Category Archives: hairstyles

Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays | Trying out new hairstyles with new hairsprays

Today, I am reviewing the top range of Kenra Professional hairsprays — and trying out a new hairstyle variation to test each new hairspray!

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

First, some context. I signed up with Brandbacker a couple of years ago, an online service that matches up brands with style “influencers” (a fancy term for ” bloggers”). Bloggers apply for possible campaigns they’re interested in, and companies review and select bloggers who they feel are a good fit for their brand or product. (Through Brandbacker, I have reviewed the Billion Dollar Brows kit, which I still use, and more recently reviewed Finesse shampoo + conditioner, which I’m also still using.) I only apply to review products that feel authentic or interesting to me, are in my price range, and/or inspire me to think of new ways to experiment with my style, makeup, or hairstyles. Y’all know how I like to try new things!

For this campaign, here was my pitch and idea for a review post of the Kenra Professional hairsprays:

Librarian for Life + Style | Personal pitch for Kenra Professional campaign via Brandbacker

So I saw this as an opportunity to get to learn about and compare different kinds of hairsprays and to try out new hairstyles at the same time — and to demonstrate that short-haired ladies also like to experiment with our hair! Viva la short-haired lassies!

I had also admitted in this post last fall about my regular haircare routine that “I’ve never been able to find a hairspray that I really like,” so this felt like a good opportunity to try and see if I could finally find a hairspray that I like.

Here are the samples I received from Kenra Professional:

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

  • Kenra Volume Spray 25, 1.5 ounce bottle
  • Kenra Platinum HiDEF Hairspray 16, 8 ounce bottle
  • Kenra Ultra Freeze Spray 30, 10 ounce bottle
  • Kenra Platinum Finishing Spray 26, 10 ounce bottle
  • Kenra Perfect Medium Spray 13, 10 ounce bottle

What’s with the numbers?

The back of the hairspray bottles clued me into what the numbers in the hairspray titles meant. They have a “hold index,” ranging from 0 (no hold) to 30 (most hold). And whatever the number of the hairspray, that’s where it falls in that “hold index.” Clever!

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

What is Kenra Professional?

Kenra Professional describes itself as a professional brand for stylists. “Our passion is developing best-in-class innovations, delivering superior and reliable results. Kenra Professional strives to elevate the stylists’ artistry and craft.”

Kenra Professional logo

Their website provides an interesting history and timeline for the company. They were founded in 1929 in Indianapolis with a “no tweeze” wax depilatory (!) and launched their first haircare line in 1960.

There is information about their products on their website, but not for purchase. Their products are most easily available on the Ulta site, and through salons — which makes sense, since they’re a company catering to stylists.

Let’s see how a regular, non-stylist person like me did with a stylist’s hairspray tools!

Note: I tried the hairsprays in order of their hold index, starting from 13 (the Perfect Medium Spray), all the way up to 30 (the Ultra Freeze Spray).


Kenra Perfect Medium Spray 13


What the product promises:

“Perfect Medium Spray 13 combines styling control with a touchable, brush-through hold. This medium hold spray is fast-drying and finishes with a high shine.” It promised control without stiffness and to help with static and fly-aways.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

This full-size bottle of this hairspray sells for $17 on the Ulta website with a 4.5/5 rating. There’s also a travel-size option available on the Ulta website for $7.

My hairstyle idea:

In essence, this was my “control group” in this hairstyle and hairspray experiment. I started with this hairspray, as it was the lowest on the hold index, and it seemed like a more everyday “go to” kind of hairspray. So I stuck with my everyday hairstyle, with my bangs brushed forward, to test the promise of a “touchable, brush-through hold.” (FYI, I go more into detail about my usual haircare routine here in this post.)

