Everyday faves | Bobby pins

This is the first post in a new series I’m calling “Everyday faves.” I realized that sometimes, I want to have an outlet to talk about smaller items that I use and love daily or weekly, things like bobby pins or wrinkle releaser spray — things that I use and love daily or weekly, but feel awkward to insert into an outfit post. I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, so I finally decided to do a series that highlights those everyday kinds of favorites in my life. Also, it’s an exercise in being more appreciative of smaller things — or common practices or habits — that make our lives (or at least, my life) easier, an exercise in self-reflection and appreciation.

I’m thinking of starting off this series every other week and seeing how it goes. (And yes, I’m already starting a list of what I could write about for everyday faves.) Do you like this idea of a new series? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, bobby pins

First up, bobby pins! Such a little thing yet so essential! I have had a LOT of bobby pins in my life, and that includes a lot of cheap and badly designed bobby pins. A couple of years ago, I finally skipped past the cheapie bobby pins in the drugstore aisles and walked into a Sally Beauty supply store to buy bobby pins, professional and higher-quality bobby pins.

It was worth it!

What makes these better bobby pins? For me, it boils down to the thickness of both the bobby pin itself AND the ends of the bobby pin. These don’t warp — which has happened to thinner bobby pins I’ve had — and with the thicker bulbs at the end, they don’t scrape my scalp when I get in close to slide them in. I have had to throw away so many bobby pins in the past, but I have not thrown any of these away — I’m still using the original tins I bought at Sally Beauty!

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, bobby pins

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, bobby pins

Currently, I use regular-sized bobby pins in black, as well as mini-sized bobby pins. I also have those U-shaped bobby pins, but I don’t need those right now with my shorter hair.

Even with short hair, I use these bobby pins all the time, which is why I keep them out in these pretty little lotus-shaped bowls along my bathroom window ledge. I use bobby pins to pin back my bangs, as seen here, or when I do a little twist with my bangs to add some interest, as seen here. I also use them to secure hair scarves, most recently seen here. (You can also read here about 20 amazingly creative ways to use bobby pins!)

A few years ago, I read a style blog post about a woman’s revelation upon learning that the shorter, “bumpy” side of the bobby pin goes on the underside — she had always had the bumpy side on the top side and wondered why she always had had trouble with bobby pins! I don’t remember when I learned how to use bobby pins, but I had to have been pretty young. I also have thin-textured hair (although there’s a LOT of it), so there’s no way the bobby pin would grip my hair unless the bumpy side were on the bottom. I also sometimes spray the bobby pin with hairspray before sliding it into my hair, for extra hold.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, bobby pins

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves, bobby pins

If you don’t have a beauty supply store near where you are, you can also order these online here (regular length) and here (shorter length). I use black bobby pins, because of my darker hair, but they’re also available in other colors, as well.


Note:  This post is not sponsored in any way by Sally Beauty. I just wanted to share my personal love and use of these bobby pins!


Finally, I also started thinking… where did the term “bobby pin” come from? Once a librarian, always a librarian! 😉 And here’s a summary of what I found out:

Bobby pins, alternatively spelled as “bobbie pins” and also referred to as “bob pins” and “bobbing pins” in the U.S., are also called “kirby grips” or “hair grips” in the U.K. Hair pins of different variations are not new inventions, but the term “bobby pin” became popular in the 1920s, as they helped women hold their “bobbed hair” in place, as this was the new — and daring! — hairstyle of that time. The term “bobby pin” was trademarked in the U.S. by the Smith Victory Corporation for the first half of the 20th century, but the term is now in common usage. The U.K. term “kirby grip” also comes from a trademarked name, “kirbigrip” pins by Kirby, Beard & Co. Ltd., but that term has also become common usage. (By the way, those kinds of words — common words that trace back to trademarked or product names — are collectively referred to as “zipper words,” because — you guessed it! — the word “zipper” also first started out as a trademarked product name.)

Okay, history lesson over! Do you use bobby pins a lot in your everyday routine? Please leave a comment and share. 🙂

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16 thoughts on “Everyday faves | Bobby pins

  1. jhitomi

    You are blowing my mind and it’s too early in the morning for that! There are better bobby pins? Bumpy side goes on the bottom vs top? Zipper words? You mean after fifty plus years I have been using bobby pins improperly?!

    Reply
    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life + Style Post author

      I appreciate the enthusiastic response to my first ‘Everyday Faves’ post! And I totally debated about whether or not to include the “history lesson” part about bobby pins — I’m glad I left it in! And I wouldn’t say that you’ve been using bobby pins improperly — just think of this as an opportunity to use bobby pins to their full potential! 😀

      Reply
      1. jhitomi

        Yes I love learning new things so thank you! I’m the kind of person who would look up “Bobby pins” in Wikipedia to find out where the name comes from. You saved me the trip 😉

        Reply
  2. karenstrand

    I think this is a fun way to connect with us (your readers). I mean, if we were actually girlfriends sitting around talking, things like bobby pins would definitely come up! I’ve thought about investing in professional quality bobby pins, but wasn’t sure if they were worth it. Thanks for the info!

    Reply
  3. Jessica

    I love this idea! And yes, i use bobby pins pretty much on a daily basis. I have several different kinds, but the flat, non-knobby ones are my go to favorites right now. They are curved, and I loved how they lay perfectly flat against my head, as i use them to pin my bangs back. i cannot decide if I want to keep my bangs or grow them out, so they are frequently at that odd in between stage.

    Reply
    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      I have a few colors of the flat bobby pins, too, but I haven’t used them for years, because I never seem to be able to keep them open very long to be able to slide them easily onto my hair — they always twist sideways on me! And the flat ends snag on my thin-textured hair. But I’m glad they work for you! And I agree, bobby pins are lifesavers for bangs, whether you’re growing them out or whether you just want to switch up your look for the day. 🙂

      Reply
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  6. Jane the Raincity Librarian

    Funnily enough, you’ve reminded me of when I worked in a law firm years ago and came across the phrase “hook and loop fastener” in a document. I had no idea what on earth a “hook and loop fastener” was, until a colleague told me that they couldn’t use the term “Velcro” because it’s a brand name! So, I guess that’s another zipper word right there! 🙂

    Reply
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