Are you supposed to hide bobby pins?

Bobby pins are a common hair accessory used by many people, especially women, to hold hair in place. They can be used for creating various hairstyles like buns, updos, braids and to keep fringes and bangs in place. While they serve an important purpose, some people believe that bobby pins should be hidden from view when used in a hairstyle. So should you make efforts to conceal bobby pins or is it okay to let them show?

Quick Answers

Here are quick answers to some common questions about hiding bobby pins:

  • It depends on the hairstyle and occasion whether bobby pins should be hidden or not. For formal events, concealed pins look more polished.
  • Bobby pins can leave indents and cause damage when tightly clamped over hair. Try to hide pins under hair sections to avoid this.
  • Pins with colors and decorations are made to be shown as part of the style. Hide plain metal pins for a tidy look.
  • Strategic placement can keep pins hidden but still hold hair effectively. Place near the scalp or under thicker hair sections.
  • Hairspray or texturizing powder can disguise pins by blending them into hair. Just avoid getting sticky buildup on the pins.
  • When pins are covered by hair, cross them over each other to get a better grip. Crisscrossing pins adds stability.

Should Bobby Pins Show for Casual Everyday Styles?

For casual, everyday hairstyles, bobby pins showing is usually not a major issue. When you’re wearing your hair down or in a simple ponytail or bun for running errands, school, or work, having bobby pins blend into your hair is not essential. In fact, it can take more time and effort to carefully tuck pins into these casual styles when the look doesn’t require it. Having a few straight or cross pins visible can be perfectly acceptable and even expected for casualwear.

However, there are certain casual styles where you may want to put in some effort to conceal pins:

  • Defined parts or slicked looks: If you’ve taken time to create clean parts or slick down flyaway hairs for a polished look, visible pins can interrupt the sleekness.
  • Messy buns or ponytails: When going for an intentionally undone messy style, obvious pins tend to look out of place and ruin the casual vibe.
  • Braided styles: Pins securing the ends of braids are better hidden underneath the braid itself for a cleaner finish.

Tips for Hiding Pins in Casual Styles

Here are some tips to minimize the appearance of bobby pins in casual hairstyles when desired:

  • Place pins underneath the bulk of the hair itself, as close to the scalp/root area as possible.
  • Choose pins in colors that blend into your hair color, like black for dark hair or blonde/brown for lighter hair.
  • Set pins horizontally instead of vertically – the flat side is less noticeable.
  • For ponies or buns, crisscross pins near the hair tie or fabric scrunchie.
  • Spritz texturizing hairspray over pins to help them blend in with hair better.

Should Bobby Pins be Hidden for Formal Styles and Events?

For more formal hairstyles worn at events like weddings, proms, or black-tie functions, the expectations for hiding bobby pins are much higher. Visible pins in formal updos or intricate braided styles are widely considered a faux pas and can look sloppy. When you’ve taken time to style hair for a special occasion, concealing pins for a put-together, polished look is recommended and expected.

Some instances when pin concealment is especially important include:

  • Bridal hairstyles
  • Bridesmaid updos
  • Prom and homecoming hairstyles
  • Formal events like balls, black tie galas, award shows
  • Performance hairstyles for concerts, theater, dance recitals

Tips for Bobby Pin Concealment in Formal Styles

Achieving invisible bobby pins in elegant formal hairstyles requires precision and planning. Here are some techniques the pros use:

  • Place pins at the foundation close to the scalp or underneath upper layers of hair. Avoid outer layers.
  • Cross pins over each other near intersections for stronger hold. This anchors styles like braids and buns better with fewer pins showing.
  • Choose pin colors that exactly match your hair color. Blonde, silver, black, and brown pins have you covered for any hue.
  • Set pins horizontally and flat into hairstyles instead of vertically. The flat side blends in better.
  • Cover ends of pins with tiny fabric flowers, jewels, or pearls to disguise placement points. This is common for bridal styles.
  • Use hairspray, gel, or wax to slick down small hairs and cover pin ends.
  • For braids and twisted styles, tug at sections gently after setting pins to conceal them under overlapping hair.

Should Decorative Bobby Pins be Hidden?

