Monday, April 13, 2009

How to Create a Braided Chignon

Loose hair, cascading over the shoulders is always lovely but what about those times when you just want to put your hair up, yet still look polished?

For as long as I can remember, I have had extremely long hair past my shoulders but more often than not, I put my hair up when I need to run errands and/or get work done. And after all these years, I have finally figured out how to create the perfect chignon.

First, what is a chignon? Its basically a bun or knot worn at the nape of the neck. At fashion week, whether its in New York or Paris or fall or spring, you can bet the the chignon will be on at least a few runways because it is just so classic.
I like to add a braid to the chignon because it adds a little twist to a classic look!!
How to create a braided chignon:
1. First, make sure your hair is long enough. Hair that is to or past the shoulders is of sufficient length - the shorter the hair, the more pins you'll need and the messier the chignon tends to look.
2. Work with "day-old" hair - that is, hair that was washed the day before rather than the day of. Hair is easier to work with when it is not freshly washed. Dampen dry hair just a bit with water and if you didn't use any styling product after washing, use a bit of mousse for hold.
3. Brush or comb hair back into a low ponytail. The ponytail should be at about the height of your ears. Secure with a rubber band. Its your choice whether to part hair or leave it unparted - I prefer a side part.
4. Braid the hair from the rubberband down. Secure the end of the braid with another rubber band. For me braiding the hair, rather than twisting it up into a bun immediately, is KEY in order to tuck in all the shorter layers you might have.
5. Wind the braid into a bun. Wind the braid around the base of the ponytail around and around in a circle until you come to the end of the tail. While holding the chignon in place, put yet another rubber band around the chignon to hold it in place.
6. Secure the braided chignon with pins. Hold the braided bun in place with the "U"-shaped hair pins. For fine hair, the thin metal pins work well. If you have thick hair like mine, try the Scunci Magic-Grip Hair Pins, which you can find at Walgreens or CVS. These plastic pins withstand really thick hair without bending in half as I have experienced with the thin metal pins!
7. Set the braided chignon. Spray hair lightly with hairspray and you're done!


  1. Lovely! Great polished look. I've never been able to manage one due to hair thickness but I have high hopes for this one! Also thanks for the heads up on the U shaped clips! My Mom has them from India but I've been dying to find them here.

  2. Thanks desipolitan! Let me know how those pins work for you if you try them out!


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