So what is the deal with bobby pins anyway?

My friend Dina shared the news a few months ago that bobby pins are supposed to go in zig zag side down. It’s true. I confirmed that fact for her at dinner prior to her blog post.

She, and Linsday, were stunned. And so is everyone else who I share this information with. 

Lets cut to the chase: YES, put your bobby pins in zig zag side down (as in toward the scalp, or with the flat side being exposed). Why? Because it holds better and looks better.


The zig zag part of the pin “grabs” the hair beneath the section, and the smooth, straight part of the pin simply holds the hair down. Whether you are hiding your pins completely in a messy updo, or pinning your bangs back, always put them in zig zag side down. 

Don’t believe me? Give it a try and see how it works!


  1. says

    I remember watching one of your videos a couple months ago and you had mentioned that in passing. It caught my attention right away and I tried it the next time I used bobby pins. It holds so much better!! I am using half the number of pins now to put my hair up.

  2. says

    I’ve always worn them zig-zag side down. But what I want to know is when you buy the blanks with the extra metal circle (where you glue down your embellishment) – why do they have it on the wrong side? Drives me crazy!

  3. says

    I was very surprised to learn this as well!

    Except went I went to the mirror to “redo” my bobby pin and discovered that I already put them in the ‘correct’ way… Go my subconscious!

  4. says

    Only in the past 6 months or so since I started using bobby pins regularly did I discover the same thing – probably on someone’s blog! “Tis true – it does seem to hold my hair better!

  5. Jeannie says

    I have very fine hair and all bobby pins slid out of my hair (the ones pictures and the wider type pins). Magic grip hair pins are the only pins that work & stay put all day for me. Thank you for your vids. & tips! And enabling my new love of Aquage! I’m using the foam, in combination with their sea salt spray, and your loose curl waves for an awesome beach head look!

  6. says

    I just did a whole half-up ‘do this morning, and if I didn’t have so much hairspray in it and just perfectly positioned the way I want it, I would take it all out and redo it this way!

    I feel like I have been cheated out on fabulous hairstyles for 23 years!

  7. Anonymous says

    This way makes so much more sense! But why do decorative bobby pins have the decoration on the wrong side? If you wore them zig zag side down, the jewel or whatever would be under your hair.

  8. says

    I know it, that is the greatest tip I have learned in a long time, so happy you all helped me out that night. :)

    Ps–when I get back in town, I think we need to go to dinner!

  9. says

    Well of course, now that you say it, it makes perfect sense! I stick a bobby pin in my hair nearly every morning to keep my ‘growing them out’ bangs out of my face and I’ve been doing it wrong. This morning, I’m-a changin’ my ways. :)

  10. says

    Good to know that I have actually been wearing mine zig-zag side down for years. I have fine hair, bobby pins never really held in my hair all that well, and I HATED seeing the point stick up…sort of like when your ears poke through your hair (those of us with fine hair) YUK. I turned them over one day and never looked back.

  11. says

    I watched one of your videos a few weeks ago and noticed you said “zig zag side now” and since then I have been doing it. My hair is super thin and it’s hard for me to get bobby pins to stay in but flipping the zig zag side down has definitely helped. Thanks Kate :)

  12. says

    Haha, this is so funny to me… I’ve always assumed that they go in “zig zag side down.” It just makes sense to me, and I’m not that great at hair or anything!

  13. says

    It sounds so obvious now that you’ve said it, but I’ve struggled with bobby pins for years! “Should it go this way?” “Why isn’t it staying??” I’ve spent TIME trying to figure out BOBBY PINS. Thanks very much for the explanation!

    Thanks also for the tip about not styling hair without product in it. *duh!* Here I always thought I had unusually slippery hair…


  14. says

    I am cracking up at myself right now. As I’m reading this, I changed my bobby pins and it was like an “ah hah” moment! It feels so much more secure! I have fine hair and bobby pins literally fall out of my hair. Who knew,I was just using them wrong!

  15. says

    Very logical..makes perfect sense. New to your blog and am enjoying it. You’re such a cutie pie and I am learning so much about hair. I’m a Grandmom with thinning, very fine hair. Bought Aquage and think it’s great. Going to buy the flat iron you recommend too. Thanks for all the inspiration and great advice. My hair is the bane of my existence. Love you hair, btw. Merry Christmas!

  16. says

    I can’t flippin’ believe that! I’ve been using bobby pins for YEARS, and I feel like I’ve been lied to…Now I can’t wait to put my hair in a side updo (which I learned from you!) and see how the pins work when inserted properly! As usual, thanks for the great advice/info! :)

  17. says

    Oh em gee! I am just blown away! I use bobby pins on the daily and never knew the proper way to use them…until NOW! And it really does make a HUGE difference…a million thank yous, lady!! :)

  18. says

    Whoa this is shocking news! I have no idea why most people had it wrong (me included)! I guess, for me, it’s really just cause it was easier to grab the longer and pull it open slightly holding the short zig-zag piece, and slide it in! I will try it the right way next time :)

  19. says

    Every time I would hear you say zig zag side down in one of your tutorials I was like What?! Really?! I figured I was the only girl that didn’t know this information, haha!

