The chignon – tough to pronounce, difficult to master and sounding vaguely like a fancy brand of French cheese. We hear the word tossed around way too often in the beauty world, but what exactly does it mean? A quick Google search brings up all sorts of hairstyles, from sleek buns to stiff rolls to intricate twists. So what is it that sets a chignon apart from, say, a bun?
Time for some History of Hair 101: chignon is actually a shortened version of the French phrase chignon du cou, which means “nape of the neck.” And therein lies your answer – though there are many variations, a chignon is traditionally worn low and near your neck, while a bun can be braided, twisted and placed anywhere on your head. It is also considered a hairstyle reserved for more formal occasions, though we see nothing wrong with adding some texture and rocking it to the office.
Whether or not you have a black-tie event planned for your future, we dare you to try our simple, chic chignon – all the better for you to channel that elegant French je ne sais quoi, of course.
1. Gather your hair as you would if you were making a half-pony, with 2/3 of your hair in the ponytail. Clip this top section away.
2. Twist the remaining bottom section of hair (section 3) into a bun and secure in place with bobby pins. For a fuller appearance, tease this section and give a spritz of texturizing spray (we love L’Oréal Professionel Densité Thickening Primer) before creating the bun shape.
3. Unclip the top section of your hair and divide it in half, split diagonally down the middle from left to right.
4. Taking the right section (section 2), wrap it over and around the bun in a counterclockwise direction and pin it in place. Repeat this step with the section 1, crossing it over the bun in a clockwise direction and pinning it in place.
Finish with a strong-hold hairspray like Ganier Full Control Anti-Humidity Hairspray to set everything in place. If you have any tendrils left in the front, use a 1-inch barrel curling iron to create pretty, face-framing curls.
And there you have it – a simple, chic and elegant chignon you can wear on the daily or save for special occasions.
Are you a chignon convert? Any chignon tips of your own? Spill below!
Illustration: Laura Jennings for Makeup.com