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day using the Kenra Perfect Medium Spray 13. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Perfect Medium Spray 13

The hairspray smelled a little metallic right when I first sprayed it on, but that went away after a bit. My hair was definitely touchable all throughout the day. It didn’t really feel like I had any hairspray on at all, but that could be due to the fact that I tend to go pretty light on hairspray in general. It was quite windy this day last weekend, and I was walking around a lot outside. So my hair did wilt a little by the end of the day, which you can particularly tell in the side view in the right column. But no static or flyaways, and my hair did feel and look shiny.

Final verdict? Thumbs up, except for the initial smell of the spray. I will make sure I have the bathroom fan on when I use this again.


Kenra Platinum HiDEF Hairspray 16


What the product promises:

“HiDEF Hairspray 16 is a light-defusing finishing spray that holds tousled, undone styles with a matte, flake-free finish. The perfect finishing spray for any textured style.” It promised a matte finish, instant drying on contact, and the best choice for “undone styles” and “beachy waves.”

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

This hairspray sells for $23 on the Ulta website with a 3.5/5 rating.

My hairstyle idea:

I don’t have much hair to try out “beachy waves,” but I have been inspired by Adina @ Blue Collar Red Lipstick and her short pixie ‘do, especially when she curls the longer front part of her hair, as seen here. So I decided to try out this new kind of short ‘do for myself! I watched a couple of hair tutorial videos online for how to do beachy waves for short hair, including this video by Dominique Sachse, and this video by stillglamorus.

I brought out my smaller curling iron to curl the shorter pieces underneath and used my flat iron to create a wave effect on my longer hair up front.

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day using Kenra Platinum HiDEF Hairspray 16. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Platinum HiDef Hairspray 16

It took much longer than my usual haircare routine to do this look, and toward the end, my husband shouted out from the living room, “I can smell the hairspray!” But I actually preferred the smell of this hairspray over the smell of the Perfect Medium Spray 13, plus I felt like the HiDEF spray played nice with the dry shampoo paste I had rubbed into my hair, to give it a bit more “grip” for the waves. I sprayed it over the waves before I finger-brushed them out a bit, and then again after I had played around with my part and the waves.

By the end of the day, as you can see, my hair had wilted a bit, and the style looked a bit messier to me with the ends a little frizzed out. But my hair didn’t feel too crunchy during the day, and I was able to brush it out easily at the end of the day.

Final verdict? I thought it worked well with the dry shampoo paste I use regularly. I also look forward to trying this hairspray out on my everyday style, just to compare how the “matte” finish compares to the “shiny” finish.


Kenra Volume Spray 25


What the product promises:

“Volume Spray 25 provides the maximum amount of volume and hold possible. It leaves hair looking natural and shiny while imparting the strength and volume necessary to make any style last all day.” It promised a fast-drying, flake-free, wind-resistant hold.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

The full-sized can of this hairspray sells for $18 on the Ulta website with a 4.7/5 rating. There’s also a travel-sized option, like the one I’m holding, available for $7.

My hairstyle idea:

When I thought about a hairdo that would put the hairspray’s volume and hold promise to the test, I thought a backlift hairstyle with sideswept bangs and a headband or scarf would do the trick.

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day using the Kenra Volume Spray 25. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Volume Spray 25

The back of the hairspray bottle had a recommendation to build up volume in layers using the spray, so that’s what I did when I teased sections of the hair on my crown for the little pouf in the back. I also teased my bangs a little and sprayed those, swooping those to the side and pinning them at the base. The wide hair scarf helped support the poufy back bit, I think.

The day started out clear but had a misty drizzle by the end of the day. But that’s a good test for hairspray in the Pacific Northwest, to see if it holds up in misty rain conditions! And I’m pretty pleased with how my hairstyle held up. It wilted a bit, of course, but the volume at the crown is still decent. And my hair didn’t feel crunchy or sticky during the day. My bangs did “break” in the middle, so I had to pin them up higher halfway through the day, which explains why the bobby pin is so much more obvious on my hair in the after pics.

