Is there a right way to use a bobby pin?!

Like most of you, I use bobby pins with the wavy side up. In other words, the flat side in against my head. In a recent article, Allure Magazine challenged this common hair knowledge. They stated that bobby pins were meant to be used with the wavy side down?! W.H.A.T?! I was in disbelief, shock… and even felt anger for some reason. I refused to believe that I’ve been using bobby pins the wrong way my entire life.

I mentioned the Allure article on Facebook and many of you (like me) were resistant to the “wavy side down” method. So… I set out to find the answer and went straight to the source. I got in touch with Goody and also talked to a few hairstylists.

Do you know how to use your bobby pins?
Are you using your bobby pins the correct way?

So here’s the deal: There’s no wrong way to use a bobby pin! Wavy side up and wavy side down both have their own set of benefits. Hooray! I haven’t been using them the wrong way all my life~ Also, I’m so happy to have learned a new way to use the good ole trusty bobby pin.

Benefits of using bobby pins with wavy side up:

  • Flat side is longer so it’s easier to slide into hair with the wavy side up.
  • Adds dimension and texture.
  • Seamlessly blends in with curly hair.

Benefits of using bobby pins with wavy side down:

  • According to Allure and Goody, it’s supposed to provide a better hold.
    (I personally don’t think so. Think my “Sticky Bobby Pin” trick works better at helping the bobby pins stay in place, and holding my hair.)
  • Leaves a clean neat appearance on straight hair.
  • You can color or decorate the flat part of the bobby pin (as pictured on right)!

I’m still (and probably will always be) a wavy-side-up kinda girl… but I can appreciate the fact that there’s another right way. πŸ™‚ Who knows… depending on the look I’m going for, I may choose to use the wavy side down for a change!

So… are you a wavy-side-up or wavy-side-down girl?~ LMK in the comments below!

Until next time, stay pretty… inside and out. xoxo

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  1. Jayme
    February 15, 2016 / 8:05 pm

    Actually the bobby pin as we know it was patented in 1929. It was created to hold the ‘new bob’ in place. The waves were designed to go on the outside portion. The wavy side, which is also the shorter part, was designed with the tip sticking up for ease of application to the hair. I am posting a link to the patent and if you click on the picture and enlarge it you can see the wavy side showing on the head drawing.

    In 1949 there was a following patent to curve the bobby pin to fit the head better, again with the wavy side up.

    • January 9, 2017 / 5:09 pm

      My whole life I had slippery straight hair. Bobby pins, wavy side down NEVER worked for me. They slid right out. 50 years later, still with slippery straight hair, I saw someone wear them wavy side up. Gave it a try. They never fall out.

  2. Evangeline A
    October 7, 2014 / 7:16 pm

    I use mine wavy side up. BUT I always bend my bobby pins so they keep the contour of my head…..

  3. September 6, 2014 / 2:58 pm

    Just a thought wouldn’t the little flick on the bobby pin poke you in the head if it’s wavy side down?

    • Rachel
      December 12, 2014 / 10:39 am

      But wouldn’t the little flick stick out from your head if you put it in wavy side up?

  4. Liz
    March 20, 2014 / 3:58 pm

    What I find amusing is people that think that wavy side down is wrong lol! There is no right or wrong here just use as you prefer, voila! Although according to one of the comments here in beauty school the right way is wavy side down πŸ™‚

    • April 8, 2014 / 12:50 am

      Agreed. Both ways serve different purposes, so either way is right!

  5. Britt
    March 8, 2014 / 4:02 am

    I use it whichever way it goes on

  6. February 28, 2014 / 10:29 pm

    I remember from grandmother, and mom, and when they did my hair, always little grabbers as I thought of the waves on bottom.
    As said here already, if loose going in, well that means not having a snug grip, so loose it is coming out!
    All this talk about so glad I didn’t use a bobby pin the wrong way, I mean would that really be such a tragedy?
    If it is, I want your life,

  7. February 27, 2014 / 11:07 pm

    I have been a licensed stylist for almost 18 yrs and I have never until Facebook even heard of applying the pin wavy said down. The only thing they ever mentioned in school was not to force open your pin because it will slide right back out the loop at the end is all its meant to hold then lock them in place I use pins wavy said up unless its decorated otherwise:)

  8. Lilium
    February 25, 2014 / 5:04 pm

    Pins never really work for me. I have thick wavy hair…

  9. November 2, 2013 / 5:44 pm

    Love that you went to the source to sort this out! Thanks!

