Hair Pin vs. Bobby Pin

Stylist putting a hair pin on braided hair.

Even when it comes to your updos, not all pins are created equal. While bobby pins are one of the most popular hair accessories, they aren’t the only ones available. Hairpins from the past are a must-have for any lady who takes her hairstyles seriously, whether it’s a simple topknot or a complex updo.

Bobby pins are made of a long, narrow piece of flat metal that is folded in half and pressed back against itself, gently keeping hair between the two sides. Some bobby pins feature ridges to keep your hair in place and prevent it from slipping, while others have a sleek, flat appearance. Standard hairpins, on the other hand, are not pressured but are open.

Standard hairpins, on the other hand, are open in a U shape rather than being pressed together. The most common usage for these U-shaped hairpins is to secure a bun or updo. Bobby pins are commonly used to tame flyaways by pinning hair away from the face or down to the skull. According to rumors, they were created to be worn with the bob hairstyle and were appropriately named after it.

The secret is that you may need both types of pins to achieve your desired look. But how do you tell the two apart? It’s actually fairly straightforward. Continue reading to learn more.

Bobby Pins

Bobby pins on wooden table.

When doing an updo, these are the pins you would normally reach for. On one side, they’re flat, and on the other, they’re ridged. Are you putting them in correctly? According to famous hairstylist Mark Townsend, “bobby pins should be placed at the base of a haircut for security.” Only use a few bobby pins and make sure they’re smooth side down for better hold (as well as a more polished look).

To help the pin stay in the hair, one prong is ribbed, while the other is straight. To use one, place the wavy side of the pin on your scalp. The pin will keep a better grip on the hair it has caught, as long you keep it closed as you enter it into your hair


Bobby pins are wonderful for keeping intricate up-dos in place because of their powerful hold, but they may also be the focal point of your hairstyle. Try an edgy take on a side sweep for a modern yet casual look that’s suitable for a night out with friends. Make a deep side portion first.

Then, using a little water and hair spray, slick back the side with less hair and fix it with a vertical row of embellished bobby pins. The pins should start about above the ear and run back a couple of inches into the hair. Finally, crisscross extra bobby pins over the vertically placed pins, allowing the fuller side of your hair to flow freely.


Bobby pins can be a pain to work with at times, depending on the type of hair you’re working with. The pin will not be able to hold anything in place if there is too little hair. However, too much hair will make it difficult to keep the pin in place. Because of these considerations, you’ll have to experiment a bit to figure out how much hair to use for each bobby pin.


Hairpins adorned with white pearls.

These are the skinny U-shaped pins, which are squiggled a little bit on either side and are great for styles like buns and chignons. You’ll want to keep them on your vanity once you’ve figured out how to use them. Hairpins can be made from a variety of materials such as metal, plastic, bronze, ivory, or wood.

Women tend to buy simple hairpins because when placed in the hair, they aren’t visible. Sometimes women buy decorative ones with ornaments and gems to do more than just keep their hair. They make hairstyles more beautiful.

To use, start by gripping the round end of the pin within your fingers.

To hold your hair, push the pin straight into the hair and the tips down further into the hair. Next, rotate the top of the pin 90 degrees horizontally so that it is still in your hair while going in sideways. Insert the pin.


Hairpins provide more movement and style. Moreover, because they’re not so tight, the hair looks more realistic than bobby pins. You have the perfect hair for a vacation in minutes flat with the right technique. Be clever when you pick your pin.


While usually more realistic, hairpins can still have a tendency to stick out of the hair, creating a tacky effect. This may lead to frequent adjustments and re-styling. Additionally, hairpins can be an issue if the user has very thin or smooth hair, as they will not have enough traction to stay put.

Woman's hair styled with hairpins.


What are curved bobby pins used for?

Most of the time, you will observe Bobby pins and hairpins to be flat, but curved pins are great to have on deck in situations where you are working with a half-up hairstyle where the pins are more visible to you.

How do you make a bobby pin stay?

There are multiple options available to help keep your bobby pins in place. One way is to spray the pins with texture spray so that they have additional grip. Another way is to lock the pins in place by inserting them from the opposite angle, hooking hair through it, then reinserting them from the correct angle.

What are the different types of hairpins available?

There are an array of pins you can use in your hair. U-shaped pins, scroos, Amish pins, bobby pins, and ridged U-shaped pins are among a few.

What is the correct way to use hairpins?

It’s not “right” by itself. Wear them as you wish. Use them to secure a messy bun discreetly or to smooth down your bangs or stray hair and bumps in an updo. Also, do not be afraid of using them as a visible accessory to your hairstyle.

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