Claw clips are the most popular type of hair clips on earth because of their ease of use, fashion appeal, and versatility with styling and comfortable holding. Out of the roughly 50,000 people searching Google for “hair clips” each month, 33,000 look specifically for claw clips, and this "holds" true on social media too.
That’s what this guide is all about. Below you’ll find what makes a hair clip a claw clip, the materials to look for when buying them, fun facts, and history mixed in. You’ll even find a general size guide to help you pick the perfect one based on the type of hair you have and how you’ll be using or wearing them. So lets get started.
But first, here’s a fun fact. Unlike some hair accessories like the hair pin which date back to ancient times, the claw hair clip was invented and patented in 1989 by Christian Potut, then took off in popularity during the 1990s. Although it may not be ancient, this hair accessory is eternal.
What Is a Claw Clip?
A claw hair clip (also known as a jaw clip) is any hair clip that uses teeth to grip your hair, wings that separate the teeth apart, and springs to pull the teeth together so they can hold your hair in place. Claw clips get their name because the two sections of teeth look like claws.
Unlike a barrette or snap clip, claw clips can slide in and out of your hair more easily because of the way they open and close. While banana clips give a fabulous waterfall and flowing effect and resemble a claw clip, they can get stuck and don’t work as an accent to your outfit since they blend in below your hairstyle.
The reduced friction of claw clips is better for your hair as there’s less tugging, snagging, and ripping which reduces your chances of breaking and damaging your hair. And there’s a variety of styles, sizes, materials, and shapes making them universal for all hair types and styles.
Traditionally claw clips were made from metal and plastic, but they needed to evolve as metal can be uncomfortable to wear and plastic snaps easily, especially for people with thick, curly, long, or wavy hair. That’s why brands like TELETIES innovate and create new materials such as our custom nylon which is nearly unbreakable and super comfy to wear. You could even find claw clips made from cellulose acetate which was first discovered in 1865, although this is very similar to plastic.
The Sizes of Claw Clips
There’s no shortage of sizes to choose from. And many sizes have unique names, but most important each works for different hair lengths and types. And some serve different purposes.
- Tiny or mini claw clips are often known as butterfly clips because they resemble little butterflies. Some brands even style the wings and body to look like actual butterflies. Butterfly claw clips look great as adornments on French, classic, or bubble braids, and work perfect for kids' hairstyles. Butterfly clips are normally under 1 inch in length.
- Small claw clips can range anywhere from 1 to 2 ½ inches. They’re perfect for thin to medium thick hair, short and medium lengths, as well as some wavy hair. You can use them for most fine hair hairstyles, some half-up half-down hairstyles if your hair is medium length or thin, and for sectioning your hair while you style it.
- Medium sizes range from 2 to 3 ½ inches and are perfect for ponytails, fine or thin hair buns, and half-up half-down ponytail hairstyles for thick and wavy hair as they can hold more volume than the small styles.
- Large claw clips range from 3 to 5 inches and are perfect for thick, wavy, and curly hair. The depth between the teeth and wings provides ample room to hold your locks, and you can wear them with hair clip french twists, hair clip ponytails, and even a hair bun.
- Jumbo claw clips are any style 5 inches and larger. They’re designed for long, thick, curly, and other types of hair that need space. They can hold large volumes of hair in place, and grip in tight. They’re perfect for pulling your hair back and work perfect for a French twist because they hold the most hair.
Now that you know which size to buy based on how you’ll be using them, here’s the types so you can pick the right one to meet your hair needs.
Types of Claw Clips
Claw clips don’t only come in multiple sizes, they come in multiple shapes too. And each type of claw hair clip serves a different purpose, aside from holding your hair in place.
- Classic claw hair clips are used for styling, holding your hair back, and as decor. They can be worn as an accent or below a ponytail to add volume and depth.
- Open claw clips are equal to the classic style, but have a hole in the wings to let the natural beauty from your hair shine through like a window. This makes them perfect for French Twists and when you want a pop of color to match your style, but also show off your natural hair.
- Flat claw clips are the most comfortable and universal because they match the curvature of your skull. This means they’re able to hold tight and not have “ouch” moments as you lay your head back watching TV, taking a yoga class, or sitting to rest your head against a chair during a meeting at school or work.
- Butterfly styles are used as decorations on braids, adornments for hairstyle, and to hold kids, fine, and thin hair in place.
And now you know the history of the claw clip, which sizes and styles to buy based on your hair type and length, and some fun facts you can use as trivia. If you found this guide interesting, subscribe to our blog below for more content just like it.