The chignon is a great "updo" hair style for a special occasion. It shows off your neck and shoulders, and highlights your cheekbones as well as the great earrings or necklace you are wearing!
A chignon is basically a bun, this is what makes it so versatile. Unless your hair is very short, almost anyone can wear it. Done properly, it will stay in place all night so you don't have to worry about your hair. While there are a lot of updo hair styles, this isn't a harsh "librarian" bun; a chignon is softer and looser, which gives you versatility. And once you know how to do it, the chignon is great if you are in a rush to get out the door! Follow these hair styling tips to give your hair this updo:
- Wash hair. Most stylists recommend washing your hair the day before an event - it's easier to style that way. The oils on your scalp will have time to accumulate and travel down the hair shaft when you brush your hair. This means your hair will be smoother, shinier, and more pliable.
- Brush hair. When you go to style your chignon, brush your hair out so it's smooth. Now would be the time to decide where to put your part (middle or side), or if you just want to brush it straight back.
- Use Product. Most people need to add a little texture to their hair so the final chignon will stay in place. For that, you will need a styling product. Choose one that you're comfortable with; this isn't the time to find out that a product makes your hair look like straw.
- If you choose gel, lightly spritz down your hair with water, then apply a small amount to your hair and work it through, making sure to get even coverage. Be sure not to use too much!
- If you are using mouse, do the same, either on wet or dry hair - whatever works better for you normally.
- You can also just use hairspray on dry hair. Just make sure to keep the can moving so it doesn't end up too crunchy. Use enough to give your hair some hold.
- If your hair is very thick or wiry, you may choose to use a smoothing serum instead of a holding agent.
- Pomade works for both smoothing and thickening if you're not comfortable with any of the above, or need both smoothing and thickening at the same time.
- A great texturizer is ISH Rescue "I Love My Hair" Styling Spray; it doesn't use plastic as an ingredient like many styling agents do, so it's actually good for your hair, and it works just like hairspray.
- Pull your hair into a ponytail. Don't make it too tight; you'll need some give to the base of the ponytail in order to style your chignon. If you're a little klutzy when it comes to hairstyling, you may want to put an elastic band (always a covered elastic band! Be nice to your hair!) where your ponytail starts, or alternatively, a small piece of string or a clip - just remember to take it out before you leave!
- Take the ponytail and divide it into two parts. Twist them together tightly into a spiral. If you want more control or for your bun to look more ornate, you can put your hair in a braid instead.
- Secure the end of the twist with a covered elastic.
- Get your hands positioned to curl. Hold where the ponytail starts at the nape of your neck with one hand, and take the ponytail/braid in your other, lifting it up to a couple of inches above the base of your skull.
- Curl the ponytail. From the base of your ponytail, start to curl the twisted ponytail into a bun. You can do this simply by twisting the twisted ponytail, and the beginning of the bun will start.
- Start to pin the chignon in place. As you continue twisting, you will need to pin the chignon in place to keep it from falling out. To do this you will need to catch a little bit of the hair from the chignon, and secure it to the hair on the back of your head.
- You can use thin bobby pins that match the color of your hair, or use ornate jeweled ones to dress up your hair. If you go with bobby pins that match the color of your hair, make sure to pin them in deep and spread a little hair over them so it looks like your hair effortlessly stays up. If you are using jeweled hair pins, obviously you want to show them off, but put the actual pin part deep enough into the bun that all you see is the jewels.
- How many pins and how often you pin depends on how thick your hair is and how much control you want on your chignon; if you would like it a little messy, then use less pins. If you want it to stay smooth and in place all night, use more pins. If your hair is thick or long (or both), then you will need more pins than the person with thin or short hair.
- Remember to use more pins in the middle (aka the beginning) of your bun. That is where the majority of the weight of the chignon will be, and it will need the most support there.
- Keep twisting. Continue to twist and wrap each layer of the chignon, and continue to pin at the intervals that need support (see Step 9). Hiding the pins will get trickier as you work towards the "outside" of your bun. Make sure to pin from the inside (the side of your hair that faces the center of the bun).
- Secure the end. As you get to the end, tuck the ends of your hair under the chignon (back into your hair). Put a final pin there, or if you want it a little messy, put a pin an inch or so before the ends and leave the ends free and sticking out. This looks best if you can get the ends back at the nape of your neck. "Poof" them a bit by running the palm of your hand over the ends very lightly.
- Alternately, use a hair stick. If you know how to use a hair stick (kind of like a decorative chopstick), you can use that as an alternative to pins. Make the bun as described above, and instead of pinning it, work the hair stick through on a diagonal, weaving it between the bun and the hair on the back of your head. You can even use two for more control and for more decoration. You may still need a few pins, so keep them handy just in case.
- Finish with hairspray. Spray your chignon in place with hairspray.
Now that you know how to style hair, you're ready to go! The chignon hair style seems like a lot of work, but once you have practiced it a few times, it is a really fast updo that looks great. And if any hair disasters occur, it is easy enough to re-twist in the ladies room!