Final verdict? This one is the best-smelling of the bunch thus far, and I was impressed on how well it held up in drizzly rain. I also got lots of compliments on my hairstyle that day!


Kenra Platinum Finishing Spray 26


What the product promises:

“Finishing Spray 26 is the ultimate firm hold hairspray, providing maximum control with long-lasting lift and style retention. Its fast drying, humidity resistant formulation finishes styles with high shine, and it is completely shampoo soluble.” It promised a non-drying, all-day hold with shine.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

The full-size can of this hairspray sells for $22 on the Ulta website, with a 4.7/5 rating. There’s also a travel-sized option available for $9.

My hairstyle idea:

I’ve been wanting to try a more sculptural “quiff” hairstyle for a bit, to shake things up a bit. A “quiff” is a hairdo that has longer hair puffed up in the front, with shorter hair in the back and sides. Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton have been known to sport quiff hairstyles. I looked at a few hair video tutorials for inspiration, including this “Messy Pixie Cut Hairstyle Tutorial” video from Sarah H., another video called “7 Ways I Style my Pixie Cut” from Sarah H., and this “Rockabilly Pixie” video from KaYkAy.

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day using the Platinum Finishing Spray 26. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Platinum Finishing Spray 25

Much to my surprise, this turned out to be my most favorite hairstyle thus far — but my least favorite hairspray. My hair felt stiff and crunchy, and I was hoping that nobody else would want to touch my hair, because it didn’t feel that good to my fingers! (Thankfully, no one did, although I did get compliments on the hairstyle.) I also had a little trouble getting my bobby pins out at the end of the day, because the hairspray had stuck them to my hair! It’s a serious hold, for sure, and an effective hold as you can see from the pics, but it just felt like too much for me personally.

Final verdict? Since we don’t have the kind of humidity like they describe, I’m not sure how useful this hairspray would be in the long run.


Kenra Ultra Freeze Spray 30


What the product promises:

“Ultra Freeze Spray 30 locks styles in place with a long-lasting, ultra-firm hold. This fast-drying formula defines, sculpts and freezes styles in place, while providing humidity resistance with a high shine, flake-free finish.” It promised the firmest hold while also keeping your hair shiny.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

This hairspray sells for $19 on the Ulta website with a 4.4/5 rating.

My hairstyle idea:

To put this high-shine and firm-hold promise to the test, I went for a slicked-back, wet look, with visions of Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible” video in my mind. I’ve tried this look before, but it tends to break up in chunks by the end of the day. So this hairspray sounded perfect to try for this kind of look again! I also upped the ante by doing a zig-zag part on the side, instead of my usual straight side part. [Here’s a video tutorial on how to do a zig-zag part yourself.]

Basically, I wanted comic-book hair — and I got it! 😀

Results:

Here’s how my hair looked at the start and end of the day, using the Ultra Freeze Spray 30. Click on the collage below to view a larger image in a new window.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hairstyle collage for Kenra Ultra Freeze Spray 30

I *loved* this look! People kept asking me all day if I had gotten my hair cut. Nope. Just different styling products! 😀

I was admittedly a little wary about using this strongest hold hairspray, the Ultra Freeze 30, the day after my disappointing outing with the 26. But I ended up really liking the Ultra Freeze 30! It definitely lived up to its description of being fast-drying and having ultra-firm hold. And my hair did look shiny. After the initial “freeze” of the hairspray, I realized that I could run a comb through my hair to break up the initial crunchiness — and it still held! My slicked-back hair did not break all day, and I had a very long day at work. (And after work, hence the different backdrop for these “end of the day” pics.)

Final verdict? Definitely keeping the Ultra Freeze 30 for when I need extra hold!

Any favorites?

The Volume Spray 25 was my favorite overall — and of course, the smallest bottle! I also appreciated the HiDEF Hairspray 16 for its matte finish, and the Ultra Freeze 30 for its shiny and extra-firm hold.

