Hair Trends Updos

30 Pretty Chignon Hairstyles + What It Is & a History

Wavy Chignon Hairstyles

There are many chignon hairstyles out there, and so many beautiful ones that you can sport both for special occasions and even for everday wear, that we will be making a list to make it easier for you to pick one (or more!).

But before we get started on the many different chignon styles, we’ll first tell you a bit more about its history and origins. We’ll also be naming the elements that define and make the chignon hairstyle what it is and point out the differences between a chignon and a bun, to settle that matter.

So continue reading to discover the best chignon styles and also to find out more about this gorgeous hairstyle and its rich history and origins!

natalie dormer gif
via Giphy

What Is A Chignon? A History

As stated a bit above, the chignon is a very popular hairstyle that has an equally rich history. It’s origins have been traced back as far as Ancient Greece and more specifically, Athens. It was found that, at the time, even men wore them (but styled accordingly and a bit differently).

Also, the chignon was seemingly just as popular in Ancient China. It also seems to have been a marker of a woman’s marital status as married women wore a low and knotted (or braided?) version of the chignon.

The chignon made a reappearance and quite the strong comeback in 19th Century England and has since become one of the go-to hairstyles for special occasions – especially weddings.

What Is A Chignon Hairstyle

Another thing to know about the chignon is that its name (at least the current one) originates from French. More specifically, it comes from the phrase “chignon du cou” which means “bun at /[by the] nape of the neck”.

This is also one of the ways in which you can recognize a chignon hairstyle. The chignon is recognized as a low updo in that it is mostly made at the nape of the neck or low on the neck.

As you will see below, there are several other ways to style it as well, as variations now go to include high chignons and also side ones – which are also a very popular option.

Chignon hairstyles are traditionally worn for special occasions but have recently transitioned (once again) into an everyday style too.

30 Chignon Styles

I. Chignon by Hair Length & Hair Type

1. Chignon Hairstyles For Short Hair

As with all short haircuts, it is a bit harder to style a chignon out of short locks. But, as can be seen from the picture above, it is not impossible. It becomes way easier to achieve this once the hair reaches and even surpasses shoulder-length. Leave face-framing strands for extra effect.

2. Chignon Hairstyles For Medium Length Hair

Once the hair reaches medium length, it becomes both easier to style and more versatile. As can be seen from the image, this chignon is a bit more intricate than the one above (which used the roll and tuck method).

3. Chignon Hairstyle For Long Hair

Long hair, how we simply adore your variety of styling options. Here, you get yet another way of making a chignon (the third of many more to come) and also useful images that show how you can achieve this and how actually easy it is to make.

4. Curly Chignon Hairstyles

Curly hair can be a pleasure and a pain alike, especially when it comes to styling it. Many curly hairstyles simply let those curls run free, but there are also updos, such as this chignon, which gather the hair in intricate ways. Also, styles like this one help accentuate rather than hide away the curls.

5. Wavy Chignon Styles

In contrast, wavy hair is a bit easier to style – at least in terms of haircuts. The wavy chignon above looks very sleek and elegant even with the strands flying loose from the updo. We also love the twisted look of the updo.

6. Chignon on Perfectly Straight Hair

Perfectly straight hair will generally be the easiest to style in a chignon and almost any updo (provided it doesn’t have a fine texture, but that is a whole other thing to talk about). Also, just look at the intricacy of the updo!

7. Black Chignon Hairstyles

This is Afro-American hair at its finest! No product, no straightening, just the hair styled in a very interesting, twisted updo that goes to accentuate and draw attention to the hair texture – and to the pretty hair accessory too!

II. Chignons for Special Occasions & Styles

8. Chignon Bridal Hairstyles

Chignon hairstyles are a staple among wedding updos partly thanks to their elegance and refinement. Take your chignon to a whole other level by adding a hair accessory – like this subtly embezzled and very slim and elegant hair crown – you will look astounding!

