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Ponytails: Easy Hairstyles

Karen Marie Shelton/Dedicated To FFOS - Copyright  - All Rights Reserved 
Revised Date:  12/25/08 - Original Publication Date: 12/15/2005

Introduction

Image of Carmen Electra
With
front "quiff" & mid-back long pony

Ponytails aren't just for playing sports or surviving bad hair days. 

Image of Gwen Stefani
In
High Crown
Long Ponytail

This easy hairstyle can be worn 24/7 and dressed down or up.  Everyone from babies to big name celebrities love ponytails, known also as hair tails, ponies and simply tails.

A truly universal style, the ponytail is worn by men and women or all ages, races and hair types.

Ponytail How-to Steps

Whether you start with wet or dry, freshly washed or aged strands, complete the following steps for creation of your basic ponytail:

1.  Make sure that hair is completely detangled and knot free. 

Do not create a ponytail out of hair that is tangled or has knots. This may make the knots more difficult to remove down the line. 

Make sure that you take extra time to detangle any knots at the base or where the base of the ponytail will be located.

Continued below ↓
 

Image of Gwen Stefani
With
Short Mid-Back Spiked Pony
With Side Swept Bangs

2.  Use a good quality (boar's bristle is always a good bet) and your fingers to direct the hair into the ponytail.  Brush the hair into the direction you wish the hair to lay and use your fingers and hands to help direct the hair.

Once you have gathered the hair into the desired base location, use one hand to hold the base hair while you use the other hand to attach the elastic band to the base.

3.  Always use a "hair friendly" elastic or other pony base attachment to prevent pulling or ripping fragile hair. 

Image of Pauley Perrete
With Side Ponytails

Hollywood hairdresser Robert Hallowell prefers using Bungee cords for his celebrity clients.  He loves the Bungees, because "they are adjustable to any hair length and thickness" and can be "wrapped very tightly before closing off". 

He also likes the fact that bungees can be easily unhooked to release the hair without ripping or tearing.

Jessica Simpson's hairdresser Ken Paves prefers the Blax ponytail holders.  He notes that "they hold the hair a lot more snuggly" and to avoid pulling or tearing hair, he simply "cuts them off with a scissors" when he wants to remove them.

4.  Take your time when creating your ponytail.  The key to a great ponytail is making sure that all of the hair that is pulled into the ponytail base is smooth and bump free.

Ponytail Musings

Image of Pauley Perrete
With
Wrapped Top Side Ponytails

Ponytails are incredible versatile.  Consider the following pony rules:

1.  For a fluffy hair style, shampoo and blow dry hair and then wrap into your favorite pony style. 

2.  Stretch time in-between shampoo sessions by wearing a ponytail.

3.  Wear multiple ponytails for a funky look.

4.  Play with a wide range of hair accessories from simple "hair friendly" elastics like Blax or Bungee cords in different colors, to using multi-colored elastic bands, metal pony barrettes or ribbons.  The only thing that limits how you decorate your ponytail is your imagination.

5.  Decorate the base only or decorate the base and the actual tail hair.  Use multiple Bungee, Blax or "hair friendly" elastic bands to create a "bubble" ponytail style.

6.  Wear one or multiple side ponies.

7.  Wear pigtails.

8.  Create a wide assortment of different braided ponytail styles.

Ponytails can be created on freshly washed and dried hair or can be woven out of day old or aged hair.  Ponies can also be created on the fly to get hair out of the eyes or

Types of Ponytails

Image of Gwen Stefani
With Quiff & Long
Loose Waves In Mid-Back
Long Pony
 

The classic ponytail, which has been around since the beginning of time involves pulling all the hair on the head back into one central spot on the head and gathering all the hair and tying it onto a "tail". 

A ponytail basically consists of a base section that hold the hair and then the pony section which is the bulk of the tied off hair.

The base of the ponytail can be located in a number of locations on the head ranging from the front near the hairline all the way down to the very nape of the neck. 

The following is a list of ponytail locations:

  • Hairline Ponytail - all of the hair is brushed up and forward and the base of the ponytail is located right at the front of the hairline.  To get all of the hair to fall towards the front, it would be generally required to bend over at the waist and direct the hair up and towards the front of the head.

    Although hairline ponytails can be created, they are impractical since the bulk of the tail hair would hang down into the face, unless the ponytail was then twisted into a bun.

  • Half Pony  -  this is a very popular style worn that is a key component of the half up/half down do.  The ponytail is created by pulling ONLY the hair on either side of the face up so that the hair is gathered into a ponytail that is positioned either a few inches in front of the crown or right at the crown.  This is known as a half ponytail.

