Updo Hairstyle Tips: How to Create a Chignon

Chignon (pronounced SHIN-yawn or shin-YAWN) is a classic updo that can be worn for formal or informal occasions. A simple and elegant style, the chignon, comes from a French phrase meaning "the neck". A chignon is best understood, not as a single style, but as a style of hairstyle, all of which are characterized by the upset and clamping of hair that has been collected in the neck.

"French roll", "hair knot" and "bun" are all different names for types of chignons. Once you have learned the basics you will discover how various accessories, products and techniques can take your chignon from the office to the gym to a night on the town. Learn to create this wonderful style in seven easy steps.

Steps for creating a Chignon

1. Start with clean, dry hair. Use a widened comb to remove the hair and carefully remove any knots. Apply styling gel or mousse for extra control if desired.

2. At this time, you can split your hair and pull out a few strings to frame your face if you choose it. Use a paddle brush to smooth the remaining hair back and brush it in a low ponytail. Draw tightly for a cleaner, more formal look. Keep it loose and smooth for a more relaxed look. Secure the ponytail with an elastic band.

3. Divide the ponytail into two equal halves. Rotate the two halves together to form a rope (this is also called a double-stranded twist).

4. Raise the rope and lure it around the elastic band to form the chignon.

5. Secure the chignons to the scalp using hair pins, bobbin needles and / or chopsticks.

6. Use rollers or a flat iron to curl or bump the threads on the front of your face if desired. Alternatively comb comb and other long hair pieces back against the chignon and secure with the pins. Add jewels, barrettes or flowers for a decorative touch.

7. Finish with your favorite hair spray for extra shine and hold.

Random tips and advice

For extra body, use a large jar or rollers to build loose curls in the hair before shaping your ponytail. Also, make sure the ponytail does not fall too hard on the scalp.

Soft, silky hair can be slippery and therefore difficult to secure with the pins. Try to combine or tease the hair before styling to add consistency and make the hair easier for the pins to grip.

Use the two bobby pins to form an intersection in places where an extra firm grip is needed.

Drive some styling gel through your ponytail to tame the fly-aways.

Be creative in terms of placement. Try to form a chignon outside the middle or higher up on the head.

There are hundreds of "twists" on the basic chignon. Try doing one with a single-stranded twist or multiple double-stranded twists. Experiment with rolling and squeezing a part of your ponytail and then winding the rest or a free form variation using only the pins. Good luck and most of all, have fun!