accessory secures the hair, it is not technically a clip, as it features two separate mechanisms in order to “latch” together.

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ilovejapan5- Another type of popular clip that was not mentioned in the article is feather clips. Feathers of all shapes and sizes are simply fastened onto the clip using glue.

Feathers are also commonly fastened onto head bands as well. Feather clips tend to be cheaper than feather head bands.


A very popular type of hair clip that was not mentioned in the article are flower hair clips. These hair clips come in a variety of colors and sizes and are mainly worn to make a fashion statement. These clips are particularly popular with teenage girls.

Flower hair clips are available at most drug stores and range in price from about $4 to $20.

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