Cart is empty Close mini cart

Your cart is empty

Browse our services

Jewelry for Your Hair: All About the Hairpin

Written by Anna Currell
February 21, 2024

There's jewelry for practically every part of your body. You’ve got rings for your fingers (or toes), necklaces for your neck, bracelets for your wrist, anklets for your ankles, and body jewelry for your ears, belly button, eyebrows, and more. But what about your hair? Your locks deserve some sparkle, too. Enter the hairpin. Hairpins have been around for centuries, and throughout history they’ve evolved into several different iterations. In this article, we’ll explore different hairpin styles, and give you tips on how to find and wear one yourself. 

A Brief History of Hairpins

Hairpins reached peak popularity in the late 1800s. Back then, elaborate updos were in fashion, and straight stick pins were used to hold the intricate braids, rolls, and knots in place. The classic U-shaped hairpin that’s still in use today emerged in the early 1900s. But as hairstyles became shorter in the 1920s, hairpins fell out of favor. They made a comeback in the 1940s and ‘50s when bobs and shags gave way to longer styles again. These days, hairpins are a timeless way to add flair to a bun or updo. In addition to being a functional, helpful way to keep your hair pulled back, they can also be stylish accessories that add the finishing touch to your look.

Types of Hairpins

From simple metal pins to bejeweled adornments, hairpins now come in many shapes and styles. Here are some of the most common.


The quintessential U-shaped pin can be found in lots of places, including clothing retailers with accessories collections and all the major department stores that have jewelry sections. Its long, rounded shape comes in varying sizes and is often made of metal or plastic. These are great for anchoring any basic updo, and their broad surface area leaves a lot of room for embellished designs or gems if you’re looking for something fancier.

Fork pin

As the name implies, these have a fork-shaped end with three tines that help gather and grab more hair in place. The tines also offer a stronger hold, which make the fork pin a more secure option for thicker hair or dense buns and updo styles. Look for a fork pin with flat tines to ensure the piece lies smoothly against the head and doesn’t hurt your scalp. 

Slide pin

A slide pin is made up of two different pieces that fit together. The first piece is an open shape, like a metal circle or oval — or it could be a leather patch with two holes in it — that sits against the top of the hair where it’s visible. The second piece is a slender rod or pin that weaves through the first piece to secure it to the hair, sort of like a more solid, elastic-free hair tie. This type of pin can slide cleanly into hair without catching or pulling, but it can only hold so much hair at a time.


Bobby pin 

A bobby pin is one of the smallest and most slender hair pins available. They’re often made of metal and feature a wavy, zigzag shape that grips hair securely. The ridged design also helps hide bobby pins beneath the natural texture, curl, or wave of the hair. Use a few to make it look like your updo is holding on its own, or choose embellished bobby pins with pearls, gems, or enamel on the outside for a more fun style. 

Hair combs

Hair combs are essentially flat combs that stick in your hair and secure your style in place. They’re not as functional as other hair pins as they can’t hold a lot of hair, but they definitely add some drama to a look. These intricate combs are usually made of metal or tortoiseshell and add some ornate detail to an outfit. They're often decorated with rhinestones or carvings, and they fit nicely into the top or side of a bun.


Barrettes come in various shapes and sizes and clip sections of hair together neatly. Barrettes are made of metal on one side (the part that fits under your hair) and can use any other fun material on top since it's the part of the clip that’s visible. Acrylic, plastic, and embellished metals are popular. Barrettes are a great option for holding back small amounts of hair, like pinning bangs aside. You can choose encrusted barrettes with gems or pearls for a more elaborate look. 


Wearing and Styling a Hairpin

When it comes to inserting pins, placement matters. Here are some tips:

  • For buns, insert two U-pins in a crisscross pattern for maximum hold. Place them at varying angles and depths within the hair.
  • When pinning braids up with bobby pins, hide pins within the braid itself or along the crease between braids. Pro tip: use multiple pins to keep the style in place.
  • If you find that small bobby pins tend to slide out of your hair, use a light hairspray to add grip before pinning hair into place.
  • For French twists or low chignons, insert a U-pin horizontally above or below the twist or bun. You could also crisscross two fork pins in an X pattern for maximum hold.

Do you have a hairpin that you want to make more personal? Want to upgrade a vintage piece for modern times? Add an engraving or decorate it with a gorgeous gemstone pattern. Our expert jewelers can help you design the perfect look for your hair jewelry.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments