Do they make, like, high-throughput hair accessories?
September 21, 2017 10:36 AM   Subscribe

I'm a big fan of the "one big barrette at the back of your head" thing. I have startlingly thick, coarse, medium-curly hair, and the few times I've tried to put it in a barrette, some part of the metal back bends and it stops working, or else my hair snags in the metal back and I have to break some strands of it to get the barrette out. ELI5 how to wear these as someone with high-volume hair, or what similar style to wear instead?

My female relatives all have completely straight hair, and anyway my hair was short when I was of an appropriate age to be learning this stuff from family or friends. So for real, no suggestion is too obvious.
posted by nebulawindphone to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (32 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
yeah this just isn't a thing :( I too like those hairstyles, but have way too much hair for it to be possible (and I have tried every giant barrette there is). If you want to approximate the hairstyle in the picture you linked, that's just a good ol' half-ponytail, so you can use a rubber band. You can also take two chunks of your hair from the sides and bobby pin them in back, near where the barrette would be if your hair could handle barrettes.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 10:39 AM on September 21, 2017

I had long and similar hair when I was an appropriate age to be learning this stuff (although now it's short) and the only thing that ever worked for me was the soft-band and stick style of barrette.
posted by AmandaA at 10:40 AM on September 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

Second recommendation today for Ficcare. If you can, push through the sticker shock. They last forever. I've used the same one daily for at least seven years. Available at Nordstrom.
posted by CheeseLouise at 10:41 AM on September 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

I have very thick, very coarse, very willful hair - it's not curly but it won't cooperate. When I had long hair and wore women's hairstyles, I had some "high volume" barrettes like these from France Luxe - I needed two to hold my hair. No other barrettes have ever worked for me - I tried a bunch of cheaper brands and eventually just got four of the volume ones (so I had two sets) and wore them every day for the years that I had long hair. Nordstrom carries them if you want to take a look, but after I'd bought the first two I bought the other two online.

Basically, I used to put it up in a sort of late nineties twist and use two of the big ones instead of one to hold it up.
posted by Frowner at 10:45 AM on September 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I just pull back my hair however I want (usually using a tiny little elastic) and then have the clip go through only SOME of the hair that is being pulled back. Bonus is that the clip is being held very securely and can't slip out or pop open from forcing it to hold too much hair, etc. since the tiny elastic is actually doing the heavy lifting, so to speak.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 10:53 AM on September 21, 2017 [5 favorites]

yeah, you want one of those leather things with a stick. get extra sticks.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:56 AM on September 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Those Ficcare clips look amazing, but that's more than I can spend on something that I can't be sure will work. Does anyone know of a similar knockoff elsewhere? (Or is Nordstroms the sort of place that would let me put one in my own hair to try it? I assume for that price they're not just lying around for anyone to try without asking...)
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:57 AM on September 21, 2017

Alexandre de Paris is another brand whose barrettes will do this. They have a limited selection at Nordstrom, but I like Shopbop's better.

I know. The sticker prices are horrifying. But when I was pregnant and my already thick, super-coarse East Asian hair stopped falling out for 40 weeks and I had SO MUCH HAIR YOU CAN'T UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH HAIR I HAD, I wore the Alexandre de Paris barrette that my mother wore when I was kid, and I wore it in exactly the style you want.

It's definitely a buy it once, buy it for life.
posted by joyceanmachine at 10:57 AM on September 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nthing the leather (or whatever) oval with holes in it that uses a stick as a clasp. The more hair you have, the bigger the oval (wider the separation between holes) that you need. The tension from the hair helps keep them secure, unlike any clasp-style where the hair is putting strain on the connection.
posted by janell at 10:59 AM on September 21, 2017

Rubber band and then fake snap barrettes over it like it's holding all the hair
posted by tilde at 11:16 AM on September 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Not sure if this will work for you, but I find it much easier to put the clip in when my hair is still wet.
posted by JanetLand at 11:24 AM on September 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nordstrom has a great return policy. You should buy one and try it out.
posted by sulaine at 11:28 AM on September 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Nordstrom will accept returns on the Ficcare clips (the reviews indicate several returns, but I know from experience they accept returns on everything--including adhesive bras and opened tights. One hopes they toss them into the bin and write off the loss!).
posted by crush at 11:29 AM on September 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Having seen two recommendations for Ficcare today, which I never heard of before and which seem astronomically expensive - are they really better than these? I have a very inexpensive version from maybe Target, that's lasted for years. Admittedly I have fine slippery hair. Maybe Ficcare is stronger and worth the extra money.
posted by Crystal Fox at 11:32 AM on September 21, 2017

