French Y-Braid with Chignon

Brunette hair in a French chignon
How to Accomplish this Hairstyle
There are a number of different looks that can be achieved with braiding. Even one braiding technique can provide dozens of different possibilities for braided looks. What follows is a simple variation on the classic French braid. It uses the French braid technique to create a visually interesting hairstyle with a simple finish.
Creating the Style:
We started this look with clean hair that had been blown dry using a bit of styling gel to provide some structure and grip to the hair. We also used Ion Silk Drops serum for added smoothness and shine. Once dry, the hair was brushed smooth using a natural (boar) bristle brush.
We parted the hair down the center of the head and bound the left side out of the way using a snag-safe elastic band. The right side of the hair was then misted with a leave-in conditioner for control and braided in a French braid style, keeping the braid low on the side of the head, from the forehead to the nape of the neck and a little beyond. We then bound it with a snag-safe elastic band.
Then we repeat the process on the left side of the head - misting with the leave-in conditioner and weaving in the classic French braid. It is important to try and mirror the appearance of the braid from the right side to ensure balance in the hairstyle. In our demo we finally had to go back and re-braid the right side to match the left because the left side seemed to be more difficult to braid and end up with a look similar to the right.
Once the two sides are balanced and braided, we pulled the two braids together at the nape of the neck and removed the elastic bands. The hair is then combed until it is blended and divided into three even strands. We weave the strands in a traditional 3-strand braid as far down the length of the hair as possible and still maintain a smooth braid.
After completing the braiding, we then took a small amount of pomade into the palms and rubbed it to emulsify it. We smoothed the braids with the pomade to control the fly-away hairs and smooth the braids. The idea to finish the style as a chignon was born from the fact that leaving the lower braid down looked too casual.
So, we bent the tail end of the braid at the elastic band and rolled it under, being careful to tuck any stray hair back into the roll as the braid widens. Once the rolled braid was fully tucked up into the nape area of the neck, we used two large bob pins to anchor it in place. The pins were positioned one on each side of the newly formed chignon in an "X" pattern to allow them to hold onto one another.
The resulting finished style was one that was relatively easy to create, looked neat and tidy, but was visually interesting. Unadorned, the style would serve in almost any environment, from offices and other workplaces, to afternoon weddings and luncheons.
The style can also be decorated with jeweled pins, combs, flowers, ribbons, or other hair accessories for a more formal occasion. It would also make a good bridal hairstyle for a garden wedding, as the braids offer a secure place in which to anchor a bridal headpiece, and/or the bridal veil.
Model photo: Veryulissa/Shutterstock
See also: More about Braiding