9. Messy Chignon Hairstyles For Weddings

Another great thing about chignons is that they will look just as good no matter the styling! Namely, they can be sleek and perfect or messy and ‘disheveled’ and still look just as good. Take the messily styled example above – both the style and the accessories go to perfectly accommodate the veil as well.

10. Celebrity Chignon Hairstyles – Kate Beckinsale

What better source of hairstyle inspiration than our favorite celebrities? We’ve talked curly long celeb styles, we’ve discussed their layered bob looks, now, it’s time to admire their chignon looks.

With so many to choose from, we settled on this beautiful side and wavy chignon worn by Kate Beckinsale for a Red Carpet event some years back.

11. 1920s Chignon Hairstyle

Most people have come to associate the 1920s with super short hair and the flapper style but let’s not forget that some ladies still wore their hair long. And likely, when they did, they went for this side-styled, perfectly put together updo that is both practical and beautiful. In a word: perfection!

12. 1940’S Chignon Hairstyle

Similarly, the 1940s and 1950s are generally recognized and associated with big curls and exuberant styles (just think Victory rolls and pin-up looks).

These elements still stand true even among chignon hairstyles. This twisted chignon also incorporates big curls in its design – and the cooper hair color is just gorgeous too!

13. Classy and Classic Chignon Hairstyle

We’ve already established that the chignon is a very elegant and classy hairstyle, one that can be made all the prettier by adding hair accessories. And what better way to add an extra dash of elegance than with some pearl accessory? The different sized pearls help accentuate the lines of the updo.

14. Prom Chignon Styles

This pretty hairstyle will likely very much appeal to the tastes of our more nature-loving readers and to boho gals. Actually, the flower arrangement is so pretty, that everyone will fall for it!

The chignon was kept simple and minimally styled so that the flowers would draw all the attention and act as the focal point of this hairstyle.

III. Styles by Type of Chignon

15. Demi Chignon Hairstyle – Half Up

We’ve talked all about half up, half down hairstyles in a different article specially dedicated to them. However, we couldn’t miss the chance to point out that you can pair this style event with a chignon in what is called a “demi chignon”.

Instead of gathering all the hair in a twisted chignon, use only the upper portion of head hair while leaving the rest of the tresses hang loose and free down the back.

15. Side Chignon Hairstyle

The chignon can come in many sizes and shapes – so to say – as it is easy to style and create it in different ways. We will be showing you the most frequent and prettiest ones, and to do so, we’ll start with a side chignon.

This is likely the second most popular chignon style and it is made, as expected, on the side of the head rather than perfectly aligned in the middle of the head.

17. Low Side Chignon Hairstyle

We simply adore this low side chignon that combines and bring together the best in two other chignon styles. It is both a low updo (more on that up next) and it was made on the side of the head. The side-parted bangs go to complete the look and create a flow between the face and the updo.

18. Low Chignon Hairstyle

As promised, we’ll now be discussing a low chignon. There’s a bit of a contradiction in terms at play here as, although the chignon is called an updo, it is usually made low on the head. However, you can go extra-low, like above – and also a bit extra and create yours to be almost shell-like.

19. High Chignon Hairstyle

In contrast, discover that a chignon bun updo can also be made high up on the head, like in the photo above. This is a similar hairstyle to the ones worn in the 90s – but made modern and oh so beautiful by the slightly messy and free aspect and the face-framing strands.

20. Chignon Bun Hairstyles

A bit later on (towards the end of the article) we will be discussing about the differences between a chignon and a bun hairstyle. Still, until then, feast your eyes on this lovely chignon bun updo that was perfectly made and beautifully accentuates the blonde highlights on brown hair.

21. Chignon Updo Hairstyles

This is a very interesting chignon updo that uses a twist method to create an almost braided effect. The hair is arranged in large, ribbon-like sections of hair in the middle of the back with just some loose and face-framing strands being left free and out of this sleek updo.