    The bulk of the pony hair that is created from the half pony spills out over the rest of the hair that is allowed to flow down towards the neck, depending on the overall length of the hair.

    The half pony is often used as a basis for a series of updos where the bottom hair is then pulled up and then integrated into a series of curls, loop or knots.
     

  • High Ponytail - all of the hair is brushed up with  the base of the ponytail resting right at the top of the crown.  This elevates the tail hair so that it has a flirty appeal.  The high ponytail that rests near the crown is one of the most popular ponytail styles.
     

  • Back of The Head Ponytail - all of the hair is brushed back from the face and up from the nape of the neck with  the base of the ponytail resting in the middle of the back of the head.  This allows the tail hair to lay closer to the head.  This style is adopted by people looking for a sleek or low key pony style. 
     

  • Nape Of The Neck Ponytail - all of the hair is brushed back from the face and the hair is directed down towards the nape of the neck.  The base of the ponytail rests in the middle of the back of the head.  This allows the tail hair to lay closer to the head.  This style is adopted by people looking for a sleek or low key pony style. 
     

  • Stacked Ponytails - make a series of equally sized ponytails that are staggered from the hairline back to the nape of the neck. 

    Another option is to make two ponytails so that the base of each pony is adjacent to each other.  This gives a gushing waterfall image and makes hair seem thicker.
     

  • Behind The Ear Ponytails - the hair is separated into two "tails", usually with a center part.  Two tails are created with the base of the tail centered behind the ears.

Ponytail Options

Image of Alexis Bledel

Besides creating ponytails that rest in different locations on the head, there are many options for creating interesting styles out of the basic pony. 

These include:

1.  Hide The Band

Take a small section of hair from your ponytail, wrap it up and around the base of the ponytail so that it covers all the elastic band or clasp holding the pony in place. 

Secure the band with a bobby pin to hold the looped hair piece in place. 

2.  Pull It Out

For a fun look, after you have your ponytail completely secured, use the tail of a tail comb and carefully pull a few pieces of hair from the base of the pony to create a light 'fringe" around the perimeter of your face. 

3.  Clip It

Image of Katie Lohmann
With
Long Side Ponytail

Many celebrities love ponytails for all events.  Gwen Stefani is a pony fan.  Sometimes Gwen will clip on a ponytail extension to add fullness, height, length or just create a new retro style. 

To use an add-on pony, pull your hair back to the crown and create a high pony with a base that rests at the back of the crown.  Leave the base of the pony loose so there is room to add-in the clip-on pony hair.

Stick two fingers down through the hair behind the base of the band (your fingers should peek through the other side).  Next use your fingers to pull the ends of your ponytail up and through the space so it's flipped up and over itself.

4.  Make Waves

Rub a quarter sized blob of gel through slightly wet hair.  Put it up in a ponytail.  Divide pony hair into one inch sections and braid each section.  Let braids dry completely then unwind.

Viola.  Lush waves.

5.  Banana Curl

Curl the tail of the ponytail into one sleek banana curl that nestles into your back.  Use a medium barrel curling iron and curl the entire tail section into one large curl.  Let the curl cool by pinning the entire curl at the back of your head. Right before you go out of the house undo the curl, form with fingers and spray well with firm holding hairspray.

6.  Add Lots Of Flirty Curls

Curl the tail of the ponytail into multiple curls using either a curling iron or hot rollers. Separate the pony hair into individual sections and use a hot iron or hot rollers on each section to create random curls.  Remover the iron or roller and then pin the new curl to the back of your head.  Allow the curl to completely cool.  Spritz with hairspray and then "finger pick" the new curls into the desired shape.

7.  Loop Pony Into A Hat

Make a sleek ponytail with the base centered near the middle of the back of the head.  Loop the tail of the pony through the opening of a baseball cap or similar style hat.  Let the pony hang out the back of the cap for a flirty and fun look.

8.  Trick Pony

Go wild by pinning random strands of colored hair into the pony.  Or do what Michelle did in the movie Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion.  Wrap a same or contrasting colored braid around the base of the pony. 

Add glitter or even pin tiny blinking lights into the pony to wear to your favorite nightclub.

Go crazy with hair accessories to trick out your pony.  Let your imagination go wild. Ponytails are meant to be a fun experience.

Summary

When in doubt, play the ponytail game.  While thoughts of ponytails might seem initially boring, test yourself to see how many different ways you can whip up a pony and weave a brand new look.

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