Bobby pins are probably one of the most used items in your hairstyling stash—but chances are you don’t give these tiny tools enough thought. If that’s the case, we’re here to tell you that you’re missing out. These tried-and-true pins can actually help fix a multitude of beauty blunders in almost every category, from hair to makeup, and even with your nails). Ready to learn how to use bobby pins to help instantly upgrade your beauty game? We’re sharing how to make the most of the hair pins you already own with 12 hacks, including all the best bobby pin hairstyles you need to try.
BOBBY PIN HACK #1: KEEP CURLS IN SHAPE
Curling your hair with a wand or barrel iron can be quite the process—and spirals can often fall flat once they’ve cooled. If you’ve ever experienced this dreaded occurrence, we’re sure you’d love to find a fix. Thankfully, we have just the tip to help keep your hair from looking lifeless by the time you’re finished curling. Piece by piece, use a curling wand or iron to curl your hair as usual. Then, while each piece is still hot, roll it back up into a tight curl and secure it with a bobby pin. When your hair has cooled down, carefully slip the bobby pins out and let your locks loose, then finish off with a spritz or two of high-hold hairspray.
BOBBY PIN HACK #2: HIDE ELASTICS FROM SIGHT
A visible elastic can really ruin the perfect ponytail, which is why we love to hide our hair ties using bobby pins. Just pull your hair into a ponytail as you normally would, then grab a piece of hair from the edge. Wrap the strand around your elastic a few times before pinning in place underneath the base of your ponytail. Your elastic will be effectively hidden for a more mature, elevated style. And that’s a wrap on this hack!
BOBBY PIN HACK #3: GIVE YOUR PONYTAIL SOME LIFT
If you think your ponytail looks a touch too drab, you can punch it up with the help of a few bobby pins. Insert the pins vertically into your elastic so that they’re facing upward. The pins act as tiny props, boosting your pony for a more lifted look.
BOBBY PIN HACK #4: SPRITZ WITH HAIRSPRAY
Sometimes bobby pins start to slack on how well they grip and hold your hair, but there’s an easy solution. To help amplify the holding power of your pins, spray them with a strong-hold hairspray, such as the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray Extra Strong Hold. After spritzing your pins, insert them as needed into your style—before the spray has dried down. The grip of the hairspray and your pins will work together to lock your look into place for longer.
BOBBY PIN HACK #5: INSERT THEM—THE RIGHT WAY
Here’s the deal: if you already know this hack, you’re bound to be nodding along like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. But if you don’t…this could be a total beauty game-changer. There’s a possibility you could be using your bobby pins the wrong way. We know it’s hard to believe, but even if you’ve never once questioned how to use bobby pins, it’s actually a pretty common occurrence. If you consistently insert bobby pins, there's a better way to do it. The smooth, flat side of your pin should always face upward, with the grooves facing down. This way, your pins won’t slide or shift throughout the day. Try it—we think you’ll be impressed!
BOBBY PIN HACK #6: TAKE SHORTER HAIRSTYLES FOR A SPIN
Taking the leap and giving your hair a major chop can be extremely scary. That’s why it makes sense to take short styles for a test drive first. Instead of picking up a wig, just opt for one of our favorite bobby pin hairstyles: the faux lob or bob. To pretend your way to a new length, separate your hair into a top and bottom section. With the bottom section, pin the pieces tightly to your head. Let the top layer of your hair down, hiding all your pinned sections. Fold the ends of the strands under, rolling them under the bottom section and holding them in place with bobby pins. Ta-da! This way, when you’re tired of sporting short tresses, all you have to do is pull your pins out.
BOBBY PIN HACK #7: CREATE NEW HAIR ACCESSORIES
Decorating your hair is an easy way to elevate any style, and you don’t even need to buy hair accessories to do it. All it takes is a bunch of bobby pins. Use your pins to adorn your hair with different shapes and patterns. Let your creativity flow or try a few of our favorites: triangles, arrows, hashtags, X’s, and diamonds. Basically, anything made up of straight lines works!
BOBBY PIN HACK #8: PIN BANGS OFF YOUR FACE
Bangs can be a serious commitment, and sometimes you might get tired of having hair in your face 24/7. And that feeling is only exacerbated when you’re in the midst of growing out your bangs—talk about a laborious process. Instead of suffering in fringe-faced silence, use bobby pins to pull your bangs back. Try styling your bangs into a small French braid and pinning the ends down. This gives you the best of both worlds—a chic braided style that doesn't involve grown out strands hanging in your face.
BOBBY PIN HACK #9: MAKE EYE-CATCHING NAIL ART
News flash: Bobby pins can be used for more than just helping you style your hair. If you need a marvelous mani and don’t have any nail art tools on hand, pick up a bobby pin. Use the rounded end of a pin, dipped in polish, to make dots on your nails. The best part about this hack is, once you’ve mastered dots, you can use the simple shape to create everything from flowers to leopard print! If you get polish around the edges of your nails in the process, wait for it to dry, then use a clean bobby pin to gently push the excess away.
BOBBY PIN HACK #10: CAREFULLY APPLY LASH GLUE
When applying false lashes, dispensing the perfect amount of lash glue onto the lash strip can be beyond tricky. You don’t want too little because then your lashes won’t stick, but too much can leave you with a gooey mess. Instead of trying to squeeze out just the right amount of glue directly onto the lashes, use a bobby pin as a lash glue applicator. Apply the glue to the tip of your pin and use that to deposit the glue along the lash strip. Wait for the glue to become tacky before applying and you’re good to go.
BOBBY PIN HACK #11: PERFECT YOUR CAT EYE
Even if you consider yourself masterful with makeup, you probably struggle with achieving the perfect winged eyeliner from time to time. To put an end to your struggle, we have a tip for getting a razor-sharp cat eye, even for those of us with the shakiest of hands. And of course, it involves a bobby pin. Place the straight edge of a pin against the outer corner of your eye and use it as a guide for your eyeliner. If you attempt to color outside of the lines, the excess liner will end up on the pin instead of your skin.
BOBBY PIN HACK #12: PUT DRY SHAMPOO TO USE
Before inserting your bobby pins, spritz them with some dry shampoo, like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Dry Shampoo. This will give them extra grip in the same way that a spritz of hairspray will—no slipping or sliding, here!
Want more hacks? We’ve got you covered. Next, speed up your beauty routine by heading over to our article, Time-Saving Beauty Hacks: How to Do Your Makeup Fast.