Chignon Hairstyle

Crystal Schwanke
high chignon

It's easy to take a spin on the classic chignon and give yourself the look of sophistication, romance, or both. You can dress chignons up or down, wearing them with everything from a pair of jeans to a wedding dress.

What Is a Chignon Hairstyle?

The chignon is a classic updo that features a bun at the nape of the neck. The hair can be parted in the middle, on one side, or brushed straight back with no visible part. A popular look showcases a lifted crown, thanks to light teasing at the top of the head before you pull the hair back into the low ponytail and begin to wrap it around the base. However, keeping the hair low and sleek against the head is another beautiful look.

Tendrils around the face will soften the look, but you may also wish to wear the chignon in a way that holds all of your hair in place and out of your eyes. You can secure a chignon with bobby pins, hair sticks, or a clip, and adding a headband is a great way to dress up the style and tie it in with the rest of your look.

Get the Basics Down First

Before you begin to experiment with placement, teasing, or accessorizing your chignon, it's important to know how to secure one into place. To complete a basic chignon:

  1. Apply mousse to damp hair and blow dry for volume.
  2. For extra volume, you can curl your hair with large rollers and then finger comb through the length to smooth it out and loosen the curls, but this step is optional.
  3. Sweep your hair back into a low ponytail, with or without a part.
  4. Secure the ponytail with an elastic that matches your hair color.
  5. Spray the ponytail and back comb the ponytail for volume, then smooth the top with a boar bristle brush using light pressure.
  6. Begin twisting the length of the ponytail about halfway down and quickly wrap the tail around the base.
  7. Secure the perimeter of the chignon with bobby pins in a color similar to your hair color.
  8. The back-combing should have provided quite a bit of volume, but if you need more in certain spots, you can use a rattail comb to gently lift sections that need a boost.
  9. Spray the hair again with hairspray.
  10. Smooth down any flyaways with hair serum and arrange any tendrils or bangs you chose to leave out of the chignon.

Variations on a Classic

Side Chignon

Make a deep part on one side of your head and bring all of the hair around into a low ponytail on the opposite side. Perform the same steps as you would in the basic chignon. This looks especially beautiful with side swept bangs.

High Chignon

Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker's High Chignon

Want to look like a graceful ballerina and give yourself a facelift at the same time? Try a high chignon, or top knot, by creating the basic chignon at the crown of the head. To keep this from looking too severe, you'll probably want to leave out a few face-framing pieces and make sure you don't pull the hair too tight. Instead of using a brush or comb to pull the hair up, use your fingers.

The Volumized Chignon

This chignon hairstyle can be placed to one side or in the middle at the nape of the neck. What makes it different from the basic chignon is the amount of height at the crown. Divide hair into horizontal sections across the top of the head. Spray one section at a time and back-comb the underside of each section of hair, working your way from front to back. Smooth the top section gently and pull the hair into a low ponytail. Once you've wrapped the elastic around to secure the ponytail, divide that hair into a top and bottom section. Split the bottom section into two smaller sections (left and right) and tug them apart to tighten the ponytail and emphasize the lift. Wrap the tail around the base as usual and bobby pin it into place to secure it.

Braided Chignon

This is the same as any of the styles above, but you braid the length of the ponytail before wrapping it around and securing it to the base. Teased hair combined with a loose braid will provide volume.

Accessorizing the Chignon

lauren conrad Lauren Conrad's Low Chignon

A headband adds color and emphasis around your face when the focal point of your hairstyle is in the back. You can choose one with a flower or other design attached and wear it on the opposite side from the chignon to offer balance to your look. It's also a trendy way to take a classic style and make it more modern and upbeat.

If you want a little pizzazz but prefer to keep the glamor in the back, near the chignon, a rhinestone ponytail holder, clip, or hair stick will look lovely. There are even chignon pins designed specifically for giving this type of hairstyle extra appeal. Just insert one through the base at a diagonal.

Chignons for Special Occasions

Chignon hairstyles are popular for special occasions, and they're easy to complete yourself. If you need more volume in order to cover a large portion of the head, you can pick up clip-in hair extensions to use for the big day. The ends will easily be disguised in the updo. The modern high chignon makes a beautiful backdrop for a tiara worn on a wedding day. If you choose a low chignon as a bride, you can pin flowers onto the side-either in white or to bring in some color and reflect the colors of your bouquet.

A spin on the basic chignon that looks more intricate involves splitting the ponytail into two sections (left and right). Twist one section toward your face, then wrap it around the base of the base of the ponytail. Twist the other section toward the other side of your face and wrap it the opposite way around the base of the style. Accessorize with rhinestone clips or sticks, or flowers.


There are endless ways to update the basic chignon, based on placement on the head, accessories, or even the method with which you twist the hair around. Twist one or multiple pieces around the base. Braid some of them and leave others straight. Switch up the part. Have fun and you may create your trademark style.

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Chignon Hairstyle