This popular French hairstyle has never looked more chic.
Credit: Getty Images

If you're anything like us, the word 'updo' often conjures images of complicated, ornate styles that require copious amounts of bobby pins and hairspray. But there's a notably simpler updo that's been around for centuries and is currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity. Yep, we're talking about the oh-so-elegant, oh-so-chic chignon.

The History of the Chignon

The origins of this simple yet sophisticated style can be traced back to ancient Greece; it was also popular during the Victorian era, and again during World War II. These days, it's a staple look on the red carpet, but is also a style that can easily be recreated at home, and is amazingly versatile. "It's a classic style that's constantly evolving and modernizing," says Leonardo Manetti, master stylist at Rob Peetoom Salon Williamsburg.

Chignon comes from the French term "chignon de cou," which translates to the nape of the neck, says Manetti. Traditionally, that's where a chignon sits; it's a low bun or knot positioned at the bottom or nape of the neck. (That being said, Manetti says you can definitely take creative license with the placement, more on that in a moment.)

The Chignon Works on All Hair Types

Part of the beauty of the chignon is that it works on all hair types and textures, says Elizabeth Hickman, hairstylist and VaultBeauty member. As long as your hair is at least collarbone length (you need enough length to be able to pull it back), you can rock a chignon. Similarly, a chignon can either be super sleek and glam, perfect for a night out, or undone and messy, perfect for every day, notes Manetti. And on that note, let's not forget that it's a great way to keep your hair out of your face—think of it as the perfect alternative to a basic ponytail.

Best of all, creating a chignon is surprisingly easy and simple. Ideally, it works best on hair that isn't freshly washed, says Manetti, making this a great second-day style. If your hair is super clean, consider spritzing it with a dry shampoo or dry texture spray to add a little grip and hold, he adds.

How to Create a Chignon

For Short or Fine Hair


For Thick or Long Hair