Playing Up the Ponytail
What's one hairstyle that works for almost everyone and for any occasion? The ponytail.
This classic 'do does more then keep your hair off your face. When styled correctly, it can add glamour to any outfit.
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“Ponytails are practically the easiest way to change your look,” explains New York City-based celebrity hairstylist Angelo David. “Aside from the fact that styling takes practically seconds to do, a ponytail is a good look if you want to highlight your face. It can also instantly make you look younger, since you pull your hair back and up, creating an illusion of an instant facelift.”
Raphael Reboh, owner and founder of Femme Coiffure Hair Spa in Miami Beach, says the ponytail has even more to offer than a Botox-free makeover.
“Some women experience hairstyles that fall by midday. It could be due to the weather or they may be overdue for a haircut,” says Reboh. “If you are in between treatments, the ponytail conceals any hair needs. It works in the office, if it is sleek and non-fussy. It is also sexy for nighttime, exposing the décolletage, face and ornamental accessories.”
Looking to redo your new favorite style? Take some inspiration from these stars:
For a quick ponytail makeover, add a braid like actress Blake Lively. You can go traditional or try a fishtail. Either will give your hair waves for the next day.
Braids shouldn't be reserved for just the tail end of your hair. Many stylists agree that you can incorporate them throughout your hair for a unique twist. Take a cue from actress Jessica Alba, who wears her ponytail on one side and a pinned braid on the other.
Trying for a smooth finish like Beyonce? Straighten or blow dry your hair and make sure your ponytail is close to the nape of your neck. Finish with hairspray to avoid flyaways.
When it comes to ponytails, don’t forget to bang it up. “Sweep your bangs to the side for a more glam look,” says friend and stylist David Babaii. “You can also secure the ends behind your ears with a bobby pin if you have longer bangs.”
Wearing flats? Singer Leona Lewis’ high-top ponytail can give you extra height for days when you don’t feel like teetering on stilettos.
Want to master Carrie Underwood’s messy ponytail like a pro? “Slightly back brush [hair] at the base and a bit down the shaft," and "pull the front out a bit as well so give a messy undone pony," says Hollywood-based stylist Janine Jarman.
When it comes to adding some flair, it’s easy to make a bold statement with a few tools. “Accessorize your ponytail with headbands, bobby pins or cute hair ties,” suggest Erica Birdoes, Senior Stylist at Prive Salon Los Angeles.
When in doubt, ask your stylist for advice. While singer Katy Perry’s vibrant sky-high ponytail is a guaranteed head-turner on the red carpet, it’s a daring style few can master for daily wear. “Make sure your ponytail shape is appropriate for your face and age range,” warns Birdoes. “It’s best to discuss with your stylist.”
Add some '60s glam to your ponytail, as worn by actress Reese Witherspoon. “You can put on a headband and then make a ponytail, which keeps your hair up without looking frumpy,” says Beverly Hills-based stylist Jessica Galvan. Make sure the hair has some volume first by blow drying and then curling the ends. Once you apply the headband, tease the roots on top for extra lift.
To make your usual ponytail sexier like country singer/actress Julianne Hough, stylist Angelo David recommends using clip-ons, which will give your hair extra volume in just seconds. “Tease the fringe section before pulling it back into a ponytail to give you that extra height,” he says.
For a night out on the town, your ponytail needs some extra attention. Fortunately, there’s plenty of room for creativity. “You can wave the ponytail, curl it, or flatiron it,” says South Beach-based celebrity hairstylist Danny Jelaca. “It’s also nice to wrap your hair or pieces into the tail. Make sure to use pomade and shine hairspray to get it perfect for night.”
What’s the difference between a ponytail for working out and working at the office? “Work with a hair fastener that is as close to your natural hair color,” says Raphael Reboh, owner and founder of Femme Coiffure Hair Spa in Miami Beach. “Lose the red, greens, pins and blues–use them for workouts.”