Bobby Pin How To: Which Pins to Use Where

Rachel Nussbaum
Bobby Pin How To: Which Pins to Use Where
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A bobby pin is one of those things that seem so simple in theory, and then you get to the drugstore and realize that everything you thought you knew is actually worthless. Ten minutes later, and you’re wandering to the register with a random card of bobby pins in hand because how bad could it be? They’re just pins, anything’ll do the job, right? Wrong. Put them in your hair and an hour later, you realize you’ve made a horrible mistake.

We speak from experience, and let us tell you, the return trip to the drugstore is no happy homecoming. Luckily, bobby pins pretty much give meaning to the phrase “a dime a dozen,” so it’s more a blow to the ego than the wallet. Also luckily, we believe in learning from past mistakes. So here, a comprehensive guide to which bobby pins are best for which uses, the hair types that should steer clear of those weird ripples and lastly, the pin that changed our lives.

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So many bobby pins, so many options.

These are your standard bobby pins, good for whenever you need to pin back medium-sized sections. The latest innovations have been hair-coordinating colors, an opener and a little travel case, making tiny improvements to our favorite tiny tool. 

Conair Bobby Pins, $2.75,

Photo: Image via Rite Aid/Image via Rite Aid

"No-slip grip" bobby pins have extra ridges to hold onto hair tighter, and are best for slippery, fine hair without a ton of natural texture, or conversely, thick hair that needs the extra strength to stay tamed. These are a good default if you want serious staying power. 

Scunci No-slip Grip Bobby Pins, $3.96, Amazon

Photo: Image via Amazon/Image via Amazon

Decorative bobby pins (like these from J.Crew) may have the shape of a regular bobby pin, but don't be fooled. These babies are usually weak, so it's best to use some normal pins underneath, and then slide these in just for decoration. 

Girls' Pearl Bobby Pins, $12.50, J.Crew

Photo: Image via J.Crew/Image via J.Crew

Roller pins are generally long, flat, straight and used to keep rollers in your hair. If you're going for a big, bodacious rollers hairstyle and are unsure of the sometimes scary clips that accompany your average set, we'd suggest splurging all of $1.69 for them.

Conair Roller Pins, $1.69, CVS

Photo: Image via Amazon/Image via Amazon

Curved bobby pins are great for subtly pinning small pieces of hair back along your head (thus the more natural curved shape), but don't perform well when used for anything else. Thick-haired ladies, proceed with caution.

Conair Bobby Pins, Curved, $9.95, Amazon

Photo: Image via Amazon/Image via Amazon

Ever had a cowlick? If yes, mini pins are the solution. Smaller than your average pin, they imperceptibly hold kinks down just where they need to.

Conair Brush Styling Essentials Secure Hold Mini Bobby Pins, $1.89,

Photo: Image via Amazon/Image via Amazon

Jumbo pins are good for putting long, thick hair up in a bun. Honestly, the best part of these is not needing a million normal-sized pins to get the bun to stay, and then missing half of them when trying to put your hair down. It's the little things.

Hot Tools Jumbo 2-3/4" Bobby Pins, $1.99, Ulta

Photo: Image via Amazon/Image via Amazon

And now, the best pin in all the land. After our hairstylist told us that putting curly hair in a bun at night damages the ends, we were in quite the pickle. Should we sleep with our hair down and wake to a tangled, frizzy mess, or further weaken our precious, precious ends? Spin pins to the rescue; just twist your hair into a rope, wrap it around itself, tuck ends under and turn the spin pins in at opposite sides. No gimmicks, and these things are life changing.

Goody Simple Styles Spin Hair Pin, $6.29, Walgreens

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