Lilla rose flexi clips might be what you're looking for.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 11:32 AM on September 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nthing Ficcare clips. They are really well made and super secure without being tight, even if you have slippery hair. I don't know if Nordstrom will let you try one on, but they'll definitely take it back if you buy & it doesn't work for you. If you buy online from Nordstrom, they include a return label too, make returns super easy.

I've purchased one similar-to-Ficcare-but-cheap style clip and it definitely wasn't the same and didn't work as well, but the one Crystal Fox links above looks better than the cheapie I have.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:39 AM on September 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have very thick curly hair and use a clip at the back of my head like the ones in your picture. But in order to do this I have to brush my hair with a wet hair brush before I put it up (I don't wash it every day). Then it dries in place.

I have spent a lot of time looking for clips online. I find that the stated size is not always correct and that, even when clips appear to be the same size in all dimensions, some will work and others won't. I am currently down to one clip which has been successful for a few years, but the back recently fell off exposing its rusty innards. Still works, but I may have to do something about it before going to any work meetings.

The leather thing and stick doesn't work for me - partly too much volume and partly I can't get the stick through my hair.

A search term which has sometimes been successful for me is "extra large hair clip" - or barrette in the US I guess? A friend from Brazil also gave me some plastic figure-of-eight hairclips with quite a lot of give in them which were apparently very popular there at the time (this was about 15 years ago) and they worked, but I've not found them online or in shops.

I also sometimes make my own using blank hair clips like these. At 96mm they are on the cusp of being too small, however.

But my best advice is to brush your hair with water.
posted by paduasoy at 11:45 AM on September 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Are you trying to pull all your hair back, or just half of it? With all your hair, you need a pony shaped barrette. For half your hair, you only need to pull back a very small amount of hair on each side, and the barrette should also clip into the rest of your hair. You should definitely be buying the largest clips, anyhow.
posted by jeather at 11:48 AM on September 21, 2017

I was just coming to recommend Lilla Rose clips. They aren't too expensive and they do. Not. Move. I have fine, slidey hair and these work great. And they don't snag and are easy to take in and out.
posted by Aquifer at 11:48 AM on September 21, 2017

Assuming you've only been using drugstore barrettes so far, you could try this Madewell ponytail clip. It's definitely higher quality and stronger than the usual drugstore offerings, and crucially has an actual large opening to fit a bunch of hair into. If you click on the side picture you can kind of tell that when it's all the way closed it looks like a train tunnel: the top does not touch the bottom. This means the hair doesn't have to get all smushed down for the clip to close. I use it for a full ponytail but if your hair is that thick maybe you need it for the half-ponytail.

If what you're going for is just the top-half-up-bottom-half-down look, rather than crucially featuring a barrette as decoration, you can also accomplish that look using bobby pins, something like this. I used to think bobby pins were incapable of holding hair in place at all, until I discovered EVO Shebangabang Dry Spray Wax. Spritz a bit of this into your dry hair before pinning and the pins will work much better. Put the wavy side of the pin down against your head, not the flat side.
posted by somedaycatlady at 11:51 AM on September 21, 2017

The Brazilian hair clips looked like the burgundy clip on the right of this picture. They don't look like they'd take much hair but the back stick part bends a lot. There are also some plastic teeth if I recall correctly. Now I am starting to think I have either spent too much time or not enough thinking about hair accessories.

Oh - and my sister, who also has curly hair though not like mine, would undoubtedly say "product", mousse or serum or whatever.
posted by paduasoy at 12:23 PM on September 21, 2017

I have this Ficcare knockoff clip; no idea how it compares to the real Ficcare, but it was worth the $7.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:32 PM on September 21, 2017

FWIW, I have a Ficcare (it was a hand-me-down), and hairs sometimes get caught and snag in the spring mechanism. Also, I don't think it's possible to use it the same way as the barrettes in your link - there always has to be some twist element to the hairstyle for the Ficcare to hold. It does accommodate a lot of hair though!
posted by stowaway at 12:47 PM on September 21, 2017

In the style that you're looking at, there's only very thin little bits of hair pulled back, probably right at her temples *but not all the hair between temple and back of head*.

