’90s Claw Clips Are Back With a Vengeance, and the Health of Our Hair Is Better for It

Photo: Stocksy/Erin Drago
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While taking the subway into Manhattan, I glanced up from my phone to see roughly ten women on the train with me. Half had their hair down, and half had some variation of a chignon, a French roll, or a high bun affixed with a claw clip—not a rubber band in sight. Chalk it up to a big old dose of ‘90s nostalgia or the copycat culture of today’s off-duty celeb darlings, like Hailey Bieber and Bella Hadid, but the claw clip is back with a vengeance.

“Claw clips are making a comeback because they're both functional and stylish. I always have a clip within reach— be it for a style moment or to easily pull my hair back for a workout or a focused work day,” says Dianna Cohen, founder and CEO of Crown Affair. “They're an elegant solution to hold a range of hair types and lengths, and quality clips will hold and stay in place all day.”

While these clips give us a way to style our hair differently, we also see an influx of them because they cause less damage on hair. “Many claw clips are designed with edges that glide through the hair without snagging or pulling. This smoothness minimizes friction and reduces the likelihood of causing damage to the hair cuticle [(the outer layer of hair)], especially for those with finer or more delicate strands,” says Laura Dale, education manager, Kristin Ess Hair. “Curly hair is prone to breakage, and the design of claw clips allows for a secure hold without disrupting the natural curl pattern or causing excessive tension on the strands.”

Cohen adds that particularly handmade clips, as opposed to mold-injected claw clips, have round, soft edges that give hair less of an intense grip so that you’re able to keep your hair back without worrying about things being too tight. “From tiny to super big in size, claw clips can capture a lot of hair and hold it in place securely, compared to a scrunchie or a hairpin,” she says.

While we’re seeing claw clips return across the market—ranging from options by fashion houses Prada, Gucci, Balmain, and Celine—fitness brands like Alo and Lululemon are equally present on the market, indicating that they’re a solid option for getting in a sweat as well. Alo, for example, describes its 9'0s Claw Clip as “sweat-sesh ready” and “perfect for keeping all hair lengths and textures stylishly tucked back at practice or on the go.”

This juxtaposition of high-end fashion with celeb-beloved sweat brands helps to show why the claw clip has transcended fashion and fitness alike. As the popularity of claw clips has surged since the pandemic, according to Google Trends, it’s evident that luxury and wellness have collided to offer shoppers comfort alongside style—all while keeping their hair healthy in the process.

Alo Yoga, 90s Claw Clip — $28.00

Made from 100 percent acetate, this clip is created in the style of the ‘90s with an oval body and squared prongs. It comes in tortoise, black, and white acetate as the core colors and others cycle through seasonally.

Lululemon, Large Claw Hair Clips (2-Pack) — $38.00

Made for all hair types, this two pack of clips suits all. If you’re looking for a bigger or smaller clip, the brand also sells those in a variety of colors.

Prada, Metal Hair Clips — $550.00

This enameled metal clip comes in gold and pewter, emblazoned with the iconic Italian fashion house’s logo.

Gucci, Crystal-Embellished Resin Hair Clip — $600.00

Made in Italy from a glossy resin with brand-name crystals, this rounded clip is a vibe whenever you wear it.

Crown Affair, The Clips — $54.00

Cohen’s brand has nailed the feel-good, pleasurable experience of hair care—and these clips are as nice to wear as they are to look at.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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