Pro tips for simple hair up-dos

July 28, 2015

"Up-do" hairstyles have a timeless appeal. Think of Audrey Hepburn's chignon in Breakfast at Tiffany's, as desirable today as it was in 1961. Not that you need to be up for an Oscar to create a film-star look. If you can manage a ponytail, you can create any of the styles here.

Pro tips for simple hair up-dos

Some simple tools you will need

You will need:

  • Natural bristle brush
  • Hairspray
  • Hair elastic
  • Hairpins
  • Possibly straightening irons

Optional: hair gel or wax, flowers, hair jewels or ornamental combs for embellishment.

Creating a professional french twist

For a formal occasion, a French twist can be dressed with flowers or jewels along the line of pins. If you prefer, curl the ends of the ponytail and leave them loose, or pin them in loose curls or loops around the crown of the head.

  1. Brush the hair completely smooth across to one side at the back, applying a veil of hairspray in the direction that you brush. Use hairpins to pin the hair at the nape of the neck to hold it in place. The twist will come back across these pins.
  2. Grasp the hair gently, then lay your left thumb against the head and pull the hair over and around it to create a twist. For a twist that lies the other way, use your right thumb.
  3. As you twist, use the fingers of the left hand to coil the hair upwards. Fix with pins, picking up a little of the twisted hair and pushing pins into the hair under the twist.
  4. Coil the ends of the hair and tuck into the twist then pin to close the loose top of the coil.
  5. Lightly brush the surface to smooth any loose hairs. Add more pins to secure and a final fix of spray.

A classic bun is easier than you think!

The style favoured by ballet dancers, a formal bun should be centred on the back of the head, lying flat to it and firmly secured. Trace the line of your cheekbones; the bun will sit on the point where these lines meet.

  1. Dampen, then smooth the hair and form a ponytail, secured with a hair elastic. Give a couple of twists to the top of the ponytail to form a short section of "rope."
  2. Working in the same direction as your twist, start to coil the rope around the base of the ponytail. Twist and wrap, twist and wrap, until the hair is all neatly coiled.
  3. Tuck the ends under and secure the bun with hairpins close to the scalp.

Create an elegant chignon

The word "chignon" derives from chignon du cou, meaning nape of the neck. This soft style is worn low, showing off the neck and shoulders and accentuating cheekbones. Don't brush the hair too smooth or pull it too tight — a chignon looks best when it's a little loose.

  1. Brush your hair and apply a mist of hairspray. Brush it back into a ponytail and secure it with a band towards the nape of the neck.
  2. Divide the ponytail into two and push the hair in each section back up towards the head, as if gently backcombing it to add volume. Twist the two sections around each other in a two-strand "braid."
  3. Coil the twisted hair around the base of the ponytail in a loose bun at the nape of the neck.
  4. Secure the hair with pins as you coil it, then tuck the end back into and under the chignon and pin it all in place.

Why not give these simple up-dos a shot? Creating a new hairstyle may be easier than you think.

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