While Mexican men and women now don the same wide range of hairdos as in other countries, a number of traditional hairstyles remain popular. Particularly in rural areas, and in the southernmost state of Chiapas, women continue to wear their hair long, in braids or chignons.
Particularly in small towns and villages, women tend to wear their hair quite long. In the traditional style, they may plait their hair into one or two thick braids. Among Mayan populations in southern Mexico, it is uncommon to find a woman whose hair is not braided. Typically, women first part their hair in the center and then form one or two braids quite low, near the nape of the neck. String or ribbons would finish the traditional look, though rubber bands are used nowadays.
A braided chignon can also be formed, for a slightly more elaborate and traditional style, by making a single, long braid low on the head. After forming a neat braid, coil it into a tight spiral and secure it to your head with bobby pins or decorative combs.
Long and Short Hairstyles
The highly traditional Lacandon Mayan populations wear their hair long, women and men alike. In northern Lacandon villages, bangs are cut straight across the forehead, whereas southern villages do not wear bangs. Aztec populations also include men who wear longer hairstyles.
Aside from the Lacandon, other Mayan men wear their hair short, with women wearing hair long and braided. While these Mayan hairstyles center in the state of Chiapas, the region’s increasingly cosmopolitan cities host a blossoming range of hairstyles and international influences.
Chignons and Buns
For an artistic and traditional hairstyle, arrange your hair into a figure 8 bun. Begin as you would for a regular bun, twisting a low ponytail around itself. Instead of forming outwardly radiating loops, like for a “cinnamon bun,” place the second coil underneath the first. After finishing the bun and securing the ends, lift the top-most coil up and over the entire bun, securing it to your head with bobby pins or a decorative comb. The final result resembles a figure 8. For a traditional flourish, add a real or fake flower.
For a hairstyle with a chignon higher on the head, form a high ponytail. Then coil the ponytail into a high chignon and secure with pins, or braid it and form a high, braided chignon.
References and ResourcesTravel Yucatan: Mayan Fashion Sensibilities
Mexican Dress: Dress for a Mexican Fiesta
The Styling Station: Figure 8 Bun