One of the many reasons curly hair is so beautiful is that it can create a halo-like effect of springy, bouncy curls around your head. But sometimes, this is easier said than done. If your hair is fine or low in density it can dry like a wet blanket, close to our head without the lift and volume we see with other curls. Luckily, curlies have a hack for this. It's called clipping at the roots. We asked curly hair stylist Brianne Prince of Brianne Prince Salon to share her tutorial and tips for this technique.

If you've tried clipping at the roots before and failed (it can be tricky at first) you might find her description of 'O' Clipping helpful, it definitely makes the concept clearer and easier to understand.

What is O Clipping?

"O clipping is a method of using clips at the root of your curls to gain height and volume. It adds lift and volume to heavier textures and can boost fine, limp curls. It can also help round out the shape depending how many rows you place. The 'O' refers to your arm creating an O around your head when placing the clips in your hair, it just makes it easier to visualize."

"I have so many clients that come in and tell me that they have tried clipping in the past and just couldn't get the hang of it. Usually the reasons why are that they are using the wrong type of clip for their hair or that they are attempting to clip at an awkward angle, (either from underneath the curl or because they are crossing their arm in front of their face). I get many complaints that the little hairs around the crown get caught around the top of the clip and cause snagging on removal.

All of these issues can be virtually eliminated by clipping the way I show in this tutorial."

What kind of clips do you need?

"The choice is yours! I have single prong metal clips, I have double prong metal clips by Deva Curl, I have single prong vinyl clips, double prong vinyl clips, duckbill clips. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of them. One of the advantages to vinyl clips is that they have a smooth surface and your hair isn't going to get tangled around the top of these as much as with a metal clip. I love Vinyl Single Prong clips by Marianna, but outside of Amazon they can be tricky to find. With the DevaCurl clips I do like these because they have a really strong grip so these are great for people who have a lot of hair or very thick hair that needs to be held up, or if your hair is long."

Why do you lean over?

"Something that we used to talk about in beauty school was wrapping rollers "off base" to create more volume in the hair. Well, here we are using the same idea, allowing the hair to fall off base with your head tilted to gain maximum volume while leaving the clips' heads exposed to hasten and simplify removal. One thing I did not mention in the video is how to approach the back, and that is very simple. Just look way up at the ceiling (I almost arch my back) and grab a section, aiming the clip down towards the floor. I never attempt too many at the back of the head because we do not have eyes back there! This portion of your head will have to be done by feeling and you don't want to be fishing clips out back there that got put in sideways or upside down. Less is more until you get the hang of it."

How to clip curly hair at the roots

  1. Apply your favorite styling product to either wet hair, or for dry or 2nd day hair use a mixture of water and conditioner in a spray bottle.
  2. Lean out to one side, this makes your hair is hang off of your scalp, which is very important 
  3. Grab a small section of hair (less than an inch)
  4. Create an O around your head with your arm, and insert the clip with the "mouth" of the clip facing away from your roots
  5. Continue this around the crown of your head, you will have to switch arms once you get to the other side of your head
  6. Once you've completed your crown, you can create a second row. The more rows you create the more volume you will get and your hair will create a more rounded shape.
  7. Leave the clips in for 10-20 minutes, or until the products have the chance to firm up. Then you can carefully remove the clips altogether, or replace clips in a different spot after some time has elapsed to avoid getting clip marks. 

Watch Brianne demonstrate O Clipping

If your hair is too heavy, too long or too thick to stay in these clips you can opt for larger clips, which you can see below:

You can find Brianne's blog posts on the topic of O Clipping here and here. Brianne's salon, Brianne Prince Salon, salon is located at 209 S. West St. in Mason, Ohio. You can also follow her on Instagram @brianneprincesalon.

You can find 8 more tips on how to get more volume at the roots here.

This article was originally published in 2016 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.