Chignon with sweeping side waves.

Elegant, simple, day or night.

The chignon is like the hairstyle equivalent of a swiss army knife: it proves useful in every situation. It’s that elegantly simple idea that first took hold in the ancient cultures and has persevered through the changing fashion of the eras. Your mental association of the chignon might be that it’s a hairstyle for formal occasions; or perhaps that it’s the effortless thing you fall back on when time is short but an up ‘do is required. That’s the beauty of this ever-present, ever-useful style: it’s the weapon in your arsenal that will never fail you.

But as seasons change and fresh twists on ideas sweep through in the flurry of fashion weeks we look for new ways to reinvent the dependable chignon. In this take, it’s given a sweeping side part with soft waves on one side; a style that gives one look from the front, another from the back.

Follow the step-by-step how to guide after the break. If you’d like to make sure that you don’t miss any of the other looks in this year’s hair trends guide, you can subscribe to our newsletter or RSS feed.

chignon hair side fringe

Shoot credits

Model: Sophie Van Den Akker @ Chadwick Models
Photographer: Kelly Defina at
Makeup artist: Shev Kelly for Napoleon Perdis
Hair: Annika Bowen @ Annika’s
Stylist: Mercy Watson

For our shoot starring model Sophie Van Den Akker, hair guru Annika Bowen created this easy yet eye-catching twist on the classic chignon hairstyle. Follow the steps below to create the look for yourself.

chignon with side part 1

Make sure the hair is prepped. If your hair is dry or frizzy you may want to apply some of your favourite smoothing balm, or if you hair requires extra volume blow dry it first with a volumising product.

chignon with side part 2

Using a comb, create a low side part in the hair. Make sure it’s in a straight line. Separate out the front section: this is the part you’ll be adding curls to.

chignon with side part 3

Keeping out the fringe section, pin back the rest of the hair so it’s out of the way. Using a heat styler (we used a ghd straightening iron) take a section of hair a few centimetres thick and run the iron down it at a diagonal angle to create a wave. Repeat with all of the hair in the side-fringe section.

Tip: curl the hair under and away from the face for the best results.

chignon with side part 4

Pull the rest of the hair (the uncurled hair) back and into a low ponytail. Secure with a hair elastic.

chignon with side part 5

Twist the ponytail you’ve just created around itself to form a low bun.

chignon with side part 6

Loosen the front curls with your fingers to create a soft texture, and arrange them around the face as desired. You can play with making the curls more tousled or neat to suit your particular look and create your own take on the style.

chignon with side part 7

Finish with hairspray to set the style in place.

chignon with front waves

The finished look

We paired the chignon with side waves with strong eyes and natural lips. It’s a worn cliche, but it has to be said: this is simply a style that will work day or night.

Styling variations

Keep one side super-slicked and the fringe clumped together into an exaggerated, defiant spring of curls to create a look that’s a feminine take on ’50s rockabilly.

Models on Iceberg’s spring 2012 runway wore the waved, sweeping side fringe with a wet-look texture for a modern rock-chic take. To replicate Iceberg’s spring 2012 runway look keep it all attitude-laden and messy, and pair with heavy dark eyeshadow.

For a beachy summer take, prep the hair with sea-salt spray. Keep the bun a little unruly and the side fringe tousled and textured as if you’ve just stepped out of the sun and surf.