Want to give your style a boost? Put your hair up and handle it – literally.
The ponytail is a hairstyle many of us sport everyday. To work, to the gym, to a night out – and these days it’s almost only synonymous with pop songstress, Ariana Grande.
But where did this reliable and versatile hairstyle come from? The ponytail was seen throughout history, mostly on men in Ancient Greece, pre-17th Century China, British and other European soldiers in the 1700s and so on. The pony’s biggest break into everyday wear and hair culture may possibly be attributed to none other than, Barbie. The first Barbie doll was released in 1959, sporting a white and black-striped bathing suit and a low ponytail. That same year, the movie Gidget was released starring Sandra Dee, surfing and flirting in a ponytail and cute retro one-piece that can still be worn today.
Today, we pull our hair up into a ponytail when we are feverishly working on a project over our desks and on our laptops, creating something artistic, trying to keep cool, keeping it out of our faces during yoga or lifting weights, dancing the night away, and so on. It’s a symbol of a woman on the go and it’s been changed and added to over the years. It can be short, long, or super long with hair extensions and it can be put up with everything from hair ties to pins and sometimes even pens.
The hashtag #ponytail pulls up nearly 3 million images on Instagram—if that doesn’t show the versatility and longevity of this hairstyle—we don’t know what does. While sporting the ponytail hairstyle remember a few points to ensure you keep your hair and scalp healthy and to allow you to wear the ponytail hairstyle for years to come.
- Don’t always wear your ponytail high. You’ll see in the examples below; you can wear it in many different ways. The constant pulling at the scalp can be painful, even for the professionals (Ariana has mentioned she is in pain after wearing her signature style for days).
- Be sure to remove your ponytail before sleep, this will help prevent breakage and pulling.
- Give your hair a break. The tight ponytail is not for everyday, it can cause balding along the hairline and breakage or weakening of the hair shaft.
In the spirit of celebrating the faithful ponytail, we’ve pulled together 25 ponytail hairstyles that will make you want to put your hair up.
The Ponytail Princess
Or should we dub her queen? We had to start with Ariana herself, given we’ve already referenced her so much. She once told Allure Magazine that she can use up to a foot’s length of hair extensions to create her signature look. Her stylists have also told the media that the higher the ponytail, the fiercer the look.
To recreate Ariana Grande’s signature, grand ponytail, we recommend Seamless Hair Extensions in 20”. Be sure to straighten your hair for a sleek look and straighten your hair extensions also.
To allow for easy insertion of your clip-in extensions, gather a small amount of hair about 2-3 inches from the front of your head and tie it loosely. Next, gather a section of hair at the crown of your head and create a small ponytail about a centimeter thick with a thin elastic. This will be your base ponytail. Next, insert a 4-clip weft directly under the base ponytail. Here’s a little trick – insert the weft upside down to prevent bumps when you eventually tie all your hair up.
Section a layer underneath the weft and again insert another 4-clip weft upside down. This little trick will help add that Ariana volume and length to your ponytail. On top of the base ponytail, insert a 3-clip weft, clipped in downward. Add two 2-clip wefts on each side of your head also facing downward to help even out the look.
Once the extensions have been applied, gather all of your hair into a high ponytail, covering all the wefts. Lightly brush your hair using a Loop Brush to smooth out any bumps and to ensure the extensions are hidden. Finally, tease the ponytail in layers for added volume and hairspray any flyaways back for a sleek finish. If you want to hide the hair tie, grab a piece of your hair and wrap it around the elastic, then pin it underneath the elastic.
The Duchess Ponytail
Speaking of royalty, the former Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle sported a middle part, sleek ponytail on the royal tour of Australia. The look turned heads for its effortlessness and the change up from her usual style of a loose bun or waves. She paired the laid-back ponytail with a simple white collared shirt and blazer, so akin to the everyday girl’s 9 to 5 OOTD. If it’s good for the Duchess, it’s good for us.
Scrunchies have made a fierce comeback this year and we love ’em. There’s something about this velvet mustard scrunchie that certainly caught our eye for fall. The perfect color and perfect fabric to kick of cozy season.
The Gossip Girl effect
Be it a bow or a scarf, we can thank Blair Waldorf for this simple yet, sophisticated look. Take those satin scarves out of the closet (or borrow one from mom). Incorporate a vintage print, or vibrant looks by tying a scarf at the base of your neck for a low, loose ponytail, perfect for coffee dates or the office.
The high ponytail meets the bubble ponytail for this gorgeous, voluminous look that is sure to upgrade any boring updo. This a great look for a night out with the girls, and all you need is a couple extra hair ties and few more minutes to your ponytail routine.
Bling and chains
Make way for this showstopper of a look. We love the blend of chains and bling that can easily be attached to your hair elastic and hidden with your own hair or hair extensions for extra length. Pair this with your favourite leather jacket or LBD for a little rebel look.
The postpartum ponytail
Our favourite new mom, Shay Mitchell posted this stunning photo of herself and the perfect braided ponytail with the caption: “Braid? Check. J Lo hoops? Check. Nipple pads? CHECK.” We love how Shay keeps it real, but still slays in this stunning look. New moms don’t always have a lot of time, and some may even deal with postpartum hair loss, but a simple pony with braid like this can be achieved even between baby time.
