Chic, classic, simple. The ponytail is the go-to style for all occasions. It is endlessly versatile, taking you from the gym to work, to a night out on the town. However, getting the perfect shape, movement, and height can be tricky to achieve. Luckily, stylists are happy to share their tips and tricks for creating the perfect pony.
Tip #1 Find Your Style
The point of a hairstyle is to create symmetry in the face, so, unless you have been genetically gifted with the perfect oval face, you may need to tweak your pony to find your own personal style. There are several different styles of ponytails to suit different face shapes.
Round faces benefit from some height at the crown, or a deep side part, whereas square and rectangular faces look best when framed with a few pieces left out of the pony, and a few angle-softening curls at the ends.
Tip #2 Prepare Your Hair
One of the biggest problems when styling a ponytail is when you have finally gathered all your hair into the position you want it, and you go to tie it up, only to find that there are lumps and bumps ruining your style.
The best way to avoid a lumpy crown is to brush your hair in the direction you want your ponytail to sit. For a high pony, brush your hair back in line with your cheekbones. For a low pony, brush your hair back over your ears toward the nape of your neck.
The type of brush you use on your hair can also make a difference. Use the right brush for your hair type to avoid breakage, and make styling your hair easy.
Tip #3 Texture, Texture, Texture
It may seem counterintuitive, but dirty hair often makes it easier to style your ponytail. Leaving your hair a day or two between washes will give your ponytail much-needed texture and volume, without the need for excessive product.
Of course, you don’t want your hair to look like an oily mess, so use a boar bristle brush to evenly distribute the oil from the roots to the tips. Your hair’s natural oils will help to achieve the slicked-down sleek look with less product and protect the ends from damage.
Tip #4 Use the Right Tools
There’s nothing more frustrating than finally getting your locks gathered into the perfect pony, and having the hair tie break when you try to tie it up. Get your tools and ties ready beforehand, and make sure they are the right tools for the job.
Clean your brushes before detangling your tresses. Stretch out hair ties, especially if you have thick hair. Straighten bobby pins to help grip those unruly pieces of hair that just won’t stay in your pony.
The best hair ties are snag-free elastics that will easily stretch to accommodate even the thickest of pony tails and wrap around three or four times to tightly secure your hair.
Tip #5 Turn Up the Volume
There are times when a low-key pony is essential, such as hitting the couch to catch up on Netflix or sweating at the gym. But, if you are heading out of the house, give some life to your look by adding a little volume.
The best way to add volume is to curl your hair before you gather it up. Use a large-barreled curling iron or try overnight heatless curls, then shake them out in the morning for a near-effortless way to get volume at the ends.
For volume on top, teasing and backcombing at your crown can create a bouffant perfect for those of us who weren’t blessed with thick, lustrous locks. Be careful not to overdo it, and tease your hair correctly, so you don’t leave a matted, tangled mess.
Tip #6 Double the Fun
Fine hair and shorter hairstyles can leave you with little to work with when it comes to creating your ponytail, but you don’t need to resort to extensions to achieve an Ariana Grande-level of ponytail sassiness. Try this simple tip to create the illusion of length and volume.
The double pony trick involves layering one ponytail over another to create a longer-looking style. Begin by creating some texture by curling the ends of your hair, and shaking out the curls to get some volume. Gather the top half of your half into a high pony, secure and tighten. Then, create another pony slightly lower underneath the top one. Twist the ends of the two ponies together to create the illusion of a single, long ponytail.
Tip #7 Use Product to Help
One of the pitfalls of attempting the perfect pony is annoying flyaway hairs that can ruin the sleek effect you are aiming for. The best way to tame flyways is with hairspray or mousse.
Lightly mist your hairspray onto a boar bristle brush, or even your hand, and gently brush back or press down the flyway hairs.
Tip #8 Hack Your Pony
The ponytail may look like a low-maintenance ‘do, but accomplishing a perfect balance of sleekness, height, and movement can be surprisingly difficult. Luckily, there are a few hacks to help you achieve your desired look.
If your thick hair is weighing down your ponytail, try using two elastics to give strength and support. To add height to a ponytail, tuck two bobby pins vertically into the underside of the hair elastic to lift the ends. Or, use a small butterfly clip in the center of the ponytail, and slightly tease the section above the clip.
Tip #9 Wrap It Up
For a final touch to add polish and sophistication to your style, try wrapping a small piece of hair around your ponytail to hide your hair elastic. Alternatively, take a small section of hair from underneath your pony and make a small braid, and wrap the braid around your hair elastic. Secure with a couple of bobby pins and spritz with a little hairspray to keep it in place.
The classic ponytail is the quintessential up-do, suitable for every situation, but it can be surprisingly difficult to achieve a sleek pony that also has volume and movement. Take your ponytail game to the next level by using some of these tips to create the perfect pony.
– Sophia Jackson