If you want to copy every single detail of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding, we really can’t blame you. Everything about the royal wedding seemed to be perfect, from Markle’s minimalist Givenchy white gown to her dainty bouquet of flowers. The bride kept things elegant, chic, and simple in the best possible way, and left many other brides-to-be wanting to do exactly the same.
One detail we really loved, however, was her hairstyle: Markle opted for a romantic and sophisticated updo that worked beautifully with her gown. She kept things simple underneath her long veil and sparkling tiara, and the unfussy bun fit her everyday style perfectly. If you want a similar look for your own wedding night, we have all of the details on how to replicate it.
Markle’s low, loose chignon left a few wispy pieces around her face for a more romantic, undone feel. Throughout the ceremony, Markle wore the gorgeous Queen Mary Bandeau tiara, which kept most of the looser pieces tucked behind her ears. During the after-party, with no tiara, soft tendrils of hair fell out in face-framing layers that offered a nice juxtaposition against her dress.
The hairstyle was, for the most part, an instant hit. “I think that people loved the fact that her hair was soft, undone, and not too far away from her natural effortless style that she exudes every day,” explains professional hairstylist Michelle Sultan. However, some critics did note that it looked like nothing more than a low-key messy bun. “Some have said it looked ‘messy,’ but I believe that this was intentional, as she didn’t want the hair to look hard and date too quickly,” Sultan says. “This soft, natural style has been emulated time and time again since.”
Meet the Expert
Michelle Sultan is a celebrity hairdresser who has worked with stars like Jennifer Hudson and Mel B. She is also a brand ambassador for Imbue.
In fact, according to People, even Markle’s hairstylist called her look a “messy bun,” so it doesn’t seem like much of an insult!
To craft her hair for one of the biggest nights of her life, Markle worked with famed hairdresser Serge Normant, who has an impressive resumé of celebrity clients—in fact, he was introduced to Markle through Amal Clooney. And he was clearly thrilled to be working with Markle: he told Harper’s Bazaar, “I am still pinching myself this morning. It’s just one of those moments you dream of.”
Normant’s goal for the royal wedding was an effortless look that suited Markle, and one that didn’t feel too stuffy or over-styled. According to Harper’s Bazaar, Normant said that his intent was a sort of messy bun. “Messy in a controlled way,” he explained. His intent was “making sure it doesn’t become a whole mess after a few hours” without making the hair look shellacked. “I don’t overload the hair with products in general and certainly not on this day,” he shared.
Normant has said that he and Markle were on the same page leading up to the wedding, so much so that they didn’t go through several hair trials attempting to find the perfect look (they only had one trial!). He told People, “We knew what we wanted to do. We wanted something that was effortless and really timeless—as long as it didn’t look contrived.”
In fact, some of the inspiration behind the final look came from a beloved movie star of the past. When trying to come up with the right look, Normant told Harper’s Bazaar, “For me, I always think of icons I love, like Audrey Hepburn, all those styles that I still look at a picture of today and still love. I always have little ’60s inspirations in my head but I didn’t want to do anything set in a time frame. I didn’t want too much volume. I wanted something very loose and easy which is why we chose a very loose bun.”
Basically, as Normant said, “It wasn’t about reinvention.” The two specifically wanted a look that was classic and timeless, something that would look just as good thirty to fifty years from now.
How to Recreate the Look
The beauty of Markle’s hairstyle is how timeless it is, meaning it works with almost any occasion and look. “Because the style is super versatile and wearable, I think that this hair can be done with most gown styles, whether the gown is high-necked and long-sleeved like Meghan’s or low-backed,” Sultan points out. A low chignon like this would work with any type of gown and style, and is even a great one to know how to do for other events aside from your wedding.
And luckily, it’s easy to recreate on your own. Sultan gives us step-by-step tips on achieving this look at home:
Start with a clean base. “Depending on your hair type and texture, you first need to decide if you want your hair smooth or in your natural texture,” Sultan says. “Whatever you decide, to start, use lightweight products so that your hair is not weighed down.” The key here is to avoid an overstyled look, which means no product like gel.
Add volume with a curling wand if your hair isn’t naturally curly or wavy. “If I were doing this on smooth, straightened hair, I would wand the hair with a large barrel curling iron to give the hair movement,” Sultan says. She recommends using a texture spray afterward to give the hair some grip.
Separate hair into two sections across the head from ear to ear. “Starting with the back section, use a ponytail holder to secure the hair below the nape, then take the next section above it and secure again with a second ponytail holder just above the first one, remembering to leave tendrils around the face and leave the top section softer than the top,” Sultan says. Avoid pulling the hair too tight—you want this to be a bit loose and wispy.
Lastly, roll the ends of the hair back on themselves to create a low chignon. “Gently pull out strands of hair and finish with a light hair oil for shine,” Sultan says (she recommends Imbue Curl Worshipping Shine Oil). Add a bit of hairspray so it doesn’t fall apart, but overall, don’t worry about it too much: this should appear effortless.