How To Style Your Hair Using a Claw Clip—So It Actually Stays In Place

The claw clip is back and better than ever.

There were a handful of very, very dark years when people seemed to forget all about the claw clip, which is a tad rude considering it saw them all the way through middle school. That's no easy feat, especially back when we had braces and loved brick brown lipstick.

Now that the claw clip is back in its proper place ruling over all those flimsy bobby pins and barrettes that barely hold back bangs, we're here to help with suggestions on how to use the versatile hair accessory, starting with the most basic and dependable way to use a claw clip to ensure your hair doesn't fall within the hour. Follow these steps before going on to master these trendier claw clip hairstyles.

CROP How To Use a Claw Clip
Getty Images/Brittany Schauer Photography

The French Twist

This is the flippy hairstyle that was most popular in the 1990s and makes a super quick and easy updo on the fly. All in all, the process should take about 30 seconds. This method works well on most textures, including curly hair that hits a bit below the shoulders.

1. Gather hair into a low ponytail and twist until half of the length of your unsecured ponytail is tightly coiled. It might take just one twist for short hair or several for long hair.

2. Raise the twisted base of your ponytail up and against the middle part of the back of your head. The twisted hair should be tight enough to not balloon out or loosen when you do so.

3. Secure the topmost part of the twisted hair against the roots with your claw clip. You might need to repeat this step with the clip until you have the desired grip against your scalp.

4. Let the loose ends (the lower half-length of your ponytail) fall over the French twist.

5. You can also customize this style by trying one of these two variations on the classic claw clip hairdo below.

The Ponytail Twist

1. Gather hair into a ponytail that hits right in the middle of the back of your head. (Instead of the usual low ponytail.) Secure with an elastic.

2. Twist the length of the ponytail about two-thirds of the way down to the ends and wrap around once fully as if forming a bun, stopping with the loose end facing up. There should still be length of your ponytail leftover.

3. Using your claw clip, clamp where the bun twist ends and your loose ponytail hair begins. If the style is a clock, the claw clip should be at 12 o'clock. This creates a higher and more secure version of the traditional low French twist using a claw clip. It especially suits thicker or longer hair.

The Half-Up Twist

1. Separate the top half or third of hair above the ears from the bottom half as if styling a half-up hairstyle. (It can be helpful to loosely secure the bottom half with an elastic or scrunchie temporarily to ensure you're only working with the top half.)

2. Twist the length of the ponytail about three-fourths of the way down to the ends and wrap around two to three times as if forming a bun, stopping with the ends facing down. Unlike the ponytail twist, it should look more like a classic bun, but there should be just a few inches of length from your ponytail leftover, hanging out towards the bottom.

3. Using your claw clip, clamp where the bun twists end and your loose ponytail hair begins. If the style is a clock, the claw clip should be at 6 o'clock. This creates a half-up style with volume and enough hold to stay. For very thick or long hair, you can use a clear elastic to secure before twisting to ensure it doesn't fall. This is an ideal hairdo for medium-sized claw clips, as well as shorter hair or curly and kinkier hair textures.

Between these three basic claw clip hairstyles, you're stocked with reasons to keep your favorite claw clip tucked away safely in your purse or on your bathroom counter in case the need for a cute and fast French twist arises. Shop our favorite claw clips below.

Go Straight to the Source for a Better Claw Clip

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The Best-Sellers

Amazon Claw Clips

This classic tortoise claw clip set is perfect for everyday use and is the ideal size for styling multiple looks, from half-up to French twist.

SHOP IT: $9.99 for set of 2:

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Good for Extra Hold

Amazon Claw Clips

We'd bet these look a whole lot like the ones you used to own back in the day. The large-sized claw clip set is made with extra spidery teeth to ensure you get the strongest grip possible.

SHOP IT: $9.99 for set of 2;

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Most Versatile

Amazon Claw Clips

These claw clips sit right in the middle in terms of size and teeth length, which makes them ideal for almost any hairstyle or length. Plus, the three-pack offers an array of modern tortoiseshell designs—so you'll always match your outfit.

SHOP IT: $8.98 for set of 3;

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do claw clips work on long thick hair?

    For people with long and thick hair, plastic claw clips might not secure the hair's weight and can break. Using metal clips is an alternative to achieve the claw clip look with a more durable material. Metal claw clips are available in stylish options and provide less breakage than hair ties.

  • Do hair clips damage hair?

    Hair clips can damage hair because the sharp edges break thin strands or scrap your scalp. Hair ties also cause damage because too tight elastic can pull out hair strands when removed. Remove clips before sleeping, and try not to pull hair too tightly when adding accessories.

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