By Marianne Mychaskiw
Updated Feb 23, 2015 @ 9:52 am
Jason Merritt/Getty; Steve Granitz/WireImage

The 2015 Oscars were a big night for Julianne Moore, who took home the award for Best Actress for her role in Still Alice. Not to outshine her stellar acting skills or her touching acceptance speech, but her classic low chignon almost deserves its own award in the hair and makeup category, which is why we caught up with Moore's hairstylist Marcus Francis to find out exactly how it was created.

"For an event like the Oscars, it's not only the pinnacle of Hollywood glamour, but it's also a moment where everything should look timeless," he tells InStyle. "Working with Julianne for every event this award season, we've done variations of wavy hair, a few ponytails, and sleek, shiny texture. For this momentous night, we were both in sync about an updo, since it was a style we hadn't done much of." Using French actresses like Catherine Denvenue and Brigitee Bardot as his muses, Francis went to work crafting a sleek, low bun with a graphic side-part.

The pro began by picking up a leave-in conditioner, and worked the product in from Moore's roots to her ends to amp up shine. He then applied a volumizing mousse over the top, and formed a deep side part, sweeping the star's hair across her forehead.

Armed with a round brush, Francis blow-dried her hair smooth, making sure to angle the nozzle underneath to create lift at the root. "To get that super-swoop in the front, blow-dry the section completely forward with the brush on top of the hair," he advises. "Aim the nozzle to both on top and underneath the section to really smooth and swoop the hair across."

With some gentle teasing around the crown in place, Francis then began forming the low chignon, placing two ponytails side by side at the nape of Moore's neck. "Two will give more fullness and coverage to the area without use of extensions," he says.

To create a larger shape, Francis teased sections of hair from each ponytail with a flexible-hold hairspray, then brushed over the backcombing with a Mason Pearson brush. "Take one ponytail, and lightly twist and pin, then do the same with the other side, weaving and connecting the two so it feels like one chignon," says Francis. "It's about creating the shape, remembering to mimic the softness, and not twist too tightly." Once the updo was anchored in place, a final veil of hairspray was the finishing touch.