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Originally published Friday, April 27, 2012 at 6:00 AM

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How to channel Brigitte Bardot's sexy updo

Retro is back, with many women trying to tease their hair. To help women channel the ultimate 1960s siren, Brigitte Bardot, Fabrice Gili of Frédéric Fekkai's SoHo salon offers some tips.

The New York Times

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Retro geometric prints, sleeveless shifts, false eyelashes: Walk into a dress shop or drugstore these days, and you might think you've been teleported back to 1965. With celebrities like Adele showing off vintage looks, and "Mad Men" inspiring makeup by Estee Lauder and clothes by Banana Republic, is it any wonder many women are trying to tease their hair?

To achieve volume and sex appeal with this method without resembling an extra from "Hairspray," one need only look to the ultimate 1960s siren, Brigitte Bardot.

On a day so unseasonably hot it approximated a day in St.-Tropez, Fabrice Gili, the creative director of Frederic Fekkai's New York City salon, was armed with a can of volumizer the size of a rolling pin. To evoke Bardot in a modern way, he said, through an aerosol fog, your coif must be messy — at once "done and undone." That's good news for those of us who can barely braid our hair. Even better: It's easier to achieve the nouveau Bardot look if your hair is dirty (a day or two dirty, not punk-rocker dirty). "It looks quite ridiculous if you have it all perfect," Gili said, cautioning women against showing up for a date with a flawless updo. "You look like you're trying too hard."

Tools: Hot rollers, three elastics, bobby pins, hair clips, volumizer, hair spray, a teasing comb, a flat brush, black ribbon, patience.

Preparation: Ladies with thick, wavy or curly hair, stop lamenting your rebellious locks and rejoice! You can skip this part and proceed to building the base. But if your hair is straight or fine, begin by spraying volumizer on the roots and the mid-shaft of your hair (not the ends). Then use rollers to set the hair on the very top of your head. Roughing up the texture is crucial because it helps the hair hold a shape. Once the rollers cool, remove them and go to the next step.

Build the Base: Lift your roots by brushing upward from underneath your hair. Then take the bottom layer of your hair and make a low ponytail. Curl the ponytail around two or three fingers, and pin it to the hair at the nape of your neck with two large bobby pins, one on either side. This is the bottom of your coif.

Tease: Take a section of hair above your forehead and hold it firmly toward the ceiling. Then place your comb, not at the roots of the hair, but about the width of two fingers up from the roots. Now briskly comb backward toward the scalp. When you're through with that section of hair, take the next section behind it and repeat the teasing process, working your way toward the back of your head. Remember: you want the volume to increase as you work backward. To do that, keep backcombing farther up the hair shaft so that by the time you reach the middle of your head, you are placing your comb about three fingers up from your roots. At the back of your head, you can place the comb four fingers up from your roots.

Use Your Fingers: To keep the look natural and of the moment, comb the hair back using your fingers, not a brush, as was the custom in the 1960s.

Tiered Ponytails: Gently gather the hair you just combed back into a second ponytail directly above the one at the base of your neck. Pin this new ponytail to the hair at the back of your head. Next, make a third ponytail out of the end of the second. Again, pin down both sides. (If you prefer to sport a ponytail that sticks out, just don't pin the ends.) Gingerly comb back the front and sides of your coif.

Hairspray: To keep the front of your hair flatter than the back, insert a few metal clips a couple of inches back from your forehead. Shellac with hair spray. (A word of warning: Do not assume, as this reporter did, that a mere shower will wash that Bardot out of your hair. You must comb out the knots and hair spray first.) Once the hair spray is dry, remove the clips. Add a black headband or ribbon.

Said Gili: "Voilà!"

More ado about updos:

Ladies' Home Journal also offers step-by-step updo tips at http://www.lhj.com/style/hair/styles/updo-how-to/?page=1

"5 Easy Party Updos" can be found on the Oprah website at http://www.oprah.com/style/Easy-Updos-How-to-do-an-Updo

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