Bobby pins made with designs, patterns, rhinestones, and colorful finishes are intended to accessorize and accent hairstyles. Pins that are decorative by nature should usually not be hidden. The main purpose of these pins is adding stylish flair and allowing them to show off is recommended. Bedazzled pins, floral pins, and hair pins with pearls or fabric bows all help dress up a hairstyle.

Some examples of hairstyles where decorative pins should be visible include:

  • Half-up styles
  • Formal updos – a few decorative pins can add elegance among hidden structural pins
  • Buns with textures and messy elements
  • Playful pigtail or braided styles
  • Vintage or retro hairstyles

The key is to pair decorative pins properly with hairstyles and placements. A heavily embellished pin likely won’t match a sleek, slick hairstyle. But used thoughtfully, decorative bobby pins can be the perfect finishing accessory touch.

Do Bobby Pins Damage Hair When Left In Too Long?

One downside to bobby pins is that when used incorrectly, they can damage hair. The tightly clamped metal can dig into hair, leaving indents, marking hair shafts, and even breaking strands when left in too long. This is why proper placement and removal of pins is important for hair health.

Some tips to minimize bobby pin hair damage include:

  • Don’t clamp pins down directly onto hair. Leave a slight space between the pin ends and hair.
  • Place pins at the base of hair sections next to the scalp or under thicker parts of hair when possible.
  • Insert pins horizontally instead of vertically – less pressure on hair.
  • Gently close pins just until they stay in place. Avoid leaving them clamped tightly.
  • Remove pins as soon as you’re able. Leaving them in for prolonged periods increases risk of indentations and breakage occuring.
  • Use pins with silicone or plastic tips instead of plain metal ends to minimize damage.

What are the Best Placement Tips to Keep Bobby Pins Hidden But Secure?

Proper placement of bobby pins is crucial for keeping them concealed while still holding hair effectively. Follow these placement tips from stylists when pinning hair:

  • Insert pins at the base of hair sections close to the scalp or scalp line. This anchors hair at the root for better security.
  • Look for intersections where you can crisscross pins over each other. Crossing pins distributes tension better.
  • Place pins horizontally underneath layers of hair rather than vertically. The flat horizontal side tends to hide better.
  • Use multiple smaller pins instead of few large pins. You can hide more pins discreetly for strong hold.
  • Set pins in opposite directions creating an X or cross shape. This anchors better than pins slid in parallel.
  • Angle pins to hook onto hair and use the curve of the pin to your advantage. This creates tension that secures styles.

Bobby Pin Placement Chart by Hairstyle

Here is a helpful chart summarizing optimal bobby pin placement tips for various hairstyles:

Hairstyle Pin Placement Best Practices
Buns Crisscross pins at intersections near the hair tie or base of bun.
Braids Hide pins underneath braid tails or crosses pins where braid segments intersect.
Twists or Fishtail Styles Pin at ends of twists pointing along the length of hair, then hide pins under overlapping hair.
Ponytails Secure loose hairs around ponytail base with pins crossed over each other.
Half-Up Style Place pins horizontally underneath outer layer of hair to anchor back section.

Bobby Pin Do’s and Don’ts

Follow these do’s and don’ts for maximizing the hold of bobby pins while keeping them discreet:


  • Do anchors pins underneath layers of hair for disguise and security.
  • Do crisscross pins for a better distribution of tension and grip.
  • Do use hairspray or texture powder to help blend pins into styles.
  • Do choose pin colors close to your hair color for camouflage.
  • Do remove pins as soon as possible to avoid prolonged hair damage.


  • Don’t clamp pins down tightly on hair. Allow a space between the pin ends and hair.
  • Don’t place pins vertically – the flat horizontal side hides better.
  • Don’t leave pins slid in parallel. Crisscross them instead for security.
  • Don’t use too few pins to save time. More hidden pins means better hold.
  • Don’t use heavy decorative pins for styles requiring discreet hold.


Mastering bobby pin placement is a skill every hair enthusiast should add to their repertoire. With the right placement tricks, bobby pins can provide excellent hold while remaining virtually undetectable. For formal styles, take the time to strategically conceal pins – it elevates the overall look. But for casual everyday hair, don’t worry about perfection. Just focus on keeping pins tucked under and anchored tightly to withstand your active schedule. With practice, concealed pins can give you the comfort to wear stylish updos and intricate braids without fear of strays. Let your beautiful hairstyle shine while your hardworking bobby pins remain the unseen heroes!

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