What I liked overall:

The packaging of the Kenra Professional sprays is sleek, which I liked. The nozzles on the sprays also click to the side to close or open, so that’s a handy detail.

I had honestly never thought much about differences in hairspray before — the idea of using different hairsprays for different purposes — and I liked that this review challenged me to better appreciate those differences. I understand now how the matte finish of the HiDEF Hairspray 16 would be a more appropriate choice for textured hairstyles, and how the shiny hold of the Ultra Freeze 30 would be a more appropriate choice for sleeker hairstyles. I could actually see and feel those differences up close, which was gratifying to discover, considering I’m NOT a stylist — just a woman doing the best she can with her hair on a daily basis.

When I was looking at different hair tutorials videos online, I also started noticing how many others were also using Kenra hairsprays! That speaks well about the brand to me.

Librarian for Life + Style | Review of Kenra Professional hairsprays

What I didn’t like:

The initial metallic smell of the Perfect Medium Spray 13 — all the other sprays smelt fine to me — and the crunchiness that resulted from the Platinum Finishing Spray 26. (I will try and see if any of my colleagues at work who have more textured hair than I do might benefit from this spray.)

And while I now can appreciate the differences in these hairsprays, that means that I now will have to keep mental track of which is which and when I need to use each one — but that’s also where the hold index and the tips on the back of the bottles come in handy!

Would I purchase this myself?

I do plan on purchasing a full bottle of the Volume Spray 25, as lack of volume is the main issue I have with my finer-textured hair. And I’m seriously considering travel sizes for the other sprays I did like, just in case… y’all know how much I love travel-sized products! 😉 The prices are a little spendy but not unreasonable, in my opinion, especially for a salon and stylist market. I am sure the full-sized bottles will last me a long time!

Overall, I quite enjoyed this hairspray and hairstyle experiment — and I hope y’all did, too!

Which of the hairsprays or hairstyles did you like best? Have you used Kenra Professional hairsprays or other products before? Please leave a comment and share!


Full Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, in conjunction with BrandBacker and Kenra Professional. I received samples of Kenra Professional’s top five hairsprays in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own and 100% honest.


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Review of Finesse shampoo + conditioner | Restoring my hair after a long winter

As I’ve mentioned recently, it’s been a long winter up here in the Pacific Northwest. And it’s not just me! It’s officially been the coldest winter up here in 3 decades — and we’ve only had 3 mild-temperature, full days of sun since October! Although the overcast days make for good lighting for photographs, this weather has been rough on my skin and my hair, as both tend to run dry.

So when the opportunity came up to review Finesse Restore + Strengthen Moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, I was eager to try them out for myself.

Librarian for Life + Style | Haircare review of Finesse shampoo + conditioner

I remember using Finesse shampoo and conditioner when I was a teenager, so it’s been awhile since I’ve personally used Finesse haircare products. I also remember Finesse being known for its clean scent — and for being very budget-friendly. (It’s still budget-friendly, with an under-$4 price tag.)

And come to find out, Finesse was founded over 30 years ago in 1982 and started out with a commercial featuring Sharon Stone (!). I am a librarian, so y’all KNOW I had to look that up. Enjoy:

1982 Sharon Stone Finesse Shampoo Commercial,” uploaded by TheRetroTimeMachine, Dec. 1, 2013. Standard YouTube license.

I may not have flowing locks like Sharon Stone back in the day, but that doesn’t mean we shorter-haired ladies can’t also enjoy soft, clean-smelling hair!

When the Finesse Restore + Strengthen Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner bottles arrived, I tried them out right away and washed my hair twice to get a feel for the product. The bottles themselves are nice and bright, in shades of blue and pink, almost like trying to usher in spring (which cannot get here soon enough!).

