I’ve never really understood the great love for bobby pins. I knew that many people thought them to be an important, even crucial, tool for styling their hair, but I just didn’t get it. Whenever I tried to use a bobby pin, I’d end up using all 50 of them from the package, and no matter how many I used or how tightly or viciously I jammed them into my coils or rolls or twists or buns or braids, they’d all eventually slip out, and my one hundred pounds of hair would be left hanging lopsidedly on my head.

Well, as it turns out, I was using them the wrong way. Not just the wrong technique, mind you, but they were literally oriented the wrong way. On a bobby pin, there is a straight side, and there is a bumpy/rippled/wavy side. (However you might call it. One side is straight and flat, and the other is not.) I don’t know why it does not say so on the packaging, but, the general consensus is* that the wavy side is to face down, against your scalp when you pin your your hair; the ribbing is designed to grip hair and lock it into place.

image from Your Hair Is Crazy
image from Your Hair Is Crazy

How am I only just now learning this??

I feel like there’s things in life that people never tell you, and that somehow you’re just expected to know (but how??) and this is definitely one of those things.

Am I the only one? Have you all been using them wrong, too? Or are there other, basic things that you learned late in life, which you could have been doing better or more correctly, if only someone had told you about it? Let’s pool our knowledge! It’s never to late to learn something new.

* I hesitate to say there is one right way to do something. I’m sure that some very professional, deft-fingered stylists can use it the other way, and it’s just fine.


Flavia says

The worst part is that I have always used them the “right” way and they still slip from hair and hold nothing lol

S. Elizabeth says

Oh no! That stinks! I gotta tell you, though, right now I have a massive bun on top of my head, and it's being held securely in place by about 5 pins. If I'd tried this earlier in the year, there'd be, like, 20 pins in it, and it will still be falling out. But then again my hair is really coarse and thick...I bet folks with fine, slippery hair still experience challenges, no matter which way they flip it.

Jekki Ekho says

As I said on IG I have been using them wrong my whole life. On this topic, I used to think light years was a measurement of time. So turns out it's a measurement of distance. My friend taught me this while we consuming intoxicants and failing at using a telescope.

Dana says

I did reception work in various salons for 15 years and NEVER knew that! Thanks for the tip!

Dana says

Ps...I do however, crisscross them to lock them. That definitely works! (I wear a lot of hairpieces like half wigs and ponytails)

S. Elizabeth says

I'm paying a visit to my stylist tomorrow and I am going to ask her if she knew!

Larkin says

I use them flat side against my head. Works like a dream.

S. Elizabeth says

Whatever keeps your hair in place!

Dana says

I've tried the "upside down" way and it's true! I used far less pins this morning...thanks for the tip!!!

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