How to Get a Sleek, Slicked-Back Ponytail at HomeOctober 18, 2022
You can never go wrong with a killer ponytail. To be clear, we're not talking about the casual type of hairstyle you'd wear to the gym, but a sleek, slicked-back look suitable for date nights, evenings out with friends, or — as we've seen time and time again — the red carpet.
So what's the secret to getting the ultra-polished look at home? We tapped Nick Stenson, celebrity hairstylist for Ulta Beauty, for the professional's tips on DIY-ing a slicked-back ponytail on your own. Ahead, he breaks down how to master the look depending on your hair type.
For fine hair, start by blow-drying your strands smooth after applying a handful of medium hold foam all over the hair, says Stenson. Then, once it’s dry, “apply a small amount of oil (we love the Kérastase Elixir Ultime Hydrating Hair Oil Serum) from your mid-lengths to ends.” After that, use a boar bristle brush to firmly brush your hair straight back from your hairline and gather it into a ponytail, finishing by securing it with an elastic.
For medium-textured hair, start with a medium hold gel like the Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Styling Gel, applying it all over wet hair and then blowing it dry smooth, advises the pro. Then, "apply a small amount of medium hold foam from mid-lengths to ends on dry hair and use a boar bristle brush to firmly brush your hair straight back from your hairline and gather it into a ponytail, finishing by securing it with an elastic.
Thick or Textured Hair
For thick hair, blow dry your hair after applying a firm hold gel all over your strands. Then, use a boar bristle brush to “stretch the texture as smooth as possible," he says. "Once dry, take small sections and flat iron to remove any unwanted texture." Next, “apply a generous amount of oil evenly throughout your hair and using the same brush, take sections and spray them with a finishing spray,” like the L'Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray. Finish by brushing the pony into place using “firm tension” and “secure with an elastic.”
Pro Tip: If you are in a hurry, Stenson says another option is to skip the blow-drying step altogether; just be sure to still follow the other steps, like applying hair gel and utilizing a boar bristle brush. "The finished look won't be as flawless, but it's a quick alternative when you don't have time and still want to look great," he says.