The Great Bobby Pin Debate

Lucie Doughty offers a little background on what’s become every stylists’ best friend, the bobby pin.

Wavy side up or wavy side down? The longstanding “Pingate” debate among stylists is as deep-rooted as the invention itself. The bobby pin was created in the late 1800’s by a shoemaker, by the name Robert Pinney, to hold loose strands of twine together. His wife, Mrs. Pinney had the brilliant idea to use it in hair. In the 1920s as the bob haircut gained popularity, so did the pins as they were the ideal grip to hold the styled hair in place.

For decades, the Bob Lepine Corporation, held the trademark for the term “bobby pin” until the 1950s when Proctor & Gamble infringed on the term.  The two companies eventually settled. And after some time the term “bobby pin” became such a common name that it is no longer a valid trademark.[pagebreak]

Despite the bobby pin’s now confirmed role as a staple in hair society, it still doesn’t solve the 60+ year debate in regards to the most efficient way to place them — wavy side up or wavy side down? Peruse the Internet and you’ll find steadfast arguments supporting both sides. Staunch advocates of wavy side up argue that the flat side is more comfortable against the scalp and eases more naturally into the hair. While wavy side down yay-sayers have the point of view that their technique holds hair in place better, hands down. We say, at the end of the day, wear them however makes sense to you…as long as you wear them. [pagebreak]

As a session stylist I know the power of the pin while on-set. Thus I have just launched Straight Pin Studio, featuring The Essentials Kit - my personal blend of recommended stylist pins, padding, bands and nets (with a total of 600 hairpins total!). I created this kit in order to give stylists access to everything they need in one convenient kit, removing the guesswork and reducing the amount of time fumbling through a kit for the right tools. As well, since these kits are specifically curated based on years of experience, it eliminates having to run around town or order from multiple online supply houses. Now everything stylists need is in one spot, and they can purchase refills at

Through Straight Pin Studio I am also introducing The Trend Kit, featuring seasonal highlighted tools and instruction to create a specific look of the moment twice a year. The first one is called The Big Bun Trend Kit (as featured on these accompanying photos from the shoot). The Big Bun is this season’s must-have trend piece for any woman with shoulder length hair…an easy way to elevate a ponytail into an elegant top knot. For more how-tos using The Big Bun Trend Kit, visit Doughty

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