Bouffant Hair

Bouffant hair style
Messy Modern Bouffant

Welcome the hair fashion comeback of recent years, bouffant hair. A brief search through style history will reveal that this styling technique has been around for centuries. Learn more about bouffant history and the modern variations of this sexy style.

The History of the Bouffant

The word "bouffant" comes from the French word, "bouffer" meaning to "puff up" or "puff out." During the 17th Century, this high-standing style came by way of expensive powdered wigs. French aristocrats took great pains to order wigs that stood tall on the scalp often loaded with jewels, silk ribbons and even imitation birds. These high wigs became a symbol of excess of the French monarchy before the French Revolution. Fashion icons of the day like Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, made this puffy style increasingly popular.

The Bouffant style returned in the mid-20th century around 1960. Cultural icons like First Lady Jackie Kennedy wore mini bouffants everyday. The bouffant became the go-to style for evening and event glamor. From the puffy back lift to the sweeping beehive, the bouffant became the hair style standard for at least a decade.

In different incarnations, this iconic hairdo has seen a revival in top fashion modeling and modern style. Today, a small bouffant or puff at the back of the head is also used for adding volume to thin hair.

Bouffant Step-By-Step

Full Bouffant

Wear a full pretty bouffant that cinches your entire head of hair. A full bouffant works well with long hair. These step-by-step instructions will show you how to copy this swanky style.

  1. Curl your hair with large hot rollers or use a large curling iron. Curls should not be too tight, just curled enough to give volume.
  2. Create a part in the front of your hair with the tip of a fine-toothed comb.
  3. Divide the hair into 3 sections, one at the back and two on either side of the head.
  4. Brush the back section of the hair with your comb and cinch it on top of your head in a high ponytail. Use a plain ponytail holder to cinch the hair.
  5. Use the fine-toothed comb to tease the ends of the hair, back combing it. Do this by sliding the comb from the tip of the hair to the root 2 to 3 times in each 1-inch section.
  6. Pull the ends of the ponytail above the ponytail and tuck it under, making a bun. Cinch the puffy bun in place with pins.
  7. Move to one side of the head. Clip the top portion of the hair off to the side.
  8. Back comb the underneath portion that is still showing, teasing 1-inch sections. Unclip the top portion and allow it to cover the teased hair.
  9. Smooth the side over back over the bun at a 45 degree angle. Pin the hair in place covering the bun.
  10. Repeat this for the opposite side.
  11. Smooth the hair with your fingers and seal it in place with hairspray.

Mini Bouffant

Marie Antoinette's bouffant.

Wear a mini bouffant for retro glamor without a lot of time and effort.

  1. Style your hair with hot rollers or straighten it with a flat iron.
  2. Pick up a 3 to 4 inch wide portion of hair located at the crown of the head.
  3. Lift the hair teasing the portion underneath with a fine-toothed comb. This will create the mini bouffant.
  4. Lay the hair down gently smoothing the top hairs in place.
  5. Spray the hair with styling spray to keep it in place.

Bouffant Variations

With the bouffant hair style there are many variations. You don't have to commit to a full bouffant to enjoy this look.

  • Bouffant bangs: Tease up the bangs only, back combing them to add volume.
  • Flat iron styles: Use a hot flat iron to fold over portions of the hair into a sleek bouffant style.
  • Bouffant inserts: Don't spend time teasing, add an insert like the Bump It for a quick lift.

Who Is Wearing Them

Wonder who's sporting a bouffant? Many celebrities like this look. Here are a few popular figures that have been spotted wearing this lifted style.

Try It Yourself

Wear bouffant hair and you'll garner some attention. Try this puffy, voluminous look yourself at your next special event. If you don't have time to practice back combing and pinning, ask your hair stylist to help you get this look. Review some pictures of your favorite looks and bring them with you to the appointment.

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Bouffant Hair