A plain bobbing pin
|Other names||hair pin|
A bobbing pin (also known as a bobby pin, or a kirby grip or hair grip in the United Kingdom) is a type of hairpin, usually of metal or plastic, used in coiffure to hold hair in place. It is a small double-pronged hair pin or clip that slides into hair with the prongs open and then the flexible prongs close over the hair to hold it in place. They are typically plain and unobtrusively colored, but some are elaborately decorated or jeweled. Bobbing pins became popular in the 1920s to hold the new bobbed hairstyles.
The main use of a bobby pin is to hold hair in place. In addition to bobbed hair, bobby pins are often used in up-dos, buns, and other hair styles where a sleek look is desired. To use a bobby pin in hair hold the hair in the desired position and push the bobbing pin (wavy side down) into place.
They can be used as decorative elements in hair.
Attributes such as the clipping action or the having a readily available thin, flat piece of metal mean the bobby pin can be use in other ways as well:
- As makeshift lockpicks by straightening out two bobby pins to pick the lock.
- They can be used in place of a clothespin for drying lightweight articles.
- They can be used as clips to hold multi-portion packages closed between uses.
- They can be slipped over book pages as a bookmark.
- Bobby pins may be used to thread laces through pre-cut holes in leather and other heavy materials.
Like barrettes, decorated bobbing pins are sometimes meant to be noticed in hair. A decorated bobbing pin can have beads, ribbons or other details on it, and is usually worn to pull back front sections of hair while looking decorative.
Bobbing pins may also be tinted a hair colour, such as blonde, brown, or red to blend better into the hair.
Some are made without the wavy rigid side and instead are smooth and curved. They are made this way to help with the grip factor and they stay closer and more tightly attached to the hair that it is pinned to.
Bobby pins may also be padded in order to avoid creasing the hair.
In 1899 the bobbing pin came into wide use as the hairstyle known as the "bob cut" or "bobbed hair" took hold. This trend gained popularity in the 1920s because the hair grips kept their bobbed hair in place. A trademark on the term "bobbing pin" was held for some decades by Smith Victory Corporation of Buffalo, New York. A trademark infringement claim made by Smith Victory Corporation against Procter & Gamble regarding their naming their home permanent product Bobbi was settled in the 1950s by a payment to Smith Victory Corporation by P&G. The term is now in common usage and therefore is no longer a valid trademark. Similarly, the British "kirby grip" is derived from the trademark Kirbigrip, used by a Birmingham manufacturer of such pins, Kirby, Beard & Co. Ltd.
- SHUNATONA, BROOKE. "20 Life-Changing Ways to Use Bobby Pins". Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- Seventeen Magazine. "behold, bobby pin power". Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- Theriault, Myscha. "25 Practical Uses for Bobby Pins". Retrieved 12 December 2012.
- sashon, steven. "Tips for Lacing Tarahumara-style Huaraches Running Sandals". Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- CHANG, BEE-SHYUAN. "Bobby Pins Are His Weakness". Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- kirby-grip. Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition, 1989. Accessed 2 September 2011. 
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