Create a modern-day version of Marie Antoinette’s scandalous hairstyle with this step-by-step tutorial.
A Little Background
While Queen Marie Antoinette of France lived, she lived a life of luxury.
In 1774, when she became queen of France, over-the-top luxury was very much in vogue. Everything from her enormous dresses to her over-the-top coiffures (hairstyles) were extravagant, decadent and the pinnacle of style.
Fashionable French women had been poufing (raising) their hair for at least a decade before Marie Antoinette came along, so she can’t take the credit for inventing the pouf. She can, however, take credit for its popularity. When the French queen adopted the pouf she took it, quite literally, to new heights.
Traditionally, the Marie Antoinette hairstyle was created with a wire frame set over a woollen or horsehair pad for volume. The hair would then be stiffened with a pomade made of beef lard or, more extravagantly, bear grease. Once the style was set in place it would be powdered white with flour.
Given the scarcity of bear grease these days, and that the combination of ingredients would attract vermin to nest in these elaborate coiffures, we may forego a few of the traditional steps.
Marie Antoinette Hairstyle Tutorial
For this Marie Antoinette hairstyle tutorial, we’re going use some of the more modern hair styling products to recreate the look. We’ll replace the bear grease with hairspray, for example.
The trickiest thing you’ll need to find is something to use as a pad to create the height. I used a bun maker and a ball of wool on top. You might consider a rolled up knitted scarf, a cylindrical pillow or a small foam roller.
What You Need
- An abundance of hair pins
- Clear hair elastic bands
- Curling iron
- Comb and brush
- Padding of your choice
- Hair extensions if you have them
- Accessories (like a string of pearls, flowers, brooches or, as in this Marie Antoinette hairstyle, a ship)
Create a braid at the crown of your head. Secure with a clear elastic band.
Twist the braid into a little bun and secure with pins. This will create the base of your Marie Antoinette hairstyle – something to which the padding will be secured.
Secure the padding to the braided bun with as many hairpins as needed to feel secure.
Section remaining hair in two layers. Curl the top layer with a curling iron. Spray with hairspray.
If you’re using extensions, clip them in now and use them to cover your padding.
Taking each curl one at a time, backcomb lightly to create volume and pin to the top of your padding.
Repeat step 5 on the bottom layer, leaving one curl behind each ear loose.
Depending on the length of your hair, you may have some ends free on top. Curl the ends and pin down if necessary.
You may need to re curl the strands you’ll be leaving loose. A perfect curl is more in keeping with the Marie Antoinette hairstyle.
Pin in your decorations.
Finish off your pouf with hairspray to hold everything in place. And, like Queen Marie Antoinette before us with her display of towering coiffures, be sure to duck when going through doorways.