Okay, before reading any further, you must agree to excuse all crappy photographs and messy-bathroom-backgrounds. :)
Now that that's finished, I had a chance to steal my niece Abby this afternoon. I had my motives, and luckily Abby agreed to let me fix her hair like Belle. I actually did step-by-step photos on this one, just because I figure it is a really common costume, so it will hopefully be useful to someone. I'm sure you could adapt this for someone with short hair, but Abby's was perfect- brown and long, just like Belle. So here's the do!
First, start off with a half-part from ear to ear, then put the back section into two ponytails. I put the bottom one off center, because it seems like Belle always has that part over her shoulder. Next, take the very front and part it right in the middle. (Abby has bangs, so this will work for most haircuts.)
Now, with the front section, start with a small bit of hair right in the front, and twist adding small sections each twist. Once you have all the hair included, twist it right back to the upper pony and tie it off with a rubber band.
Curl both ponytails. (I use a straight iron for most curls- check this video if you don't know how to do it)
Now, put your fingers where you want the base of the "poof" to be. Flip the ponytail over, and pin where your fingers were.
Now, flip the pony back over, and pin the base below the ponytail- make sure to shape a little so it has the right curve.
Now, you just need to place the curls to cover the bobbypins, and extend some of the hair from the top ponytail to cover the top of the bottom- just to make it look like it's all one section of hair.
Last, take a piece of ribbon (this is a thick grosgrain- if I were doing it again, I'd probably find a satin, but this is what I had on hand) Using a safety pin, push the ribbon through the hair and place around the front base of the poof.
Now instead of tying it off in any kind of a bow (I don't think Belle had a bow) I just cut off the ends, and secured it with a bobbypin- making sure to hide the ends with a curl
So there ya have it. Comment if you have any questions. Thanks Abby!