The new retro
Mrs. Hailey Bieber gave us some retro vibes at the Met Gala earlier this year, with a flipped-out ponytail using Ash Blonde Luxy Hair extensions, topped with a hair bow. A fun take on the pouf pony hairstyle seen in the 60s, Hailey’s look is a mix of new and old. We love the addition of the cat eye in her makeup for that true throwback feel.
The Bey pony
Also seen at the Met Gala, but a couple years before, Beyoncé rocked this high, ponytail that cascaded to the side in curls that sat perfectly above her shoulder. Expect nothing less from Queen Bey who wore this ponytail like a crown with this stunning bejewelled dress. We love this pony hairstyle because it’ll look good on almost every woman looking to give their tired ponytails some life. While not focused on length, add some volume to your side pony with Luxy’s 16” seamless extensions. They can easily be curled before applying and inserted before tying all your hair up.
Sweet and sexy
Yes, you can do both. Khloe Kardashian’s take on the half up pony is the perfect blend of sweet and sexy. The high ponytail and waves offer beautiful volume and a mischievous playfulness. To achieve a full look like Khloe’s, find the shade of hair extensions for you and style them before applying. It’s kind of like brunch with the family at 11 a.m., hopping to the club for 11 p.m. kind of vibe – who wouldn’t want the perfect day to night look?
On a wave
With the success of her beauty brand, lingerie brand, and recent couture clothing line launch, it’s fair to say Rihanna is more than just on a wave, she is carving out a whole new world of success for herself and her team. We clap for you RiRi. As a busy entrepreneur, she still continues to wow us with her trend-setting looks. The simplicity of this wavy ponytail screams, “I’m a boss babe with not a lot of time, but I can keep my hair on point.” Now if only new music were on the way…
Pearls for the girls
Sometimes it’s the smallest accessories that make a big difference. Take this pearl hair tie for example. A delicate accessory that would look great with really anything and low maintenance too, when added to a low ponytail. Keep this style in your back pocket if you’re running a few minutes behind for a quick, but put together look.
Who needs a veil when you have fresh flowers to create the ultimate bridal ponytail? Perfect for any season, brides can incorporate elements of their bouquets, décor or colors in their hairstyle. Brides and their stylists will often opt for hair extensions on their big day, to add volume and length that can’t be achieved with natural hair, and they’d certainly help get this look down the aisle. It’s a beautiful and fresh alternative to the typical bridal hair accessory or veil.
A little bit of everything
For when you simply can’t decide, why not add a big braid to your ponytail and top it off with some versatile hair accessories. It’s one of those rare occasions where a little bit of everything go so well together and make for a head-turning hair day.
Bring on the romance
There is something wistful and magical about this look. The hair accessory, almost fits like a crown topping off a wavy ponytail. The few loose hairs around the sides create a truly romantic look. While it definitely works for brides, try this hairstyle with a low back or off the shoulder look (hair accessory optional) for your next special date night.
Ice cold ponytail
By ice, we mean the shiny kind that usually goes on your ring finger. Alicia Keys stuck a couple diamond-looking crystals into her long, braided pony for an ice-cold look that will certainly help you shine. We love the subtlety of using small (but shiny) accessories and dispersing them throughout the ponytail – an easy look to pull off.
Perfect for upcoming holiday parties or New Year’s, adding glitter to your ponytail is a sure way to get you noticed. Get creative and use glitter to match your outfit. Part your hair down the middle or off to the side and add glitter to your part as well as the ponytail. There are so many creative ways to work this look, and all it takes is a little glitter.
The rainbow look
Rainbow hair was a trend not too long ago, but this adds a twist, using pastel shades that blend nicely when tied up. We love the pop of pink hair that wraps the elastic – definitely a cotton candy-type style that’s perfect for when summer rolls back around.
The low side pony
The low side pony is great as it lets you wear your hair loosely, without having to tug on your hairline too tight. Using a braid off to the side adds a little drama and leaving a few strands loose around the face make for a versatile look.
Short hair, don’t care
Paying tribute to the short ponytails. Wearing them high when possible can make for a messy, effortless look. But short ponytails also look great worn low with a few loose hairs for a wispy effect, or slicked back for something more sharp.
Bangs and pony
While the decision to get bangs or not is always a toughie, pairing the style with a ponytail isn’t. With bangs, tying your hair up in a ponytail is low maintenance and versatile – it’s also two very flattering hairstyles put together. Want bangs but don't want the commitment? Try clip-in bangs for an instant style change.
The Gym Pony
Seen in yoga, barre, spin studios and gyms around the world – the gym pony keeps your hair up and out of your face while you get your sweat on. We recommend not wearing hair extensions during a workout to save it from sweat and tangles, but they are a great addition to your gym bag when you’re looking for a post-workout look.
Even off the runway, Kendall Jenner serves looks. We love this voluminous ponytail with side-swept bangs – a true model off duty look that the everyday girl can strut too.
There’s something strong about a slicked down middle part that just screams boss babe. Considering model and body activist Mia Kang is one, she rocks this ponytail look really well. If you have a big day ahead of you or you’re feeling yourself for the goddess you are – you can’t go wrong with this ponytail style.
We hope this list has given you some style inspo for your ponytails to come. Did we miss a ponytail look? Share with us your go-to style.
Written by: Rosalyn Solomon