Duckbill clips are clips which are used to hold hair while it is styled, cut, or dyed. These clips do look vaguely like the beaks of ducks. There are a number of uses for duckbill clips, making them very handy things to keep around the house and bathroom, especially if you have long hair or you like to experiment with various hair styles. Many shops carry duckbill clips along with other hair supplies, and they are generally fairly inexpensive.
Duckbill clips consist of two parts which are mounted to a hinge on one side, opening like a beak. Typically one part of the clip has a small flange on the non-clipping side, to make it easy to open the clip and set it in the hair. Some duckbill clips are curved, which can be useful when working close to the head, and others are straight. There are advantages and disadvantages to both varieties; for example, curved duckbill clips are comfortable against the skull, but they cannot be used as effectively to set curls.
One of the classic uses of duckbill clips is in setting curls, which can be done with or without rollers. When rollers are used, the clip is utilized to ensure the roller to the head, ensuring that the hair does not uncurl while the curl sets. People can also hand curl hair around their fingers and then clip it with a duckbill clip to hold it while the curl sets, creating a curl which tends to be softer and more natural looking.
You can also use duckbill clips to section and hold hair. For example, the clips could hold back a layer of hair which needs to be cut at a different length, or they could be used to section out strips of hair for highlighting. Duckbill clips can also simply hold hair out of the way while stylists work on one section of the head; they are often used this way on people with full, thick heads of hair which get in the way during cutting and styling.
Depending on the design, duckbill clips may have small teeth to help grip the hair, or they may be smooth. Toothed clips are more secure, but they can also be uncomfortable, especially if they are pulled out roughly. You may also see duckbill clips attached to hair ornaments, in which case the clip itself is buried deep in the hairstyle so that it cannot be seen, while the ornament dangles outside.