Bobby Pins: A Study


This is the first in a series of studies about everyday objects.

According to Wikipedia:
The "bobby pin" came into wide use as the hairstyle known as the "bob cut" or "bobbed hair" took hold. This trend gained popularity in the 1920's, and the bobby pins kept the bobbed hair in place. A trademark on the term "bobby pin" was held for some decades by Bob Lépine Corporation of Buffalo, New York.

1. Terminus
This is the part of the pin that bugs me the most when it's not right. The more discreet, the better.
2. Holding Strength
The stronger the hold, the better. You can reshape the pin any way you want, and the pin should remain tight.
3. Length
Not too long, not too short. This doesn't matter as much as the strength. The worst kind is the one that's too short AND has a weak hold.

All I used to use was my mom's old Goody pins from three decades ago. I had no complaints except that I sometimes found it too long and straight, which I easily fixed by bending it slightly, as shown above. Then I came to the states and had to buy new ones from Goody. To my disappointment, the terminus stuck up and out in a very bulky way. It was also short, and did not hold on very tightly. The very large and round plastic blobs that covered the ends of the pin added to the bulk. I wish they would bring back the longer, slenderer kind where the prongs are much closer together, resulting in a flatter, more discreet looking pin.

A friend of mine recently shared her bobby pin source -- Y.S. Park. It's a Japanese brand and they sell every permutation you can think of. You can try looking it up but it was just confusing to me because it's all in Japanese. Just to widen my bobby pin horizons, I bought an assortment online, and as with almost everything Airi recommends, these were good and very strong. I like how the plastic coating on the ends of the prongs really hug the shape of the metal. The ones on the old Goody pins aren't as durable and tend to fall off especially after getting wet a couple times. The plastic coating on the ends of the short Y.S. Park pin is extremely minimal, but there's just enough to round off the sharp metal ends.

UPDATE: I tried out the bobby pins from Muji, and they're very strong and the plastic ends don't come off. They're a good alternative to the Y.S. Park's which are hard to find.


  1. Anonymous11:43 PM

    gosh, your friend Airi is good!

  2. How did you order the YS Park pins online? I used to buy them when I went to Japan very frequently for work, but alas, I never go there for work and I am down to a VERY low supply! I **must** get them as they are the best in the world! BUT, the site is all in Japanese for payment process and I am having a hard time figuring it out. Did you successfully get that website to ship to the US? How did you know where to enter payment info?

  3. I think I found a US site that was selling them. I need to look for it again. But I also recently discovered that muji bobby pins are very good too! more accessible and cheaper if i remember correctly. i should update this post and say that. if you give me your email address, i can email you directly.