The ponytail is the busy woman’s best (hair) friend. Scooping your hair up and tying it back is by far the fastest way to style it, especially if you’re rushing out the door to do the AM drop-off, dashing off to the gym, or heading into work for an early morning meeting. But it’s super easy to glam up your ponytail beyond the boring pull back and tie. Here’s how to pretty up your ponytail, and say goodbye to that mom bun forever.
“The ponytail is still by far one of the most popular hairstyles,” says Quinn Carroll, a stylist at the Christopher Noland Salon in Greenwich. “It’s very versatile with lots of options to dress it up.” The major trend with ponytails is to keep them looking soft and natural. “Even if it took you 15 minutes, the idea is that the ponytail should look effortlessly delicate,” says Carroll.
One of the best ways to wear your ponytail is to the side. The side ponytail is more stylish than its traditional sister style of being worn pulled back and to the center. By adding extra hair around the side of the face and neck, “the side pony makes for a loose, casual look,” says Carroll. The side ponytail can be worn high or low, depending on your personal style and length of your hair.
Jennifer Devine Pirozzoli, owner of Devine Beauty in Bridgeport, loves the look of a well-styled ponytail. “I’ll first pull the hair into a ponytail and then use hot rollers to give the back more volume,” says Devine Pirozzoli. “A great time-saving tip for moms in the morning is to put the rollers in while they get their kids ready for school.” Once heated, remove the curlers and either leave the hair full of finished curls or tease them for a messy but pretty ponytail look.
If you’re looking to perfect your ponytail, you should also consider giving it some poof. Section off the hair around your crown into one-inch pieces. Taking a fine-tooth comb, tease each section, then gently brush it up and back into a ponytail. “It will add some volume, which looks good on everyone,” says Carroll. Or leave the teased section out, softly brushing the hair back and securing it with bobby pins for added height.
But that doesn’t mean you should slick it all back. “Slicking your hair into a tight ponytail is not flattering for most faces,” says Devine Pirozzoli. “You need some volume in the front and on the top.” If you do opt to keep the ponytail flat to your head, use some styling product to avoid flyaways and frizzies from popping up. And be sure to part your hair to the side—and not down the middle—to avoid a severe line framing your face.
If you’re rocking bangs and think that you can’t wear a ponytail for fear of looking like you’re 12 years-old, think again. Simply slick your bangs to the side and clip with a bobby pin for a cute look. Or tease up your bangs (instead of the hair around your crown) and spray to add body to your look.
When tying your hair back, opt for elastic bands that don’t contain metal. If you have finer hair you should use a thinner elastic; a thicker one if your hair is fuller. “The elastic has to be tight enough to keep your hair in place,” says Carroll. “Otherwise, your ponytail will keep falling or just come out completely.” But never, ever use a rubber band to tie your hair back. A rubber band can break, or worse, get snarled in your hair. You’ll wind up having to cut it out—along with some of the tangled hair as well.
To avoid having the elastic show—and make your ponytail prettier—hairstylists recommend using your own hair to cover the band. To achieve this, take a small section of your hair out from the ponytail and wrap it around the elastic for a more finished look.
If you don’t have a lot of hair but love the ponytail look, you can always add a clip-in ponytail or bun from popular hair product lines such as Hair U Wear or HairDo from Ken Paves. “It helps give you added length to make for a more glam ponytail,” says Carroll.
Ponytails can be accessorized in a lot of versatile ways. One big trend right now is to add color. Popular among teens and 20-somethings, colored chalk rubbed right into a section of the hair is a fun way to add a pop of color to a ponytail. Right now, jewel tones and pinks are the most sought-after colors. Best of all, if you’re looking for a temporary transformation, most colored chalks wash out in a single shampoo.
If you’re a glitzy gal, you can always add a cute clip, rhinestones or a flower into your ponytail for an added wow factor. Some stylists, like Devine Pirozzoli, add crystals to the hair, which lasts for several shampoos. Or you can even braid your hair into an inverted French braid on one side to give volume to your hairdo.
The ponytail is one of the most versatile hairstyles for women. From colors to clips, accessories to accents, the options are limitless. How you wear your ponytail—and where you choose to take it—is totally up to you.