Hair clips for big hair: 2021 edition
April 22, 2021 8:25 AM   Subscribe

I have very thick, very fine, curly hair. I've never been able to find hair clips that work for me, and I'm sick of using elastics that break and get tangled. Anybody here with truly giant hair who's found a solution? I can't overstate how thick my hair is. Not even the biggest claw clip will contain all of it.

I have four main issues with hair clips:

1) My hair won't fit into them. I just want to clip back the front, either in one clip or two. Usually not even two clips will hold everything.

2) They slide out of my hair.

3) They have hinges that tangle in and damage my hair.

4) Many of them look kind of frumpy to my eye.

I recently bought some Invisibobble waver + clips, which are supposed to work for thick hair. They're too small and my hair slides out at the ends.

I've heard of Ficcare, but I don't like the way they look. There's also the hinge issue with them.

I'm aware that it's possible nothing will work for me!
posted by Stoof to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried multiple Goody spin pins?
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:44 AM on April 22 [4 favorites]

I’m not clear on how you want to do your hair but have you tried spin pins? They are like a double helix looking spiral column shape that you screw into your hair to secure. They really work for me.

You could look into hair bands or buffs, the kind that are a big loop you put around your neck and push back up into your head. When I use these I usually need to secure it with a couple regular bobby pins but they are good for just getting things away from my face for a while. You can also pull some hair out in front and use the band to anchor strands of hair in chunks if that’s a look you like, or get into scarf wraps for lots of pretty color.

If you have some time and the wherewithal to commit to a Look, you could get into hair taping. I’ve tried this a few times because I’m the kind of person who has big lengths of ribbon lying around. It’s fun and makes me feel like I should be on a bottle of olive oil. No elastics, no hinges, very secure.

Have you tried braiding or twisting the front sections of your hair before trying to put it back? That should help keep things contained and provide tension to help hold part of the weight against itself instead of on whatever you are using to secure it. It will feel slow at first but after a while you will fly through a little braid in no time.
posted by Mizu at 8:54 AM on April 22 [2 favorites]

I have long, heavy wavy to curly hair that I can also blow dry pretty straight. There is a lot of it and it is very thick. My default solution are claw clips. They come in a range of sizes. The tiny ones are too small for me so I normally use small to medium sized ones. I find the slightly longer, more tube shaped ones are most secure for me. The barrel shaped ones seem to be roomy enough to move a bit more and sometimes slide down my hair, especially if I have blow dried it straight. But that is after a few hrs and I just take it out and reposition and it's fine.
posted by koahiatamadl at 8:55 AM on April 22

I've found that hair pins work well for my fairly thick hair. I use this designer's work pretty exclusively but you can find lots of variations on Etsy. Actually I'm liking the look of those Ficcare Chignon pins.
posted by rdnnyc at 8:57 AM on April 22

The Ficare Ficcarissimo is the only hair clip that works for my very thick, wavy hair. They’re around $40, which seems insane, but so so worth it. They have it at Nordstrom with a great return policy if you want to try it out!
posted by girlalex at 9:02 AM on April 22

Whoops, saw you are aware of them and don’t like them. I still stand by them!
posted by girlalex at 9:05 AM on April 22

I really like these "Le Peigne Bresilienne" hair combs, which come in different elastic lengths for different amounts of hair. They might be a bit frumpy for your taste, maybe?

You can buy very similar things on Wish, and I also have one from a major haircare brand that my mom bought me, but I find the ones from this specific source (though I get them from an individual who imports them and sells them in person in Canada) are better because the combs themselves are slightly pliable.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:29 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]

This is not answering your clip question, for which I sadly have no answers. But if you need to resort to hair elastics again, you might try buying fold over elastic from fabric stores and tying the ends off in a single knot. They’re sturdier and thicker than regular hair elastics, which break in my medium-thick hair, and they don’t tangle as much.

Edit to add the most important part I forgot to mention - you can make the hair elastics from fold over elastic as big as you want.
posted by umwhat at 9:44 AM on April 22

Few ideas:

I also have big curly hair and haven't broken this one yet, but you may need more than one: Kitsch Hair Clips

Instead of elastics, which typically stretch out or break, maybe try an adjustable hair tie, I use this one but there are others: BunzeeBands Adjustable Length Hairband

Have you tried spraying hairspray on the teeth of clips that will hold your hair, but slide out? I've not tried that but I feel like I heard that advice somewhere.
posted by sm1tten at 10:02 AM on April 22

What kind of "up" do you want to put your hair into? If you just want to get it all up onto your head, you may be better doing a twist or bun that's secured along the "seam" with multiple clips or combs (which are old-fashioned-y but I really liked when my hair was long, for sheer comfort).

