Banana Clip vs Claw Clip: Hairstylists Explain the Buzzy Hair Accessories

Banana Clip vs Claw Clip: Hairstylists Explain the Buzzy Hair Accessories

woman wearing blue floral claw clip

@emijayinc / @djerfavenue / Instagram

If there’s one thing we know to be true, it’s that there’s an art to styling an updo. Two popular hair accessories that make it easier to achieve an upswept style are the banana and claw clips. While they may look similar at first glance, their respective shapes allow them to serve a distinct purpose in our styling routine.

We spoke to two celebrity hairstylists to uncover the nuances between these clips so you can choose the one that works best with your desired look. Ahead, find all of their hair-clipping advice.

Meet the Expert

  • Valery Joseph is a celebrity hairstylist and the owner of Valery Joseph Salons. 
  • Jennifer Korab is a celebrity hairstylist and the owner of Renaissance Salon & Spa in Hillsborough, New Jersey. 

What Is a Banana Clip?

A banana clip is a hair accessory that lives up to its name. The design features a long, curved clip with teeth and is typically hinged at one end, resembling the shape of a banana. Celebrity hairstylist Jennifer Korab explains it is used to hold and style hair with its comb-like prongs, often creating ponytails or lower-sitting updos by securing the hair in a curved, elongated position. This hair accessory was particularly popular in the 1980s and 1990s.

What Is a Claw Clip?

Claw clips were a staple hair accessory during the ’90s and early 2000s. Typically made of plastic or metal, this tool consists of two curved, toothed jaws that grip hair firmly. “A claw clip is one of the most popular hair accessories, featuring two sides of prongs that can be opened and closed with a spring,” celebrity hairstylist Valery Joseph explains. “This [design] allows you to create various hairstyles, such as ponytails, updos, or half-up looks,” Korab adds.

Claw and Banana Hair Clips


Banana Clip vs. Claw Clip: Similarities and Differences

It can be easy to confuse banana and claw clips, as both accessories secure the hair and provide a way to create and maintain hairstyles. Plus, they are typically made of similar materials, such as plastic or metal.

However, there are notable differences in their design and usage. A banana clip is long and curved with a hinge at one end, which is ideal for creating elongated ponytails or updos by distributing hair evenly through the clip. On the other hand, a claw clip features two curved, toothed jaws that open and close using a spring mechanism. It is versatile for securing hair in quick updos or half-up styles.

Joseph adds that banana clips are usually much slimmer and flatter than claw clips. "Both can easily and stylishly secure hair, but banana clips tend to work better with longer and thicker hair due to their larger 'wingspan' compared to claw clips," she says.

How to Wear and Style a Banana Clip

"Wearing and styling a banana clip will add a retro flair to your hairstyle while securely holding your hair in place," Korab says. She recommends starting by opening the clip and separating the two hinged sides to style with a banana clip. Gather your hair into a ponytail and place the clip underneath it, ensuring the teeth of the clip are on either side. Close the clip securely, ensuring your hair is evenly positioned.

Joseph prefers the cascading ponytail method. "Open the banana clip and position it at the nape of your neck," she says. "Gather your hair upwards and close the clip, securing all the hair within it. This [approach] creates a beautiful, cascading effect."

How to Wear and Style a Claw Clip

According to Korab, claw clips are an easy way to create various hairstyles ranging from casual to chic. She personally loves using the accessory to do French twists, messy buns, half-up styles, or low chignons. To start your style, Korab says to open the claw clip by pressing the ends together to separate the claw, then gather the desired amount of hair, position it in your chosen spot, and close the jaws of the claw clip around your hair. Claw clips are great for styling a French twist, messy bun, half-up styles, or a low chignon.

Joseph prefers to stick to quick and casual styling with claw clips. "Gather your hair as if you are making a ponytail," she explains. "While one hand holds the base of the ponytail, use two fingers on the other hand to twist the hair upwards until all of it is gathered in a simplified French twist. Secure with the claw clip and pull some tendrils for a chic, effortless look."

The Final Takeaway

While similar in function, banana and claw clips are quite different. In design, the banana clip is known for its elongated, curved shape with comb detailing, while the claw clip features a spring mechanism and toothed jaws for secure styling. With styling, banana clips are most frequently used to create cascading ponytails, while claw clips are often used for buns, ponytails, and half-up looks. Regardless, there's no "wrong" choice. It's all about deciding which suits your hair type and desired look best.


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