How to Use Bobby Pins for Every Hair Type and Texture in 2021

How to Use Bobby Pins for Every Hair Type and Texture in 2021

A bobby pin might have been one of the very first hair accessories you owned (tbt to pinning your bangs back for soccer/dance/gymnastics/etc.)—but did you ever actually learn how to use it? Or did you, like me, just slide it in and hope for the best? Although bobby pins don’t exactly come with instruction manuals (how complicated could a tiny piece of wire be?), they honestly should. Because, surprise surprise, you actually shouldn’t have to redo your bobby pin hairstyles every hour because they’re slipping out. Wha?! Yep, it’s true.

So, because it’s never too late to learn, I went ahead and made you this ultimate guide for how to use bobby pins. Below, you’ll learn all the stuff that someone should’ve told you back in the day, like the difference between every type of bobby pin, which direction they should really face, and how to make bobby pins work for your hair type, length, and texture. But I’m not only giving you advice for how to use them, but also how to wear them as part of your overall ~lewk~. Keep scrolling for your long-overdue, bobby-pin crash course.

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Why do they call them bobby pins?

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~Legend has it~ that the bobby pin was named after the bob hairstyle. Apparently, cosmetics manufacturer named Luis Marcis is said to have invented them back in the flapper days. And if you’ve ever tried to fake shorter hair or a faux lob, you know just how essential a sleeve of bobby pins is to pulling it off. If you haven’t, well, we’ve got a video tutorial below on exactly how to fake a bob with bobby pins, because it’s basically required learning.

What is the difference between a hairpin and a bobby pin?

Bobby pin:

A bobby pin is stiff and hard to bend, with two arms clamped tight together to hold small sections of hair in place. If your pin has been pried open too many times and doesn’t clamp together anymore, go ahead and toss it—it’s no longer useful for your hair.

 

Hairpin:

A hairpin is bendable, flexible, and has a U-shape that makes it the perfect choice for holding a whole lotta hair, or just a few, small pieces of hair in an updo, like if you wanted to gently pin a curl to your bun hairstyle without having to smash and press a bobby pin into it.

What are curved bobby pins used for?

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Not all pins will fit the two descriptions above. Some bobby pins don’t actually have any ridges. Some are two or three times the size of a regular bobby pin (ideal for coarse or thick hair). Some pins are coated in silicone for better grip, or have rubber ends to prevent damage and tension. The fact is, a hairpin can look a lot of different ways, and the best one for you depends on your hair type, texture, and the look you’re going for.

Most of the time, you’ll find that bobby pins and hairpins are flat, but curved pins are good to have on hand if you want the pin to sit snuggly to your scalp, like if you’re working with a half-up hairstyle where pins are more visible. Most U-pins are malleable enough that you can customize them by bending them or molding them to the shape you want without ruining the integrity of the pin.

Which way should bobby pins face?

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Ah, yes. The Great Debate. On a classic bobby pin, you have one side that’s flat, and the opposite side that has wavy ridges. For the first half of my life, I wore my bobby pins ridges-side up (didn’t everyone?!), but apparently, that was completely wrong—ridges need to face your scalp for the best hold.

Watch the demo above for a visual of why this works, but here’s the gist: When the bent end is placed near the head, it’ll catch the hair and stop the pin from sliding out as long as you don’t shove too much hair inside. How do you know if you have the right amount of hair in the pin? However many strands fit inside the bobby pin without you prying it open is the right amount. Easy.

How do you make a bobby pin stay?

If you did all the things I said above, and your bobby pins still aren’t holding, I’ve got a few more pro tips that I’ve personally tried and loved:

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    1. Spray your pins for added grip. If you have fine hair or slippery strands that can’t hold anything, you’ll need to add some grip to both your hair and pins before using. Apply some texture spray, salt spray, or volume powder to your hair, then lay your bobby pins on a paper towel and apply the texturizer to your pins too, just before using them.
    2. Lock your pins in place. It honestly makes sense why a pin would fall out: You push it into an updo, aaand it slowly just slides right back out again. Why wouldn’t it? So a trick the pros use is to “lock” the pin by inserting it from the opposite angle (so instead of pushing it up into a bun, they’d stick it down through the bun), then hooking some hair, flipping the bobby pin, and re-inserting it at the correct angle. A visual is a must here, s0 just watch the video below for more details.
    3. Cross two pins. If the locking technique seems too confusing—and you’re cool with your pins showing—trying the crisscross method to reinforce them. Slide in your first pin, then slide the second one in the opposite direction so they cross in the middle and interlock like an X.

 

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What is the correct way to use bobby pins?

There is no “correct” way, per se. Wear ’em how you want! Use them to discreetly secure a messy bun, or to clip your bangs down, or to smooth stray hairs and bumps in an updo. And since it’s 2021, you can (and should) just straight-up use them as an accessory to your hairstyle. Need some inspo? I gotchu, starting with…

Bobby-pin hairstyles:

Whether you want your bobby pins to do some behind-the-scenes work, or you just want to show them off, here are a bunch of bobby-pin hairstyles and tutorials to copy asap.

How to pin long hair up

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The trick to making your faux bob look real? Pull your shortest layers aside and let some fringe pieces hang around your face while you pin the rest of it. Then, let your pieces down to hide the tucked ends.


How to use bobby pins for curly hair

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If you feel like your usual twist out or braid out needs a little somethin’ extra, try accessorizing with some ~intentional~ bobby pins. Here are more than enough ideas for you to switch it up every day of the week.


How to use bobby pins for an updo

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Half-ponytail hairstyles, half-buns, full buns—this video demonstrates a ton of ways to use bobby pins in all kinds of updos, and every single one is worth trying.


How to wear decorative bobby pins in short hair

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I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again a bajillion times until you believe me: Hairstyles for short hair are not limited! This video right here shows 10 different ways to style shorter strands with help from a few bobby pins and elastics.


How to put pins in short hair

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This video shows you both how to use bobby pins to style your hair, and how to wear them as part of your look. If you have curly hair and you want to add a little more volume at the roots, try root-clipping with bobby pins around your hair part to lift and encourage the shape you want. Remove the pins once your curls have dried, then use them as an accessory to accentuate your part.


How to use bobby pins for thick hair

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If you have thick hair, or just a lot of it, this video is full of advice on how to make grippy bobby pins, hairspray, and jumbo pins your new BFF.

Brooke Shunatona
Brooke Shunatona is a contributing writer for Cosmopolitan.com.

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beauty tips: How to Use Bobby Pins for Every Hair Type and Texture in 2021

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