22. Twisted Chignon Hairstyle

We’ve mentioned twists, not rejoice in seeing a chignon made entirely out of twists and whose charm lies in its intricate and voluminous look. It is a simple to make style but with such an impressive end result!

23. Braided Chignon Hairstyle

A simple search will return a multitude of braided chignon hairstyles. However, we chose to concentrate on the one above.

The hair is loosely braided in large section sections that twist and twine together. It is not a loose or tight kind of braid but rather a unique style that looks great on the slightly wavy hair.

IV. All the Chignon Love + How-Tos

24. Best Chignon Hairstyles for Casual Wear

Chignons are regarded (and truly are) a perfect hairstyle for special occasions, no matter their type. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear one as your everyday hairstyle. Give it a more relaxed look by pairing it with a hair scarf or a headband in your desired patterns.

25. Sleek Chignon Hairstyles

We’ve said it once and we will continue saying it – there are so many ways to style a chignon. Take this one, for example. The base is a low bun that is made all the more special by the twisted and braided aspect of the hai tie area at the nape of the neck. The free strands are optional but appreciated.

26. Easy Chignon Hairstyle Tutorial

We’ve talked all about how you can make the chignon in so many ways and now, we’re going to show you a few very useful ones. This first tutorial presents a simple way fo making the classic twisted chignon. As it is easy to see, it all starts from a simple ponytail base.

27. Chic Chignon Hairstyle

This chic chignon is a braided look that makes the look seem wavy-textured even though it is actually straight. A twisted and braided updo such as this one will work wonders and look great on thick hair and thin locks alike.

28. How To Do A Chignon Hairstyle

This is another way of making a chignon – especially a chignon bun type – with some help from hair accessories. A hair foam helper is added to hold the bun in place – and the bun is made by rolling sections of hair on around the foam. Hairpins are added to keep everything in place and to finish off the look too.

29. Braided Chignon Hairstyle How-To

This braided chignon style is complicated looking – enough so as to need a tutorial, which is exactly what we’re giving you above. As can be seen, the end updo is obtained through a series of braidings and twists – first of individual sections of hair and then of the resulting braided pony itself.

30. Twisted Chignon Bow Style

We’ll end this list of chignon hairstyles (at least for the moment) with another idea that can help transition the chignon into a more everyday wear look. This is a twisted chignon bow that has the classical twist made all the prettier (and more complex) through the addition of a ribbon.

Pick a larger or thinner, simpler or more complex ribbon according to tastes and occasion – this style can be easily adapted for everyday wear or special occasions alike.

Bun Vs Chignon

As promised, we will also be discussing the differences between a bun vs chignon, as chignons are also commonly described as buns.

The first thing to know is that these two terms are not interchangeable. While many chignons can be defined as (using) buns, most buns cannot be described or called chignons. Also, chignons can be used to describe other updos besides buns too.

One other significant and important difference between the two is in the styling itself. Buns can be worn all over the head – chignons are typically only worn low on the back of the head – even after the appearance of its side and higher styles.

This ties in with the fact that buns and chignons are made in different ways. Buns are always created by wrapping the hair around themselves. This does not apply to chignons which can be created by twisting the hair or tucking it under itself or under hair accessories.

Also, perhaps the biggest difference between the two is that while you can style and wear several buns at once, you can only create one chignon that will take up and incorporate all the hair.

braided chignon gif
via Giphy

So, Ready to Change Your Look?

This was it, our article on some of the prettiest and most interesting chignon hairstyles that you can wear nowadays.

Also, besides offering you a great source of hairstyle inspiration, we’ve also discussed about the differences between chignons and buns and told you a little bit about the history of the chignon and what sets it apart from other hairstyles.

So now that you know all of this, which chignon style or hairstyles are you going to try out and for what occasions? Let us know and let’s talk some more in the comments!

Victoria is a wavy-haired girl that loves wearing her tresses at around chin to shoulder-length. But she's also sported all the short haircuts you can think of and long hair too. She's also had straight and curly hair, so join her in her latest hair adventures.


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