Librarian for Life + Style | Haircare review of Finesse shampoo + conditioner

The first time after I washed my hair with the Finesse shampoo and conditioner, I let my hair air dry. This way, I could get a sense of how my hair felt after using the products, without any additional products in my hair. And I have to say, my hair did feel super soft! The product itself states that “the active silk and soy proteins penetrate deep into the hair shaft, leaving your hair more moisturized and manageable.” As my straight hair is pretty manageable on its own, I can’t state that my hair felt more manageable after using the shampoo, but it did feel more moisturized.

Librarian for Life + Style | Haircare review of Finesse shampoo + conditioner

The smell of a shampoo and conditioner is super important, and as I have short hair (and therefore cannot physically smell my own hair!), I asked my husband, Sam, how my hair smelled. His answer — and this is WORD FOR WORD what he said — was:

Clean. Not overly floral or overpowering. I like it.

I’d say that’s a good response! 😀

The second time I washed my hair with the Finesse Restore + Strengthen Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner, I blow-dried my hair as per usual — but, again, without any additional haircare products. I wanted to see how my hair held up without any additional volumizing or texturizing products.

Here’s the result:

Librarian for Life + Style | My hair, after using Finesse shampoo + conditioner

I was pleased at how fresh and clean my hair looked, and how much volume my hair still retained! My hair did still feel wonderfully soft. Two thumbs up — from me AND my husband! 😉

And I am budget-conscious, so the under-$4 price tag also fits the outlook of both my style and my style blog. I will continue to use my bottles of Finesse shampoo and conditioner, and you can find the brand at Walmart, Walgreens, Rite-Aid and grocery chains such as Kroger, Shoprite, HEB, and Publix. You can also search for and read more reviews about Finesse products on the Home Tester Club site.

Librarian for Life + Style | Haircare review of Finesse shampoo + conditioner

Have you ever used Finesse shampoo and conditioner? Please leave a comment and share!


Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post via BrandBacker, and I received two 13 oz. bottles of Finesse Restore + Strengthen Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner in exchange for a review. As always, my reviews are honest and reflect my own personal views and experiences.


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Brown with bright pops of blue

A quick note that the poll is open to vote for your favorite outfit from last month!

It seems I love pairing this brown print dress with bright, solid colors; the last time I wore this dress on the blog, I paired it with a bright green button-front. This time, I paired it with a bright blue cardigan. I had first thought of wearing my rust-colored tights, as seen here, but at the last minute, I went bold with my bright blue tights.

Sam jokingly called me “Smurfette,” which I didn’t mind. Smurfette was a sassy gal. 😉 I liked the bright blue — it really pops against the brown!

Librarian for Life + Style | Brown with bright pops of blue

Librarian for Life + Style | Brown with bright pops of blue

Librarian for Life + Style | Brown with bright pops of blue

I had first thought of wearing my bronze Mary Jane pumps, but then I spied my bronze heels and my brown loafer heels. So I gathered all three pairs and asked Sam to make the final decision. He chose the brown loafer heels, a classic choice. 🙂

Librarian for Life + Style | Bronze and brown shoe choices

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of brown loafer heels and blue tights

Librarian for Life + Style | Brown with bright pops of blue

Librarian for Life + Style | Brown with bright pops of blue

I also brought out my rope braid trick again for my bangs, to bring some texture and interest to my short hair. I got quite a few compliments on my hairstyle that day!

Librarian for Life + Style | Closeup of rope braid in short hair, side view

Librarian for Life + Style | Brown with bright pops of blue

Librarian for Life + Style | Brown with bright pops of blue

Weather:  Chilly and a dry spot before all the rain

Where:  Work day that included multiple meetings

What:

  • Cardigan:  August Silk via Macy’s, old
  • Dress:  Thrifted in Chicago, old
  • Tights:  Kohl’s, old
  • Heels:  DSW, old
  • Tote bag:  JCPenney, old
  • Earrings:  Local boutique in Portland, old
  • Necklace:  Gift from Sam, from a Turkey trip in college
  • Wood watch:  c/o JORD, 2015

