Traditional Spanish Hairstyles

by B.T. Alo

Traditional Spanish hairstyles are recognizable for three common characteristics: the center part, voluminous chignons, and chignons set at the base of the neck. Another common feature of Spanish hairstyles is the addition of ornamental combs. Examples of traditional Spanish hairstyles can be seen today in the hairstyles of Flamenco dancers and in period-set films.

Chignon

The classic Spanish-style chignon is formed by pulling hair back into a low pony-tail leaving a center part. Traditional Spanish hair was worn long which helped with the volume of the chignon; however, if hair is thinner or shorter, teasing can help achieve volume. The hair was often set in a wide figure-eight pattern, or in three rosettes at the base of the neck. A chignon bun was almost always worn with two tendrils pulled loose in front of the ears and curled. This style was very often accompanied by decorative combs set into the chignon, usually off to one side.

Mantilla and Comb

The mantilla and comb is a very traditional Spanish look using a peineta comb worn at the base of a low-set chignon. The comb is a convex shape which goes around the head and extends above, sometimes as hight as 10 inches. Attached to the comb is a hand-made Chantilly lace mantilla which flows down the back; the combs are traditionally made from mother of pearl or tortoise-shell. This is a formal style, worn only at occasions like weddings, or for solemn Church ceremonies and processions.

Flamenco Chignon

The Flamenco chignon needs to be very sturdy, so the ponytail is pulled back tightly, either straight back from the forehead or with a center part. The hair is then often braided before twisting into a large chignon at the base of the neck. Flamenco chignons are typically accompanied by a very large ornamental flower set behind one ear or on the back or the head, which gives the style a dramatic look.

Half-up, Half-down

Worn as a daytime look for younger ladies, this style takes the top half of the hair and sweeps it back into a low ponytail with the bottom half of the hair loose at the back. The ponytail is then either plaited or twisted into a low chignon. Curled tendrils in front of the ears are often seen with this style.

Spanish Hair in Films

Examples of traditional style Spanish hairdos can be seen worn by Catherine Zeta-Jones in the "Zorro" films and by Lumi Cavasos in "Like Water for Chocolate." Spanish hairstyles are also seen in films like Carlos de Saura’s "Flamenco" or worn by iconic Flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya.

About the Author

B.T. Alo is media director, chief writer and editor for a U.S.-based marketing and consulting firm. He holds a bachelor's degree in business and communications. Alo's interests include business, investments, electronics, personal finance, health, communication, popular trends and travel.

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