How to Make a Ponytail

Four Methods:Making a Polished PonytailMaking a Side PonytailCreate an "Undone" PonytailTrying Variations

A ponytail is the most universal of all hair styles. Its simple elegance and practicality crosses age borders, as it is worn by all girls and women, young and old. With a little practice and time, you can be a master at this versatile style.

Method 1
Making a Polished Ponytail

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    Decide on washed or unwashed hair. You can wear a ponytail with freshly-washed locks and have a neat and perfected pony or you can have two to three old hair for more of a messy style, both look lovely. You'll have flyaways but those create the look.[1]
    • If you decide you want to wear your hair in a ponytail and have just shampooed: You can easily style your hair into a polished ponytail to perfect this you may want to use products to perfect the volume and texture. Since having a clean pony has to be perfect.
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    Use thickening spray or dry shampoo before you begin. Spray on a bit of thickening spray or a little dry shampoo, focus on the roots of your hair. This will give you more volume and hold, but don't over use products because you can dry out your hair.
    • If you don't have either of these products on hand, baby-powder can work in a pinch. Sprinkle a small amount into your palm and massage into the roots of your hair. The baby-powder will help absorb excess oil and will add texture and lift to your roots, but don't do this all the time it can work as a one off.
    • Be sure to thoroughly brush the powder out, though, so that you won't have white or grey streaks throughout your ponytail.
    • You can even make your own dry shampoo at home. If you have darker hair, add a bit of cocoa powder to darken the final product—be prepared to develop a sudden craving for brownies, though!
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    Curl or straighten your hair. You can choose. Use a curling iron or flat iron to create soft curls or waves (curl your hair in 2-inch sections). Your curls will last longer if you lightly spritz the sections with hair spray before curling, or if you run a small amount of gel or mousse throughout your hair before you curl. Use flat iron to create a perfect pony. Use a spray or two of hairspray before and after to make sure it stays the same. You can also use the flat iron on any flyaways.
    • Alternatively, you can set all of your hair in hot rollers. Leave them in until they are fully cooled.
    • You can pile your hair high on the crown of your head, place into a ponytail, and then add rollers. If you have heated rollers, wait a while, if yours don't heat up, go to sleep with them on.
    • Once you wake up take them out or if you have heated rollers, once have cooled completely, take them out then loosely comb through your hair with your fingers. Don't use a comb or brush, or the curls will relax too much.
    • You can speed up the cooling process by quickly blasting your hair with cool air from your blow-dryer. (if yours has that setting) to help your curls set.
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    Tease the crown of your hair. Lift up a three-inch section at the front/top of your head and gently backcomb the underside with a fine-toothed comb. Gently smooth the front of the hair with a brush.
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    You can flip your hair upside down and brush so then you get more volume. Then gather your hair into a ponytail using either your hands or a brush. Do this carefully, so as not to brush out your curls and volume. For a classic ponytail look, center the ponytail midway between your crown and the nape of your neck.[2]
    #Secure the ponytail with an elastic that matches your hair-color or use a clear invisibobble if you have thin hair. In order to make sure that your style will last and that no flyaways will escape, give your hair a light misting with hairspray.

Method 2
Making a Side Ponytail

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    Add shine serum or spray to your hair, don't apply the serum to your scalp otherwise it will look greasy. You don't want your hair to look too shiny otherwise it will come across as greasy. So only add a small amount of product to enhance your hair's shine before you begin.
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    Create a deep side part. It's up to you on which side of your face you want to make your part. Most people's hair falls naturally to one side over the other. For a natural look, go with your natural part. If you'd like a bit more volume at the top of your head, part your hair on the opposite side.
    • A good guide is to begin your part at the highest point of the arch in your eyebrow.[3]
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    Gather your hair to the opposite side of your part. For example, if you've parted your hair on the left side, gather your hair to the right side
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    Secure your side-ponytail with an elastic low behind your ear. Choose an elastic that matches your hair, and consider wrapping the elastic with a thin piece of hair (secure the end with a hidden bobby-pin).
    • Alternatively, you can choose a fun ribbon, or tuck a flower step into your elastic
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    Make the finishing touches. Straighten your ponytail with a flat-iron if you have straight (or mostly straight) hair; this will make your strands even more sleek and shiny. For wavy or curly hair, use a cream to define and add separate your curls.