That's a great look, but I also have very thick wavy hair and (when I have long hair) doing that leaves me with a LOT of hair hanging down and it doesn't look quite as tidy or willowy as it does on thinner-haired people. Also, I just wanted my damn hair out the way and was marginally less concerned with the aesthetics of the clip.

My preference was the Scunci wingless octopus or regular octopus. The medium ones will work to pull a decent (but not all!) amount back from my face and secure nicely at the back of my head. The big ones will pull back a half-ponytail. The medium ones are strong enough that I could pull all my hair back in a bun and use the clip to "bite in" at the 12:00 point in the bun and it would hold it in place, or I would do a messy chignon and use the medium clip to hold it down.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:00 PM on September 21, 2017

If clips are OK, then this one is supposed to be really quite good for thick hair.
posted by vers at 3:27 PM on September 21, 2017

I bought my Ficcare clip in-store at Nordstrom and can confirm that they do, actually, just leave them lying out for people to try on. I agree though that you need to give the hair a good twist if you want to do a half-up/half-down style; I use mine for updos.

I was also going to say, like Lyn Never, that one way to do a half-up style is to only pull back like 1/8th of the hair around your temples, whatever amount will fit in the clip. That will give you the aesthetic but it may not be as functional.
posted by serelliya at 4:28 PM on September 21, 2017

Before I shaved half my head I used spiral pins to great success. Two of them in a twist would keep it up through even swimming.
posted by geek anachronism at 5:20 PM on September 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

If it makes you feel any better about hesitating before forking out the money for a Ficcare, my finding has been that they are NOT actually what I want for my big, willful, wavy hair.
posted by redfoxtail at 6:25 PM on September 21, 2017

My hair is wavy and fairly voluminous, and I really like this style of hair clip... actually, thanks for asking this question, because I finally took a moment to figure out what they are called and now can buy more for myself! I am seeing them labeled as both "duck bill clips" and "alligator clips." I find these work well for either half-up situations like the photo you linked, or whole-head updos as in the Ficcare images. You can get them in different sizes/lengths as well. I have 3 of this type, purchased for between $2 and $15 or so, and they have all lasted for years with no sign of giving out. I would heartily recommend a cheap duck bill/alligator clip trial run.

In general, I find that hair clips that have single spring in them work better for my hair than the flat snapping band style in your photo. So the duck bill clip works, I also like the octopus style clips linked above, and there are other variations; the specific shape doesn't matter so much as the spring action. It's definitely a bit of a different look, but those flat ones just don't seem to even snap closed with the right amount of my hair in them, never mind staying that way.
posted by snorkmaiden at 7:27 PM on September 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

My daughter has so much thick, luscious hair. So much that none of the barrettes that other girls were wearing would work for her hair, same problem you were having.

So I'd pull her hair back and use a ponytail holder to do the heavy lifting, so to speak. Then I'd clip the barrette through her hair just above the ponytail holder, only catching about 1/4 inch deep hair as wide as I needed. By clipping the barrette really close to the ponytail holder it would cover the elastic completely and totally look like she was wearing her hair just like everyone else. I'd also use bobby pins to keep things in place if I needed them or if the barrette was one of those heavy ones with stones and metal.

And to keep the ponytail holder from making your hair stick out like, you know, a pony tail, you want to make it looser and have the sides flat against your head instead of the opening like if you were wearing a real ponytail. I hope I've explained that well enough, typing it is hard, I wish I could just bring you over and show you how easy it is.
posted by TooFewShoes at 7:33 PM on September 21, 2017

Not only can you try the Ficcare, they'll give you a new one if yours breaks. I brought my Ficcare in to Nordstrom to get a replacement after the laminate started peeling off and the sales lady just handed me a new one. I was expecting to have to pay and had brought in the old one just to compare but she just wrappped it up and handed it over. I had had it for years!

I will say that I always adjust the curve of the Ficcare clip otherwise the ends where you pinch it to open it poke into my scalp.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 11:16 PM on September 21, 2017

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