My workout twist was held down with several medium scunci no-slip claw-clips and as long as I got the claws well-bit into both the hair twist and the under-hair it wouldn't even bounce.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:06 AM on April 22

If it's just the front, I use one of three techniques:
1) Pull the front back with a claw clips, but make sure they're clipped not just through the hair I want pulled back, but also to the rest of the hair underneath. Eventually it slides out but takes longer. The octopus style claws stay in much better for me.

2) Tied with a small scrunchie. I have abandoned hair elastics for scrunchies now that they seem to be "back," they don't get tangled and don't damage my hair, but can be tied tightly enough to hang in

3) Bobby pins, but crossed over each other. I use at least three in a * shape and cross them so that the ridges on the bottom part interlock, with the ridges toward my scalp. This is the best, most long-last solution but I can never find bobby pins so I don't do it that often.
posted by assenav at 10:44 AM on April 22

I use hair sticks, for which there are about a hundred youtube how-to styling vids, but this one is my basic everyday. Super comfortable & secure, and I gotta lotta hair.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 11:09 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]

Lilla Rose. They are amazing and STAY. (And come in HUGE sizes, even.)
posted by stormyteal at 12:15 PM on April 22

Disclaimer: I have a ton of hair, but it's not curly.

Do you include the Invisibobble coiled ring itself in the category of elastics that don't work for you? I've switched over to them entirely. For me they hold much better than elastics or scrunchies and don't cause breakage, although they are starting to stretch out after about a year of use. (fwiw I also tried a drugstore generic version that broke after a few days.)

The aforementioned spin pins also work for me when my hair is long enough.
posted by esker at 12:15 PM on April 22

there's exactly one hair clip that works for my super thick hair, and i'm pretty sure it's these but i'd have to see them in person to be sure. They don't look like they'd hold much more hair than any other clip, but the triangle shape of them means that they can open wider and hold more hair and still manage to claw in without being able to close all the way. They're literally the only clips that work.

Goody "ouchless" makes a pack of elastics for thick hair that are kind of hard to find, but are big - like you can comfortably wear them on your wrist because they're bigger than your wrist, and are the only elastics as far as I'm concerned. I think that these are the ones, though their packaging seems to constantly change.

Sorry I'm not helpful with links, I don't REALLY know where to reliably buy these because I am not able to reliably find either. I pop into every drug store and look in the makeup aisle of every grocery store, and just hope to run into either my triangle clips or the thick hair elastics occasionally.

Spin pins ARE good. there's a pack that comes with two long ones, or a pack that comes with three short ones - the long ones are better and you might need two packs.
posted by euphoria066 at 12:18 PM on April 22

I have very thick, curly coarse hair. I recommend spin pins and hair sticks; I have had ficcare recommended to me many times but it's expensive so I haven't taken the plunge yet.
posted by jeather at 1:01 PM on April 22

I have fairly thick hair, but probably not as thick as yours. I have a ficcare, but I also really like the Goody ouchless barrette. They come in two sizes: small and large.

I can pull back more than half my hair in a small clip, so two of them might work for your hair. Or you could try a large!

They're really flexible plastic with a grippy inner liner that has never pulled my hair out. I'm not sure if they're the style you're looking for, but they're really comfy to wear and one of my favorite hair clips.
posted by clerestory at 3:44 PM on April 22

I should say, this is only assuming a half-up/pulled back hairstyle. Neither of the ouchless clips would probably hold all of your hair.
posted by clerestory at 3:46 PM on April 22

Hello fellow thick hair person! I know your struggle. I have what I usually refer to as “assloads of hair.” It’s also fine (though not curly). I have to book extra time for my hair appointments because there’s so much of it and it takes so long to blow dry.

During covid the situation has gotten even worse because now it’s also super long. It feels uncomfortably heavy, especially when wet and/or using elastics that aren’t strong enough to keep it up well/prevent it from sagging under its own weight. I was breaking elastics constantly, so I ended up buying these bands on Amazon. They’re not cheap but so far they haven’t broken. My head is much more comfortable using these. I’d recommend giving them a shot.

I also like spin pins — I actually use them in combination with bobby pins. My hair laughs at the bobby pins they sell at the drugstore, so I buy these from Sally Beauty. They work great.
posted by imalaowai at 8:56 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]

Back in the day I had waist length hair and hadn't discovered the undercut, and LOVED spin pins. I have enough hair with two thirds of my head shaved to do pigtails so there is a lot of it and it's wildly variant in curl level. I once swam with my hair in a spin pin bun and it barely moved.

I still regularly break elastics and so does my kid - scrunchies are good, soft foldover elastic style bands are good, but if I'm pinning it back I use enough Bobby pins to set off a metal detector (literally) and they occasionally spring out of my hair (once into the aisle next to me). Now my hair is longer again I'm trying to find spin pins and I think pinned back in a small bun or twist might work?
posted by geek anachronism at 5:31 PM on April 23

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