How to Use Metal Hair-Curling Clips

Achieve long-lasting loose curls or tight ringlets using metal clips.
... Ralf Nau/Digital Vision/Getty Images

When it came to curling hair, the salons of the 1950s and 1960s held all of the secrets. Hairstylists knew that curls would last longer if they were set with metal clips. While this method has become less popular in the era of high-powered curling irons and multitasking straighteners, it is no less effective. Naturally straight and resistant hair in particular will find curls lasting into the next day -- and not just for the usual ten minutes -- when clipped. Add metal clips to your dressing table and allow your hard-earned ringlets to thrive.

Brush through dry hair with a paddle brush to remove any tangles or knots. Start brushing from the bottom and work your way up to the root if you are prone to breakage.

Pour a small amount of setting lotion into the palm of your hand, and rub your hands together to emulsify the lotion. Smooth the lotion through your hair from mid length to the ends. A quarter-sized amount is suitable for shoulder-length hair. The lotion will help to give the curls shape and hold while controlling frizz.

Plug in a curling iron, and allow it to heat up to the medium setting. Choose a 1-inch curling iron for tight curls; choose a 2-inch iron for loose waves and volume.

Pick up a section of hair from the crown that matches the width of the curling iron, and pull the hair taut from the bottom. Open the clamp of the iron, and grasp the section at the root, with the barrel on the underside of your hair.

Slowly pull the iron through to the end of the section to smooth out your hair. When you reach the end, rotate the iron away from your face until the hair is rolled down to the root.

Hold your hair in the iron for 10 seconds. Place your other hand in the air 1/2 an inch below where your hair is in the iron. Press down on the iron's handle to open the clamp, and pull the iron horizontally out of your hair. Allow the curl to fall into your open other hand.

Open a metal clip and insert it from the front, where the curling iron previously sat, securing the curl to your head.

Repeat the curling and clipping process, working your way from your crown towards the nape of your neck until all your hair has been curled and clipped.

Hold a can of hairspray 10 inches away from your head, and coat the curls once. This will help them to fully set while in the clips. Choose a light hairspray for a natural look, or a freeze-hold formula if you're attending a special event and require all-day wear.

Remove the clips once your hair has completely cooled down. Run your fingers through the curls to loosen them as desired.

  • Unplug the curling iron as soon as you have finished using it.

Celeigh O'Neil has been writing professionally since 2008. She has a Bachelor of fine arts from the University of Ottawa, as well as degrees in fashion illustration/design, digital arts and certification in hair and makeup artistry. O'Neil was a frequent contributor to Toronto's "Dialog" newspaper and has worked as an instructional writer, creating lessons in fashion, art and English for students of all ages.