The Hair Channel

Five-minute tutorials for a plaited ballet bun

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Stylist Team
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It’s not just the corps de ballet who get to sweep their hair up in elegant plaited chignons.

We can all have in on this effortlessly romantic hairstyle; even those of us with the dancing ability of David Brent.

A plaited updo is surprisingly easy to achieve, yet – and here’s the crux – it looks like it requires a fair dose of finesse.

This time-honoured ‘do will see you through, come cocktail party or catwalk extravaganza (it is Fashion Week, after all).

Arm yourself with a few Kirby grips and a mere five minutes of your schedule for these three variations on the timeless ballet bun.

Darcey Bussell, eat your heart out…

The classic look

A timeless and charming version used by prima ballerinas everywhere (we imagine)...

  1. Draw your hair up into a high ponytail.
  2. Divide into two sections; the right-hand section should be about double the width of the left-hand section.
  3. Twist the right-hand section up and around into a high chignon.
  4. Secure firmly in place with grips.
  5. Plait the remaining left-hand section of the hair.
  6. Twist up and around the circumference of the chignon and pin into place.

The statement look

Move it up a notch with this impactful power braid

  1. Pull your hair into a ponytail just below the crown of the head.
  2. Divide your ponytail into two equal sections; an upper and a lower layer.
  3. Braid the upper layer and secure in place with an elastic band.
  4. Tease the upper plait out to the left-hand side of the lower layer and hold in place.
  5. Twist the plait up and around clockwise once, then twist the lower layer of hair up into a chignon resting above the plaited circle and pin in position.
  6. Loop the remaining plait around the outside of the chignon and pin into place.

The romantic look

Unleash your inner Botticelli muse with this half-up, half-down twist on the plaited chignon

  1. Begin with loose, brushed-out hair and partition off a section around the crown
  2. Plait the top section, using either a slim French plait that starts from the top of the crown, or a chunkier French braid that encompasses the whole of the top section of the head from the forehead backwards. 
  3. Finish the plait midway down the section and secure with an elastic band.
  4. Twist the remaining hair in the section up and round into a chignon and secure with pins.
  5. Brush the rest of the hair that lies loose out with your fingers for a natural, wavy finish.

Photos: iStock