A Sociologist Has Revealed the Secret Meaning Behind Meghan's Bun

Updated 08/23/18
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Meghan Markle has always been on our radar, but with her recent wedding to Prince Harry, interest in the American actress has reached stratospheric heights. In all honesty, we haven't been immune from Markle fever either. And considering beauty is our business, it's little surprise that it's Meghan Markle's impeccable hair that continually piques our interest. There's definitely one hairstyle she wears more than any other—the low bun, and we have a theory behind why it's her favourite. But she's also got those tonged-but-not-too-much waves down pat, understands the power of a polished up 'do and even makes a good case for bringing back hair straighteners.

Meghan Markle hair: Meghan Markle with Low Slung Bun
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Meghan's always been a fan of the low bun, or so it seems since she's married Prince Harry. Countless times she's stepped out with the perfect, low slung messy bun that looks put together but still casual, and apparently, there's a reason behind why she always wears one. 

ELLE spoke to sociologist and image consultant Anna Akbari about Meghan's style and hair choices, and she believes Meghan's low-bun hairstyle is a total power move. Akbari believes that in wearing her hair in a completely opposing way to Kate Middleton, she's crafting her own identity in the royal sphere. She's strategically wearing a style that could be seen as sloppy, but it is neatly placed at the nape or her neck—as opposed to high on her head where we would normally have a messy bun. So it's still a refined version of the much-loved hairstyle.


Akbari told Elle "there are certain contexts in which strategically dressing down demonstrates a 'hipness.' It's a different type of power dynamic than it would be if you were to wear a suit." So, by wearing a messy bun, Meghan is trying to appear relatable and cool. What do you think? Is she playing a power move, or does she just like a messy bun? 

Meghan Markle hair: Meghan Markle with tonged curls and hat
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

As Markle enjoyed the wedding of Charlie van Straubenzee and Daisy Jenks (who are both close friends of Harry) this weekend, she also celebrated her birthday. For the occasion, Markle styled her hair in perfectly tonged waves swept across to one side—perfect for avoiding a sweaty-neck situation in this heat. A black Philip Treacy hat was the perfect finishing touch.

Meghan Markle hair: Meghan Markle with Low-Slung Bun
Samir Hussein/Getty

We know Meghan Markle is a fan of a low-slung bun, and to be honest, we don't blame her. It's equal parts chic and undone but still looks perfectly put together. She finished off the 'do with a centre part and tucked the excess hair behind her ears. 

Meghan Markle hair: Meghan at football ground in Ireland
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Last week, we've seen just as many hair switch-ups as we have outfit changes for Meghan. As she visited a youth football team in Ireland, she reverted back to a centre part with soft, loose waves.

meghan markle hair: Meghan Markle loose waves hair
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Meghan switched things up from her day outings (see below) by wearing her hair in loose, soft waves while attending a reception at Glencairn, the residence of the British Ambassador to Ireland yesterday. If there's one thing she knows, it's how to make a glamorous hairstyle look totally wearable and chic. 

Meghan Markle Hair: Wearing a low bun at Westminster Abbey
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We spied Meghan Markle wearing her new favourite hairstyles, the low bun, whilst leaving a service to mark the centenary of the RAF at Westminster Abbey. We can see why the low bun is such a draw—it is the perfect updo on which to place a fascinator, and it looks more pulled together than a ponytail, especially for a more formal occasion. But have you spotted the secret detail yet?

Meghan Markle Hair: Wearing a low bun at Westminster Abbey
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Her hairstylist has taken inspiration from the pleated Stephen Jones fascinator she's wearing and left visible comb marks in her hair, which mimics the pleats and adds texture to the otherwise very neat updo. It's subtle, yes, but it pulls the whole look together.

Megan Markle Hair: Megan Markle Low Scoop Updo

We know Megan Markle loves an updo (see below for proof), but she normally opts for a loose, flowing style. This incredible low slicked-back bun looks ultra-chic and is perfect for this heatwave. If you're re-creating this style, you can tame any flyaways with Ouai Anti-Frizz Smoothing Sheets (£20). These little sheets of magic are enriched with conditioning coconut oil and shea butter to help keep hair shiny and smooth.

Meghan Markle Hair: Meghan Markle Updo
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Bets are on for Markle to wear a similar updo like this more often.

Meghan Markle Hair: Meghan Markle Straight Hair
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She doesn't often wear her hair this straight, but it does offer a nice alternative to her signature waves. The flicked ends give the whole thing a bit of a '70s vibe—simply pull your hair curler upwards at the end of each section to re-create.

Meghan Markle Hair: Meghan Markle with Boho Waves
Max Mumby/Getty Images/Indigo

With her hair pulled a little further over her face than usual, here Markle is serving up major boho vibes.

Meghan Markle Hair: Meghan Markle With Soft Waves
Max Mumby/Getty Images/Indigo

Soft, tousled waves that look neither too polished nor too dishevelled are Markle's signature staple. If it's a look you struggle with, T3 Whirl Trio (£200) tong comes with three interchangeable barrels so you can create waves of different widths, which will automatically make the texture look more realistic.

Meghan Markle hair: Meghan Markle With Straight Hair
Karwai Tang/Getty Images

Brushing out the waves makes the whole thing look a little more laid-back, as proven by this look. To do the same, you'll need a brush that smooths hair rather than inducing static. Raincry Magnesium Volumizing Brush Plus (£55) is a good bet, thanks to its nylon bristles that sweep hair of excess oils and boost volume at the roots without causing further flyaways. It's also a brilliant blow-dry companion thanks to its heatable core.

Meghan Markle Hair: Meghan Markle With Side-Swept Hair
Josiah Kamau

Side-swept hairstyles are a pretty big thing right now, as you'll have spotted on the red carpet at this year's Golden Globes. Here, Markle teams her side sweep with glossy curls that have an element of Hollywood glamour about them. This sort of look takes a bit of work, but heated rollers (we know—they're old-school) can help.

Meghan Markle Hair: Meghan Markle Updo
Michael Tran/Getty Images

Although I'm sure Markle can't resist the lure of a topknot, this lower chignon–style updo is great for framing the face, too. We're betting that her hair was prepped with plenty of serum first to give it that kind of shine. Vernon François Lightweight Styling Serum (£20) does the job of adding shine without clogging up the roots.

Meghan Markle Hair: Meghan Markle Side Parting Hair
Andrew Toth/Getty Images/Stringer

It's another side-swept style, but this time Markle has left her hair down in soft waves. To get that root lift, however, you should never underestimate the power of a volumizing spray. Something like Original & Mineral Atonic Thickening Mist (£20) scaffolds the roots without going sticky.

Meghan Markle Hair: Meghan Markle Straight Hair
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Back in the day (we're talking 2013 here), Markle was evidently a fan of the hair straighteners. And weirdly enough, this picture alone is making us reconsider dusting ours off too. It goes without saying that if you want shine like that, you can't forgo the use of a Tresemmé heat-defence spray.

Meghan Markle Hair: Low Bun
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

A low messy bun always looks instantly more "done" with the addition of backcombed roots to create a little height. Arm yourself with Ghd Narrow Dressing Brush (£15) and softly backcomb the underneath of the front section of the hair before pulling it back to join the rest of the hair in a low bun. ■

Now? Well, we'll await her other public appearances with baited breath.

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