bobby pin history

The Bobby Pin: A Brief History (Plus The Best Trending Pinned Looks!)

Hands down, the most overachieving hair accessory in history.

Ah, the humble bobby pin, a household name—not to mention a staple of vanities, backstage areas and stylist’s kits everywhere. Amazing how something so tiny is able to change the history of hairdressing forever: This little pin, also referred to as the Kirby grip or hair grip in England, packs quite the punch for both hold and style. It has been responsible for efficiently locking countless hairstyles in place with minimum effort, to the delight of brides, runway models and oh, basically every other gal on the planet (along with the occasional amateur sleuth or two).

What is a Bobby Pin?

Bobby pins or hair pins are metal (or sometimes plastic) clips made with two flexible prongs, with one prong typically straight and one ridged. They are generally slid into a hairstyle to hold it in place.

Several variations on the plain bobby pin have since been invented, but the original pin came to the fore during the turn of the 19th century. Invented by cosmetics manufacturer Luis Marcus, it gained popularity during the Flapper era in post-World War I when short, bobbed hair became popular. Women used his clip to style their bobs and hold their short hair in place, hence giving way to the hair pin’s new—and longest-lasting—nickname. Unobtrusive and extremely easy to master, it’s become a must-have in almost every modern boudoir.

Contemporary Uses of the Bobby Pin

Invented as a coiffure tool, nowadays people have also been using the bobby pin as a handy aid for all sorts of things that require a certain precision. From threading laces to picking locks to squeezing out that last ribbon of toothpaste, there seems to be no end to its use, with people constantly finding way to improve practically any chore or task with the help of a hair pin.

But our favorite uses, of course, involve the genius ways this pin can upgrade a look. From reinforced Marcel waves to budge-free updos that last from coffee to cocktails, scroll down for a few of our favorite bobby pin looks. Can you say pin-up?

7 Trendy Bobby Pin Looks

bobby pin criss-cross lob
The criss-crossed half-updo.
bobby pin barrette
The stacked barrette. Photo credit:
bobby pin hair part
The accordion part. Photo credit:
bobby pin faux side shave
The faux side shave.
bobby pin finger waves
The finger wave look. Photo credit:
bobby pin half twist
The “Nancy” twist. Photo credit: Netflix
bobby pin faux bob
The faux bob. Photo credit: Verity Jane Smith

Want to learn about life-changing tools and hair tips? Check out more hair hacks guaranteed to streamline your routine.

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