Bobby pins got their name because they were invented as a way to hold back bobbed hair (clever, right?). So they’re traditionally thought of as just a functional necessity, but we are here to tell you that they have the potential to be SO. MUCH. MORE. It’s all about showing off the pins now, rather than hiding them. And that means instead of buying ones that match your hair and tucking them underneath your style, grab a fun color that will contrast with your locks. Then get creative with arranging your pins in artful designs. One tip: try to find the longest pins you can; they’ll stand out better. Here, five of our favorite new ways to up your hair game with this incredibly basic beauty tool.  

The Reverse Bobby Crown
Want to take your slicked back party hairstyle to the next level? You can create this look by pulling your hair back behind your ears, then criss-crossing the pins on top of each other around the back of your head close to the nape of your neck.  

The Triangle

The triangle is a popular design idea with bobby pins because it’s really easy to do and is striking. This look can be created with just three pins, or you can add additional pins following the same pattern to create more dimension, as here. Basically you’ll want to use a gathering technique where you create ponytails from three sections of your hair by placing small elastics every inch-and-a-half, then gently pulling on the hair in-between the elastics to loosen it up. Now hook the pins into the top of two of the sections, angling them to make the triangle shape. Follow up by putting other hair pins parallel to the first ones.

The Three Band

This one is super simple: Where you would normally just use one bobby pin to hold your bangs, and then hide it with another chunk of hair, add a few more and leave them visible. But the key to making a statement is to make sure you space out the pins so you can clearly see each one.

The Ethereal Arrow

To create this dreamy look, you may need the help of a friend or hairstylist or have a good two- or three-way mirror so you can see the back of your head. Space out a line of bobby pins along each side of your center part, continuing halfway down the back of your head. Then turn the pins into a V formation along the part.

The Back Band

This style is very similar to the Three Band look. The only differences are that you’ll be sweeping your longer front pieces of hair around to the back of your head, and therefore you’ll need a few more pins. What we think makes this style so clever is that you take one of the sides of your hair and pull it just to the back of the side of your head. Then take the piece of hair from the other side and bring it all the way over so it covers the first pulled-back section. Secure the look with as many bobby pins as you need, separated about a half-inch apart.

So simple, so easy, so pretty, right?