10 Easy Ponytail Hairstyles That Look More Complicated Than They Are

July 18, 2023
Marisa Petrarca
By: Marisa Petrarca | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
Person smiling and wearing an orange off-the-shoulder sweater with their dark hair in a high ponytail

When you wake up in the morning with just minutes to spare and many tasks to complete (hair, makeup, sustenance, brief meditation before taking on your busy day and so on), there’s not always enough time to create an intricate hairstyle. Sure, it’s quick and easy to throw your hair into a simple ponytail, but a lackluster pony can make you look and feel like you’re headed to the gym. 

Fortunately, with the help of Priscilla Valles, celebrity extensionist, and Kim Kimble, celebrity hairstylist and founder of Kim Kimble, you can learn how to up your ponytail game in just a matter of minutes with the right technique. So if you’re not sold on the overnight hairstyle game, want to do more than throw your hair up in a claw clip or you just aren’t a fan of the way your hair looks after it's air-dried, you should check out the following ponytail tips from Valles and Kimble. Plus, we’ve rounded up 8 easy ponytail tutorials from YouTube that look way more complicated than they actually are in case you need more inspo. 

How to Do a Ponytail: Tutorial

Long, High Ponytail

Clip-in extensions are a great way to pump up your pony, according to Valles. In addition to extensions, her secret to a great ponytail is starting with smooth, straight hair. “A smooth beginning will always result in a smooth, clean ponytail in the end,” she says. “It’s best to start with your own hair straight before doing it — it makes it easier to work with and easier to blend [the extensions].”

Step 1: Smooth Your Hair With a Brush and Hairspray

“Start off with smoothing out the hair with a bristle brush and using a good hairspray,” says Valles. You want your hair to be sleek and smooth before you start to assemble your ponytail. Once you’ve smoothed your hair, minimize flyaways with a hairspray like the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Unscented Hairspray.

Step 2: Secure Your Ponytail With an Elastic

Pull your hair into a high ponytail and secure it with a hair elastic. “Make sure to use a good, thick elastic band with a lot of elasticity,” says Valles. 

Step 3: Add Extensions

Boost the volume and length of your ponytail using clip-in hair extensions. “Get the longest extension clip-ins you can (which usually will have four clips on it),” says Valles. Next, clip the hair extensions to the front of the hair elastic and wrap the extensions around the ponytail so they completely cover and blend with your real hair. 

Step 4: Add Another Elastic

Make sure your ponytail is extra secure with the new extensions by adding one more thick hair elastic around the base of the ponytail. 

Step 5: Style Your Ponytail

Finally, add in a couple of curls to give your ponytail some extra flair and bounce.”Grab two big sections and curl with a two-inch curling iron,” says Valles. Finish by brushing out your curls and spritzing one more time with hairspray.

Slicked-Back Ponytail

No time to break out your extensions or curling iron? Follow these steps from Kimble for a basic slicked-back ponytail. 

Step 1: Brush Your Hair

“First, brush all of your hair backwards to get rid of tangles, bumps, and knots,” says Kimble. “Then, brush all of your hair to the back of your head at any height you prefer and start to grab your hair with one hand while brushing with the other.” This technique works for high ponytails, low ponytails and anything in between.

Step 2: Secure Your Ponytail With an Elastic

Once your ponytail is brushed out and smooth, tie it in place with a hair elastic to your desired tightness. 

Step 3: Slick Down Flyaways and Add Texture to Your Pony

Use a gel or pomade to slick down baby hairs and flyaways for maximum sleekness. Kimble recommends the Kim Kimble Edge Taming, Nourishing & Shine-Enhancing Hair Pomade With Shea Butter & Castor Oil. We also love the Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Edge Control Smoother. As for your pony itself, Kimble likes to add texture using dry shampoo.

Step 4: Smooth the Top of Your Ponytail

Since sleekness is the key to this look, go over your ponytail one last time with a bristle brush to make sure it’s ultra-smooth and to help set the gel.

Ponytail Styles to Try

Textured Ponytail

Even though Redken artist Ellen Divine created this textured look for the holiday season, it’s casual enough to wear every day. Divine starts by prepping the hair with a primer and blow-drying it with a paddle brush to make it smooth. Then, the pro adds volume at the root with the help of the Redken Root Lifter Volumizing Spray. We love how Divine leaves out a section of hair in the front and hides the ponytail elastic with a small piece of hair from underneath the pony. It’s these small details that make a huge difference in the overall look. 

Drawstring Ponytail

If you’re looking for a tutorial to help explain how to efficiently tie short hair in a drawstring pony, Jodian of The Brilliant Beauty has you covered. Some of the products you’ll need to have on hand are a leave-in conditioner, styling gel, rubber bands, some clips, an oil spray and a bobby pin.

Low, Braided Pony

For a look with a little more pizzazz, consider this chic braided low pony tutorial. It starts by using a fishtail braid technique to create a gorgeous woven effect. After passing a few strands of hair back and forth to the left and right, wrap a section of hair around the base of the ponytail and secure in place with two bobby pins.

Quick Yet Voluminous Ponytail

Vlogger Kayley Melissa transforms a boring, limp ponytail into a voluminous style in five minutes flat. The tutorial even includes a trick to eliminate hair sagging underneath your ponytail holder. As for what tools you’ll need? Melissa utilizes the help of mini claw clips, hair elastics, bobby pins and a hair brush. You could easily give this pony a little texture with a curling wand and a texturizing spray like the Redken Beach Spray.

Sleek Ponytail With a Center Part

To achieve a sleek, center-parted ponytail, follow these step-by-step instructions by Alaha Karimi. The first step is working gel throughout your hair to tame any flyaways and create a sleek texture. We love using a product like the Redken Max Sculpting Gel for this effect. After the hair is parted and secured into a pony, the pro finishes off with a hairspray to lock the look in place. For a budge-proof style, we always reach for the Matrix Fixer Hairspray.

Wavy Party Pony

Vlogger Mirella Belle prefers a loosely curled pony with a few face-framing pieces to look put-together without being too done up. Check out this video to see how she achieves the voluminous look. Pro tip: Curl the pieces that you are leaving out of your ponytail away from your face to get the look of pretty, face-framing tendrils.

Extra-Long Curly Ponytail

Want a long, luscious ponytail without extensions? Lana Summer has the perfect tutorial for curly hair. To define your curls before pulling your hair back, we recommend using a lightweight yet moisturizing curl-defining styling spray, like the Garnier Fructis Curl Shape Defining Spray Gel. If you prefer a cream over a spray, check out the Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Curl Defining Butter. Formulated with agave, avocado oil and honey, it nourishes and softens curls while amping up their shine and definition.

1-Minute Voluminous Ponytail

Drawing inspiration from a TikTok hack, YouTuber @LaineyMarieBeauty demonstrates an unbelievably quick and easy trick for creating a simple, voluminous ponytail. The best part? All you need is a single hair elastic — no styling tools or products required. To try the technique, you start by putting your hair up into a ponytail with a hair elastic like you normally would, but then you undo one loop of the elastic. You use that loop to section off half of your ponytail, secure it and tighten it. Then, the top half left out of the final loop covers the bottom half, which adds hidden volume. Next time you hit snooze on your morning alarm a few too many times, try this one-minute hair hack.  
Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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