5 Easy Ways to Transform a Ponytail
Change Your Style
Sure, it's the perfect style for your daily sweat session, but the good ol' ponytail is way more versatile than you may think. "There are so many different versions out there," says Elie Camoro, co-creative director of Frédéric Fekkai 5th Avenue. "You can quickly and easily transform a basic ponytail to create an entirely different look." Case in point: The five different pumped-up ponies shown here, with a step-by-step tutorial so you can recreate each look on your own.
The Runway Pony
The simplicity is what makes this style so cool, and it even looks good on shorter strands, says Camoro. Start with straight hair (if you have a naturally curly texture, you'll need to blow-dry and flat-iron to achieve the sleek finish) by parting your hair down the middle. Then apply a dollop of smoothing cream throughout to tame any frizzies. (We like Suave Professionals Sleek Anti-Frizz Cream, $2.94; walmart.com.) Brush back into a low ponytail secured at the nape of your neck. (Don't forget to try these double-duty hairstyles, too.)
The Intentionally Messy Pony
Consider this your new go-to whenever there's no time to shampoo: "For this undone ponytail, the dirtier your hair is, the better," says Camoro. First, flip your hair over and mist liberally with a dry shampoo, like Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo ($4.99; target.com), which will both absorb oil and add fullness and volume. Flip back over, backcomb a small section at the crown of your head for a little more height, then gather into a loose ponytail at the center of the back of your head. Secure with a clear elastic. Finish by pulling out a few pieces around your face and at the back of your neck to enhance the undone, 'I woke up like this,' effect.
The Rockstar Pony
Braids are having a major moment, and this is a great way to incorporate one when you're craving a slightly edgier look (this style is also good when you need to camouflage dark roots or color that isn't particularly fresh or vibrant, says Camoro). Take a section at the front of your hair; it should be about the same width as the distance between your eyes, he advises. Braid it backward so that it sits right on your scalp, though whether you want to keep it tight, as shown here, or loosen it slightly is up to you. Keep braiding until you reach the middle of the back of your head and tie off the braid. While the pony seen here has multiple braids, Camoro says this looks equally good with just one. Finish by gathering the rest of your hair into a ponytail and spritz with hairspray, like Ouai Medium Hold Hairspray ($26; theouai.com), to keep everything in place. (PS: Don't forget to follow these tips for every type of braid.)
The Big & Teased Pony
"This is a great look for a party or fun night out," says Camoro. After creating a high ponytail, take a small strand of hair (about a 1/2-inch wide) and wrap it around the elastic to make the look a bit more polished. Next, split the pony into three one-inch sections and use a backcomb to tease each one, starting at the base of the ponytail and moving all the way to the tips. Mist your newly-fluffed pony with hairspray, then spritz a frizz-fighting mist over the top (we love IGK Laid-Back Defrizz and Anti-Static Spray, $29; sephora.com). "The contrast between the smooth front and volume in the back is what adds drama," he explains. It's worth noting that this style works best on hair that's thicker; fine hair can often fall flat, especially if it's longer than your collarbone, says Camoro.
The Fishtail Pony
Have long, thick hair that you just don't know what to do with? This style is your new BFF, since the dramatic fishtail can get lost on short or fine hair, notes Camoro. (Lea Michele rocked the same style for a SoulCycle class, so you know it'll hold up!) Create a high ponytail, which will draw more attention to the braid, then run a texturizing cream through it for extra grip and control (Camoro uses Fekkai Blowout Texturizer, $20; fekkai.com). For the fishtail, divide the pony into two equal sections. Take one small strand from the left piece and cross it over to the right. Repeat on the right, taking a small strand and crossing it over to the left. Repeat all the way down, stopping about two to three inches from the ends. Finally, use your thumbs to gently tug on either side of the braid to both loosen it and give a fuller appearance. Bonus: Once you take the braid out, your hair will have a perfectly wavy texture, no hot tools required.