It's been a while since the "bouffant" hairstyle was popular... like, 50-plus years! And while it's a style many of us have seen in photos of our moms, and have heard the word itself, we've probably not created or worn the style ourselves. But the 1960's super-teased hairstyle is slowly returning to the mainstream- popping up on the runway, the red carpet, and in several retro-themed TV shows and films.
Technically, a "bouffant" is a hairstyle that is highly teased and shellacked. It may be a bob-style or an updo, but the highest volume is concentrated at the back of the crown. Headbands are sometimes used, as are bangs (either long or short.) Jackie Kennedy Onassis is the poster girl for a variety of bouffant styles, and more recently, Adele, January Jones and runway models in Paris have been wearing super-60s-looking hairstyles.
The great thing about these retro hairstyles is that you can go as extreme or as subtle as you want. Simply teasing your crown area and slipping on a feminine headband adds that retro touch, without looking like someone who just walked out of an Audrey Hepburn film. For a more extreme look, rat it to the sky, spray it with the strongest hairspray you can find, and pin it if necessary.
This look is not necessarily shiny, due to the amount of teasing and spraying. But a little shine can never hurt. If your hair is shorter, go for a bobbed style. Curl your ends outward (into a flip), and tease the crown area. Smooth as much as possible without removing the volume. For longer hair, you can leave it long and wavy, but an updo works just as well for this look. Rat, rat, rat the crown and back areas, then gently pull hair back into a bun. This is not a messy or casual updo, so be sure your ends are pinned in or curled neatly. Use your rat-tail comb to perfect your teased crown area. Then it's time to dress up the look, if you want. Use a broach-looking clip set center-front of the crown volume, or slide in a cute headband, set toward the front of your head. The very front of your hair needs little or no volume. It may be pulled back into the style, or if you've got bangs, keep them fairly low to the forehead.
Click through the photos above to see a few versions of these styles worn recently by stars and models, and see which aspect you like and may want to try out on yourself.