Method 3
Create an "Undone" Ponytail

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    Begin with bed-head. For this style, your hair shouldn't be too smooth. As with just about any ponytail style, it is well-suited for unwashed hair. Even if you have washed recently, though, you are aiming for tousled or wavy hair.
    • An easy way to get soft, unfussy waves is to braid or twirl your slightly damp hair into a bun and sleep on it. This will require a bit of planning ahead, but can save you precious time in the morning and sets you up for a simple and quick styling session in the morning.
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    Gather your hair at the nape of your neck. Use your hands or a brush to do this; make sure that you don't have any major knots in your hair, but don't over brush it. You want to keep that slight bed-head look.
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    Divide your hair into two even sections. Next, tie the two sections together as though you were beginning to tie your shoelaces.
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    Tie your hair two to three more times. Once you've completed your knots, loosely wrap an elastic around the ponytail.
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    Slide bobby-pins under the knots you've tied, and then remove the hair elastic. If you're worried about the style staying in place, you can leave the elastic, but removing it will make your ponytail look even more casual and undone.
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    Try a knotted side-ponytail variation of this style. Instead of securing and tying your hair at the nape of your neck, make a side part, and gather your hair below your ear. Divide the hair into sections and knot twice. Using a thin elastic, secure the hair directly under the knots.
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Method 4
Trying Variations

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    Make a 1950s inspired ponytail. Follow steps 1-3 for a polished ponytail. After you've curled your hair, barely brush the curls. You're aiming for tight and shiny curls. Gather your ponytail higher up on your head. You can leave your curls in ringlets or, once in a ponytail, brush them up to try to get a flip.
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    Make a 1960s inspired ponytail. Follow steps 1-3 for a polished ponytail. When you get to step four (teasing your hair), tease the top quarter of your hair. Go for lots of volume. Flip the teased section of your hair back and gather it into a ponytail near the back of your head (gently smooth the front of this teased section). The bottom half of your hair will be hanging down. Gather the rest of your hair and pull it into a ponytail as well, directly underneath the top ponytail. Divide the lower ponytail in half and pull the ends in opposite directions to move the ponytail up and tighten it. Tighten the elastic another loop if needed. Take a thin piece of hair, wrap it around both ponytails and secure with a bobby-pin.
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    Try a teased and braided ponytail. Separate the top quarter of your hair and tease the underside. Flip it over and gently smooth the top; gather this into a ponytail at the back of your head and secure with a hair elastic. Next, create a french braid on both sides of your head, braiding towards the back of your head toward where you secured your top ponytail. Once you've completed both side braids, gather all the hair together into one ponytail.
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    Try a flip-through ponytail. Start with a loose ponytail; this style works best with a fairly low ponytail. From the underside of the ponytail, reach up through the opening you've created, grab the entire ponytail, and pull it up and through the opening.
    • You can also wear this style in a half-ponytail. Gather only the top portion of your hair into a ponytail and flip it through, leaving the bottom half of your hair hanging down.
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    Wear pigtails. Divide your hair into two sections by parting your hair down the middle of your head, and create a ponytail on each side. The position and placement of your pigtails can be optional: experiment with low, loose pigtails (situated low behind your ears), or high, tight pigtails (situated above your ears).
    • Classic pigtails are symmetrical (the same amount of hair gathered on each side).
    • This playful style works well for shorter hair that can't be pulled all the way back.
    • Experiment with a straight centered part, but don't be afraid to try a funkier zigzag part, too.


  • Dampen your brush with a bit of water or hairspray if you are trying to get a sleek look. If you have bangs but want a sleek front, you may need to use some carefully placed bobby-pins, or consider wearing a headband to keep them from falling forward.
  • For a more romantic or casual look, leave your bangs out of the ponytail or let a few face-framing tendrils hang loose.
  • Style just the front of your hair if you're short on time. While a ponytail is a great style choice for days you don't have a lot of time to spare, consider styling your bangs and/or the front of your hair before pulling your hair back. You'll have more volume and shine, and any pieces that fall out will do what you want them to (as opposed to sticking out willy-nilly!).
  • Finish all of your ponytail looks with a spritz of hairspray. Experiment with different brands and hold-strengths to find the one that's right for your hair and which won't leave it crunchy or heavy. Too much product can weigh your hair down, pull out curls, or make your hair look greasy.
  • If you're curling your hair for your ponytail, curl all of it if time permits. This will result in a more polished final look. Furthermore, if you need to take your hair down later, all of your locks will be bouncy and curly. However, if you're short on time, you can just curl the ponytail once you've gathered and secured it with an elastic.
  • When gathering your hair into a ponytail, lean and tip your head back. This will give you volume and will prevent lines and bumps.[4] You can flip your hair forward (head upside down) to gather it into a ponytail, especially if you're going for a very high ponytail, but you won't necessarily get more volume and it may be harder to center your ponytail.[5]

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Categories: Ponytails