  20. says

    I can’t believe if there was a correct and incorrect way to put in a bobby pin, why didn’t they come with instructions? Even shampoo says, wash, rinse and repeat. Of course, would we have read the instructions?

  21. Anonymous says

    I seriously cannot believe I never figured this out for myself. Thank Goodness for people like you to show the rest of us what should have been obvious!!!!

  22. says

    When I first looked at this post, I only saw the picture and the word “wrong” and I thought you were dissing her look or hair. My first thought was that I needed a serious makeover because she is so beautiful! LOL!

  23. Anonymous says

    weird. i wear bobby pins EVERY day, mini ones at that and always wear them zig zag side down, thought everyone did, haha.

  24. says

    I’ve been doing it wrong my whole life too….until I watched YOUR hair tutorial awhile back and caught that you said zig zag side down! I was baffled…until I tried it and it worked….much better hold…and I even noticed that it didn’t leave a “crimp” mark in my hair, ie, holding my bangs back during the day, then down for the evening. Yay! You are awesome! Thanks for learning all you can so I can learn from you!. :)

  25. says

    Okay, you made this blog stalker come out of hiding.
    I see the logic in this and will do it next time. But shouldn’t someone tell the manufacturers of cute bobby pins too. If you buy a fancy bobby pin the little flower, heart, pattern or whatever adorns it is on the wavy side…..

  26. Anonymous says

    Yes! I started doing this after you mentioned it the last time. It does work. Thanks for the awesome tips. I final know how to flat iron my hair because of you! Wendy in GA

  27. says

    I’ve always put the zigzags facing out, so I tried it the “right” way today. It didn’t hold better for me at all. I just used one on each side of my head for shorter pieces that don’t reach my ponytail. I don’t have a lot of product in my hair, just hairspray that I used so I could airdry it and have some waves/curls. My guess is that the bobby pins are Scunci brand, but I’m not sure. Is any part of the equation the reason why I’m not having the amazing results that everyone else is?

    I love your blog and appreciate all the work you put into making awesome tutorials! :)

  28. says

    First off thanks for taking the time to help so many people with what you do! I’m just curious, when would you use the “U” shaped bobby pins as opposed to the typical ones?

  29. Anonymous says

    I’m kind of surprised that so many people have been doing it “wrong”. I have TONS of decorative bobby pins too and they all have the decoration on the smooth (correct) side. Not sure where other people have been getting their decorative bobby pins from…..

    The new bobby pins make me mad though – the ends poke out more than the old style. I guess this is to make it easier to open, but all it does it make them more poky and show more. I’m hoarding all my old bobby pins now.

  30. Anonymous says

    I’ve always hated bobby pins because they don’t stay in my hair. They always just slide right off my head! Never imagined I was just putting them in upside down. Thanks!

  31. says

    I know this is probably stupid, but reading this post has bothered me for days! haha I’ve been doing hair for the last fifteen years or so, and that is absolutely not true. Bobby pins *are* supposed to go zigzag side up, thats why they’re packaged that way, thats why if you do a search and see things attached they’re on the zigzag side. Now if you said “Hey, do you have a problem with bobby pins staying in, try putting them in upside down!” I would be like “Good tip!” But to say they’re supposed to go in zigzag down just isn’t true. Sorry, just had to get that off my chest, it was making me crazy! :)

  32. says

    @melinda: I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. In my professional experience, and the hair that I’ve seen styled with bobby pins, zigzag down always works best! But keep doing your thing if that works for you.

  33. says

    No I wasn’t saying what works best, I was more just having issue with saying its *supposed* to go zigzag down. Its not made that way, even if it does work better down or not. It was just one of those things that got under my skin by the wording, does that make sense? I think you do beautiful hair and I love that you share with people how to do their hair with your tutorials, I’m all for better tips and tricks. I meant I didn’t like saying it was the wrong way to do it if it was zigzag up. Like I said, silly, just one of those things that got to me. :) Keep on keeping on!

  34. says

    Kate, have you tried flat pins? I just came across Conair Flat Pins in Velvet Touch, and they hold so well! They’re pretty thick, but I love their hold!

  35. says

    Thanks for the great info. I have fine hair and they never stay in my hair. But I’ve been doing it wrong. Also, I need to buy professional quality bobby pins. What brand do you use?

  36. Anonymous says

    I’ve always thought this way is right.. other people would say it wasn’t. So I’ve been right all along! It always made so much more sense that the zig zags catch the hair. The metal flat part just slides..

  37. Angela says

    Wow this is genius! I have very fine hair and have had no luck with bobby pins, small barrettes, etc. I just did a 2 twist braid in my bangs and voila it holds perfect with 1 bobby pins. Major Kudos to this blog!!!!!!!

  38. says

    this is such a great blog about bobbypins. i am a third generation manufacturer of bobbypins in India.
    i am also writing (or attempting to write :-) a blog about the Bobbypin and how it all started for us as a company.
    please visit us at

  39. says

    Personally, I do not believe this…. if this were true why would bobby pins with decoration on them have the décor on the wavy side? Are you trying to tell me the decoration goes face down? Don’t think so. AND when bobby pins are displayed in the store, if the wavy side is the “down side” or also known as the back; why would they be displayed with the wavy part facing you?? You don’t market a product backwards!!

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