The 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 "nape of the neck." A chignon is best understood, not as a single style, but as a family of hairstyles, all characterized by the up-sweep and pinning of hair that has been gathered at the nape of 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 different accessories, products, and techniques can take your chignon from the office to the gym to a night on the town. Learn to create this gorgeous style in seven simple steps.

Steps for How to Create a Chignon

1. Start with clean, dry hair. Use a wide-toothed comb to detangle the hair and carefully remove any knots. Apply styling gel or mousse for added control if desired.

2. At this point, you may part your hair, and pull out some strands to frame your face if you so choose. Use a paddle brush to smooth the remaining hair back, and brush it into a low ponytail. Pull tightly for a cleaner, more formal look. Keep it loose and supple for a more casual appearance. Secure the ponytail with an elastic band.

3. Split the ponytail into two equal halves. Twist the two halves together to form a rope (this is also known as a double-strand twist).

4. Lift the rope up and loop it around the elastic band to form the chignon.

5. Secure the chignon to the scalp using hair pins, bobby pins and/or chopsticks.

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

7. Finish with your favorite hairspray for added sheen and hold.

Random Tips and Advice

For added body, use a large curling iron or rollers to build loose curls into the hair before forming your ponytail. Also, make sure that the ponytail is not pulled too tightly to the scalp.

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

Use two bobby pins to form a crisscross in places where an extra-firm hold is needed.

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

Be creative when it comes to placement. Try forming a chignon off-center or higher up on your head.

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

Visit and learn how to create the perfect updos for your special occasion - like prom hairstyles,wedding hairstyles, or hairstyles for any other special occasion. Peruse instructions on how to make the most of your hair whether it's curly, short, long or straight.
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