I was super lucky to travel the world at a young age, but back then, it didn't feel like it. As a surly 13 year old, my parents dragging me to visit decaying ruins at 9 a.m. wasn't my idea of a good time (and I let everyone in the vicinity know. Sorry, assorted tour guides). The silver lining was picking up cool trinkets from local street markets, and in Paris, that entered a whole other level — and brought me to a hair invention that I rely on to this day.
When we walked through Le Bon Marché — one of the world's first department stores — with its incredible glass roof and grand, sparkling interior, 99 percent of what we looked at was wildly unaffordable (we were there for the… history). But when my eyes landed on a gold Ficcare hair clip with a streak of gleaming metal running along its brushed gold edge, I begged my mom to get it as an heirloom. Thankfully she buckled, because over a decade later, I'm still in love with this $58 clip.
For reference, as a teen I had hair that was a spitting image of Roseanne Roseannadanna. It was huge and frizzy, and since virtually no one knew how to cut curls in the early aughts, I was left walking around with a Christmas tree of bulky hair clearing a 20-inch radius. It wasn't fun, but the gold clip was miraculously able to twist it up and secure it where hundreds of hair ties had given their lives before.
So when I misplaced my magic clip earlier this year, I was distraught for a good 72 hours. I kept thinking it'd show up in my teeny apartment, but finally resigned myself to searching the internet for a replacement that didn't cost as much as the original. Googling "claw clip" and "French gold barrette" and "help me" didn't do the trick, because most turned out to be the wrong type or disappointingly unable to contain my mass of curls — until I discovered that the search term I was actually looking for was called a "duckbill clip" or an "alligator clip."
With that, the horizon opened and I was back in business. I hit buy on a six-pack of metal duckbill clips from Amazon, each one averaging about $1.66, from the brand Glamfields. My gold clip finally turned up — its wonders never cease — but the Amazon clips are now my daily workhorses, the ones I keep in every single bag, room, and on my desk so I can get my quarantine-Hulked hair up and away from my face whenever I need to.
Shop now: $7 (Originally $11); amazon.com
The majority of duckbill clips are made for salon use, with a straight backing that isn't comfy to wear for hours. The trick is to find one with a long, slightly curved frame, so it rests against your head without digging into it. Twirl your hair up, slide the clip in, and it stays put for hours without fuss.
Shop now: $16; amazon.com
If you have long hair, you need these in your life. If you want to get cute with it, there are some very aesthetic options on Amazon under the $20 mark, but since I live alone and can't see the back of my head, a $1.66 clip is fine for me. Especially now that they're almost 40 percent off, at $1.17 apiece, it'll be no travesty if you lose one.
Shop now: $10; amazon.com
Shop now: $58; nordstrom.com
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