Shop my outfit:

light brown print dress  //  royal blue cardigan  //  dark brown print dress  //  brown loafer heels  //  blue opaque tights  //  dark brown tote bag

Librarian for Life + Style | Brown with pops of blue outfit collage

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Everyday faves | Dry shampoo paste

This is the fourth entry in the biweekly series about “Everyday faves,” to highlight everyday, or commonplace, things — or practices or habits — that make a difference in my life. For me, these posts are an exercise in self-reflection and appreciation. My first post was about better bobby pins, and I’ve also written about building time into my daily schedule for reading and the miracles of travel-sized stain sticks.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves: Dry shampoo paste

This time, I wanted to highlight a hair care product I now use almost every day, dry shampoo paste. I was introduced to this product, R+Co Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste, six months ago when I got my hair cut really short. It’s a combination of dry shampoo and styling paste. It’s unlike any other dry shampoo I had used before, and it’s true love, y’all. (I also learned that R+Co creates styling products formulated without parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, or petroleum.)

Note:  This post is NOT sponsored by R+Co . I simply want to share with my readers my personal thoughts and experiences and appreciation of using this dry shampoo paste and how it’s become part of my everyday hair care routine.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves: Dry shampoo paste

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves: Dry shampoo paste

This product promises to “add amazing second-day texture and absorbing oil” and has a “matte finish and reworkable hold.” And I’ve found those promises do hold up, as does my hair after using this dry shampoo paste. I prefer to wash my hair every 2 to 3 days, so second-day (or even third-day) hair is just a fact of life for me. I have thin-textured hair, but there’s a LOT of it, so adding volume to my hair has always been a struggle.

I thought it’d be fun to do a brief “here’s how I do my hair” demo as part of this post, to help illustrate how I use this dry shampoo paste as part of my regular hair care routine.

First, after a morning shower, I start with clean, damp, and towel-dried hair that I comb straight, as seen below. You can use the dry shampoo paste with damp or dry hair. I use it both ways!

Librarian for Life + Style | Hair care routine with dry shampoo paste, before

Then, I scoop out a bit of the paste. And, yes, a little goes a long way! I then roll the paste in-between my fingers on both hands, then run my hands all through my damp hair until I’ve deposited all the paste as evenly as possible throughout my hair. As the paste warms up in your hands, the white color turns clear, so no worries about having white spots in your hair.

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves: Dry shampoo paste

Then it’s time to blow-dry my hair, as seen below. I sometimes let my hair air-dry, but that’s usually on weekends or on work days when I go in later. This was a week day, so I went ahead and blow-dried my hair, using a blow dryer with the diffuser attachment and a smaller round brush.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hair care routine with dry shampoo paste, blow drying

I use the round brush particularly to fluff up the back of my hair, along with my bangs. Sometimes, I blow dry my bangs back and off my face, but today, I decided to do a little side sweep with the bangs.

Librarian for Life + Style | Hair care routine with dry shampoo paste, after

I then use a little more dry shampoo paste — a very small amount — to “set” my bangs and smooth down the sides around my ears and the little short hairs on my neck. On the second (and sometimes, third) days, I basically repeat this last step, and I’m done.

Using the dry shampoo paste this way right after showering gives my hair texture, volume, and shape that lasts until I shower again. I can also “play” with my hair without worrying that I’ll mess it up, and I’ve noticed that I usually forego hairspray when I’ve used this dry shampoo paste. Less hair products for the win! (Also, I’ve never been able to find a hairspray that I really like.)

A jar of this Badlands dry shampoo paste costs $28, but I’ve been using this paste for half a year now, so this jar is going to last me awhile. Bonus:  it smells great!

Librarian for Life + Style | Everyday faves: Dry shampoo paste

Do you use dry shampoo? If so, do you have a favorite? Please leave a comment and share.

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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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