The Difference Between A Bun And A Chignon Explained

If you wear your hair long, and you like wrapping it around itself to keep it out of your face from time to time, then you might be forgiven for thinking that the style you're keeping it in is called a bun or a chignon, and that the two terms are interchangeable. But the devil is in the details, and while PopSugar says that a chignon can also double as a bun, not as many buns an also be called chignons. And why not?

The word "chignon" may be French for "bun," which is also what most English (both American and British) speakers call the hairstyle, but the word is actually short for "chignon du cou," which means "bun at the nape of the neck." That's about as specific as locations get. So what's what? 

Hairstylist Harry Josh settles the debate of what a chignon actually is, telling InStyle, "...the chignon comes in various forms. The key here is to have the hair gathered at the nape of the neck. Whether it be a simple ballerina-style bun or a twisted and shapely styled bun, the chignon evokes elegance and a clean, chic style." 

Buns aren't located in a fixed spot like chignons are

Buns, on the other hand, don't have a specific place of residence. They can be anywhere on top of your head, and PopSugar says you can do buns in different ways —  a classic Princess Leia style (looped around the ears), messy (like Meghan Markle), or even the trendy bun lift, where the hair is pulled so tightly on top of the head that The Sun referred to as an instant face lift. Celebrities spotted with a bun lift include Celine Dion and Jennifer Lopez. 

PopSugar says one more thing to remember about buns is that it is created by wrapping hair around itself, either braided or twisted around a center. Chignons, on other hand, sees the hair tucked under, or used with an accessory like a tiara, which is mostly how Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge has her hair done for state dinners when tiaras are called for.

One thing's for sure: Whether it's a bun or a chignon, both updos are hair hacks you want in your repertoire for an effortlessly easy style.