    • November 2, 2013 / 7:38 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I wanted to provide the most accurate information! Please visit again! Xoxo

  10. Wyllow
    September 15, 2013 / 4:32 am

    When I was a kid, I think wavy side down was how my grandma did it, but I usually just go for the easiest method, which is wavy side up. My hair is super fine and straight, and I just tried it way side down and it does seem to stay in place easier. I never would have thought it made a difference.

  11. August 17, 2013 / 4:46 pm

    I’ve only ever used it the right way – wavy side down. I had no idea that the whole lady universe didnt! I could have saved the world by now… Sorry my women.

    • August 21, 2013 / 12:59 am

      Thanks for visiting and for the comment. This is why sharing information is important! hahaha… Women need to help other women πŸ˜‰

  12. Carolyn Shelton
    May 5, 2013 / 8:48 am

    I am in my sixties, and when I was young, bobby pins weren’t to be seen in the hair–but hidden. I was surprised as they made a come back with a fashion flair. I asked several young ladies about which side should be up and EVERYONE said the wavy side. I couldn’t remember, so I actually “recaptured the feel” of the bobby pin, and the wavy side DOWN was how we did it back in the day:) I put it in my hair–tried it both ways–and it only felt right wavy side DOWN. I am pleased to know that either is acceptable, and if I can get over the cloud that it IS fashionable to display bobby pins, I shall adorn my hair with them:):)

    • May 6, 2013 / 9:55 pm

      thank you so much for your comment! it’s great to know that there’s no wrong way to use a bobby pin. πŸ™‚ hope to see you on prettygossip often!

  13. KC
    March 25, 2013 / 12:42 pm

    Wavy side down holds 1000x better in my straight fine hair. It’s what they teach you in beauty school as well! While it’s easier to slide it in the other way,that’s what leads to it slipping. Easier in = easier falling out.

  14. Yuki
    January 1, 2013 / 6:31 am

    I use wavy side up. It just seems natural for me. I agree with prettymom, the way the flat side is longer does make it easier. Also the long flat piece seems like it was designed to fit the shape of your hair or head, it is curved. And if I was to wear it with the wavy side down, it would not fit the shape and the curved long flat bit will be now curved up. looking awkward. :/ ^.^

  15. September 21, 2012 / 3:45 am

    i’ve always used wave side up. like you said, the flat side is longer and easier to slide in. i tried the wavy side down after reading this. nah, doesn’t feel right.

    • June 25, 2013 / 8:58 pm


  16. September 21, 2012 / 3:43 am

    wavy side down and I have natural curls. I have always thought it held better and are less visible in my dark hair. Never did research though – glad to see there is no wrong way!

  17. September 12, 2012 / 10:11 am

    I definitely use my bobby pin wavy side up! I think decorating the flat side could be a cute idea, but since I am always loosing one I probably wont put too much time into decorating my bobby pins! hahaha πŸ˜‰

  18. September 8, 2012 / 2:08 am

    I’ve never actually thought about this… Probably because my bobby pins are flat on both sides. πŸ˜€

    Sandra from The Puzzle of Sandra’s Life

  19. September 7, 2012 / 9:26 pm

    wavy side down and I have natural curls. I have always thought it held better and are less visible in my dark hair. Never did research though – glad to see there is no wrong way!

  20. September 7, 2012 / 5:49 am

    i’ve always used wave side up. like you said, the flat side is longer and easier to slide in. i tried the wavy side down after reading this. nah, doesn’t feel right.