What is a Bobby Pin?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Sara Z. Potter
  • Last Modified Date: 05 January 2020
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A bobby pin is a double-pronged hair pin that slides into hair with the prongs open and then the flexible prongs close over the hair to hold it in place. A bobby pin is sometimes called a grip or kirby pin. Bobby pins became popular in the 1920s to hold the new bobbed hairstyles.

Bobby pins are still used by many women today for all kinds of hairstyles such as buns, up-dos and twists. Longer versions of the bobby pin usually to bigger sections of hair. Bobby pins are flat and can be inserted into a hairstyle from all angles to support the style and hold the hair. The really unique thing about bobby pins is their ability to look almost invisible in many hairstyles. The bobby pin is available in black, brown, bronze, blonde and gray to go with all hair colors.

Like barrettes, decorated bobby pins are sometimes used to be noticed in hair. A decorated bobby pin can have beads or other details on it and is usually worn to pull back front sections of hair while looking more decorative than a plain bobby pin. It is a good idea to always keep a few plain or decorative bobby pins in your purse, along with a hair elastic, in case you need a quick hairstyle on the go.


Bobby pins are very inexpensive and do not often last very long as once the wire prongs get pushed too far apart, they have too loose of a grip on hair to hold it in place. A bobby pin is made of wire and has a loop at one end and the two prongs at the other. A bumpy ridge is on the top of the bobby pin in its center and the ridge helps to keep the bobby pin from slipping too easily from the hands when trying to slide it around pieces of hair.

Bobby pins are often sold in cardboard packages. Some packages may hold just a few dozen bobby pins, while others may contain a hundred bobby pins. Supermarkets, drug stores and dollar stores usually carry at least the original small, plain version of the bobby pin.


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Post 5

I guess the company is no longer in business, sunflower? I have never seen thinner ones. Could you locate other beauty shops to see if they have anything similar?

Post 4

not sure this is appropriate or not, but in the 1970's i bought a carton of bobby pins from a quality beauty supply shop in Carlsbad, NM. i'm down to the last one, and have been unable to find any like it. these are a little bit thinner than regular ones, don't come apart after years. of use. i'm looking for ones of equal quality. where do you go?

Post 3

There are gray bobby pins, but yes, they don't seem to be around that much. You could try contacting the bobby pin manufacturer maybe.

I find the "bumpy side up" handy -- literally. For me, I don't think I could grip the bobby pins as easily without this. Yes the looks aren't as smooth though with this on the top.

Post 2

If they make gray bobby pins, why can't I find any anywhere??

Post 1

why is the bumpy side up? It seems to me that would make the bobby pin more noticeable and harder to hold on to and put in your hair

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