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Hair Accessory Clips, Jaws And Claws

Hair accessories come in every imaginable size, shape, color, style and from a wide range of base materials including metal, cellulose, plastic, foam and a combination of sources.

(Image from Ficcare Collection - Courtesy of - All Rights Reserved).

There are many different categories of hair accessories from headbands to pony wraps, elastics and rings to clips, to name just a few of the many categories.

While all hair accessory categories have their unique features, one thing is common with all hair accessories whether headbands, pony wraps or clips.

Hair accessories can either be worn:

1. As a functional hair tool to hold back hair, secure a pony, updo or twist or to segregate sections of hair from the entire body of hair.

2. As pure decoration. Purely decorative hair accessories are used to glam up any type of hairstyle and can worn as just a tiny decoration along the hairline or an ornate and major decorative accessory such as a Swarovski encrusted Tiara, comb or headband.

3. As a combination of #1 and #2. Some hair accessories are very functional and can be decorative as well.

Hair Accessory Category - Hair Clips

Although the category of hair clips is a large classification, some hair accessory designers believe the origins of this category stems back to the metal salon clips which were used long ago during the days of wet roller sets.

(Image from Ficcare Collection - Courtesy of - All Rights Reserved).

Small "salon" clips were used to hold the hair roller securely against the head without causing creases in the hair. The metal salon clips worked so much better than mere bobby pins which might crease the hair and cause the pins to pop right out.

In the early days the salon clip was usually a silver colored metal clip that opened at one end from a visible metal hinge and had absolutely no decorative qualities.

Eventually salon clips became known as hair clips. The original square shaped salon clips changed shape and there were the original clips that had a square shaped body and then the duck bill clips which were longer and more narrow then the squared off clips.

From Salon Use To Fashion Accessory Status

Once the original metal clips and duck bill clips transitioned from use only in the salon to full hair accessory status the clips evolved. While the basic structure remained intact which consisted of a clip with a coiled or other hinge that allowed the clip to open and close, the external look of the clips changed.

(Image from Ficcare Collection - Courtesy of - All Rights Reserved).

As of 2009 the original metal salon and duckbill clips, are still used in cosmetology schools (I still use Paul Mitchell branded duckbills) and salons to section and secure hair. However, the original designs have evolved to become their own generations of jaws and claws with a wide range of names.

Different hair accessory manufacturers assign their own unique name to a generic claw or a jaw.

Hair Accessories For Hair Type, Texture, Length, Condition

As the original hair clips proliferated into a huge number of options, some hair consumers became confused by the offerings. Many questions evolved from the ongoing explosion of hair clips.

Some questions include:

1. What is the difference between a jaw and a claw?

2. What is the function of each type of clip?

3. Who should wear which type of clip?

4. How does hair type, texture and condition play into the equation?

Differences In Shape Between A Jaw And A Claw?

Although it is hard to say absolutely what the differences are between a jaw and a claw, the way I look at it is that a jaw clip usually resembles an open jaw of an animal and the claw clip resembles the claws.

Jaw clips, as I see them, are usually rounded or have a squared off shape while claws tend to be closer aligned with the original duckbill clips. Claws, as I describe them, are usually elongated while jaws are rounder.

(Image of Ficcare Maximas Clip - AB Diamond Antique Silver Large - - All Rights Reserved

The Function Of Each Clip Style?

The function of the clips goes back to whether a hair consumers wants purely a functional hair accessory, a decorative one or a combination.

Who Should Wear What Type Of Clip - Hair Type, Texture, Condition

Also, since jaws and claws are made in all sizes and shapes from very tiny to very large, the clip's ultimate approriateness should be matched to the hair type (thin/fine, medium or thick) and texture (straight, curly, kinky wavy or a combo) as well as length (super short, short, medium, long and ultra long).

(Image of France Luxe - Swirl Jaw w/Swarovski Crystals - Black - Image courtesy of - All Rights Reserved)

Anyone one, male or female, of any age can wear just about any type of hair clip based on their hair needs. Yes, even men wear hair clips whether it is obvious or not.

Hair Friendly Clips For Long Or Fragile Hair Textures

Certain types of hair is not well suited for certain types of clips. Also, longer hair needs "hair friendly" clips which usually mean clips that are exceptionally smooth without teeth or with teeth that are smooth and rounded. Long hair may or may not be able to handle clips with visible hinges or pins which may snag or rip precious strands.

Naturally curly hair or kinky hair might or might not be able to handle all types of clips due to potential tangling problems. All clips would need to be evaluated before selection.

(Image of Camila Slant Claw - Tort With Beige Crackle - All Rights Reserved - Image courtesy of

In Closing

Although I have attempted to provide a general overview of hair clips, obviously there is a lot more which can be covered and which I will do in future hair accessory related blogs.

Please provide your thoughts and feedback on the topic of hair clips. Do you wear them? How would you define a jaw versus a claw? Do you have a favorite hair clip you can't live without?

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