June 3, 2023

woman with curly hair smiling

Many of us seek voluminous hair that doesn’t flop, but achieving this is a dilemma that doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. Your hair’s natural volume is primarily out of your control as genetics (and other factors) play a huge role in determining your density.1

Fortunately, a hopeful solution, root clipping, was just one scroll away on my TikTok For You page. The good news? It doesn’t require buying a supplement or overhauling your current routine. Root clipping is a technique that dramatically transforms limp strands into lifted, bouncy hair. The method creates volume at the crown, so it lasts throughout the day with ease and only requires a few strategically placed clips. Ahead, four professional stylists share their tips on the volume-enhancing trick and their product recommendations to help you master it.


What Is Root Clipping?

The root clipping technique uses single or double prong clips to add more volume to your roots, and it can even help define the shape of curls. According to experts, root clipping should be done on wet or damp hair before drying and after applying your styling products. The clips are pinned at your crown (or wherever volume is desired) and remain until the hair is dried. You can use a couple of different options, like tiny metal or plastic jaw-like clips.

“The tiny metal ones are better for fine hair because they have a gentler grip and can be placed without disturbing fine strands,” Jennie Roberts, UK hairstylist and textured hair educator for Curlsmith, explains. “The plastic ones are better for dense hair because they’re stronger, come in multiple sizes, and are easier to navigate through texture.” The results produce volume at the roots while keeping the natural hair pattern intact, and because this technique doesn’t usually utilize hot tools, there’s a lesser chance of heat damage.


Benefits of Root Clipping for Hair

Root clipping is an excellent method for achieving volume that won’t deflate. “When hair dries with the clips in, it causes it to stay put,” says Cédric, celebrity stylist and owner of Cédric Salon in New York City. “It also holds longer than other volumizing techniques because when you put the clips into wet hair, the strands are flexible, and the cuticles are open.” Cédric explains that as the hair dries, the cuticle closes, and the hair flexibility reduces, causing strands to stay in shape until it gets wet again.

Hair Type Considerations

Root clipping can be done on all hair types, but Cédric finds it especially helpful on curly and wavy textures. “It also helps curls not look weighed down or stacked on top of each other,” he explains.

People with thin, straight hair should be aware of demarcation lines with root clipping. “With curly or wavy hair, if demarcation happens, the roots are generally hidden and blended by curls,” Erinn Courtney, a Los Angeles-based hairstylist, says. For straighter textures, lines may be more prominent. In this case, Courtney says there’s nothing wrong with lifting your strands with a blowout or curling tool.

How to Use the Root Clipping Technique

To prep for root clipping, start with freshly washed or wet hair and add a styling foam or mousse, which helps add volume at the roots, control frizz, and define curls. “Stay away from creams and oils because they can make the hair heavy and may give the opposite effect of volume,” explains Courtney.

To begin clipping, lean to one side so the hair is almost at a 90-degree angle and part a section. Grab a small section of the hair and clip, so the root stands straight up. Repeat this as desired throughout the head. Remember, more rows and clips will create more volume. You can air dry or diffuse your hair on low heat. However, the most important thing is to make sure your hair is completely dry before removing clips. “If you’re using metal clips, remove them delicately because they can get caught in the roots and snag the hair if they’re taken out improperly,” says Courtney.


Final Takeaway

Root clipping is beneficial because it’s a simple technique that causes little damage (when done correctly). If you have thicker hair that naturally stands away from your scalp, Roberts explains that root clipping may not be extremely transformative. “It won’t necessarily improve your volume and instead could deconstruct your natural texture,” explains Roberts.

That said, root clipping shouldn’t be done daily. “You’re applying products and pressure to the roots and the scalp, which can be damaging,” Millie Morales, Garnier celebrity hairstylist, says. “It’s important to use pre-treatments for the scalp on days you aren’t clipping,” she explains. To find out if root clipping is suitable for your hair, consider chatting with your hairstylist or a trichologist, both of who can give advice tailored to your hair and scalp. Still, if you’re feeling experimental, pick up some clips (and maybe scroll through a few TikToks) and practice during your next wash day.