Much like workout leggings, ponytails are sadly misunderstood. They’re viewed as the “lazy” hair style option for women who don’t have enough time to properly manage their hair. In reality, ponytails can be involved in some of the most creative and artistic hair style options, even at the professional level! The variations are endless and range from totally casual to red-carpet formal. Check out our 11 favorite ponytail styles below for some serious hair style inspiration.
1. With a braided strand
Blake Lively looked like a true mermaid on land when she debuted her long, beachy ponytail at the Green Lantern premiere. To achieve this style, first take three inches of hair from above your ear and braid it straight down your shoulder. Next, pull the rest of your hair towards the bottom of the braid and fasten it all together.
2. Tightly slicked back
Pulling your hair up into a tight, sleek up-do is an easy way to give yourself an “instant facial” — the hair framing your face will stretch your skin back, miraculously defying gravity. We recommend using a fine-toothed comb and gel or styling mousse for the best results.
3. Curled and cascading
Ponytails may seem like they’re best suited for working out or casual Sundays, but there are actually a number of ways to make them suitable for formal occasions. This curled and cascading ponytail looks fit for a princess (we bet the Duchess of Cambridge would approve).
4. The segmented up-do
Have you ever wanted to look like a total badass heroine? If so, this segmented up-do is the style for you. It exudes fierceness, confidence, and may even intimidate those around you. We think you should try wearing it the next time you want to channel your inner Katniss Everdeen — perhaps at your next boxing class or board meeting.
5. Added volume on top
If you want to elongate your face, the best way to style your hair is with extra volume on top. Before pulling back your hair into a ponytail, back-comb (aka tease) the hair along the crown of your head. Then, use tons of hair spray to keep it from collapsing throughout the day!
6. Fastened with a tube
How chic did Elena Kampouris look at the New York premiere of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2? To achieve this warrior-princess look, thoroughly straighten your hair, add shine using your favorite hair oil, then fasten it with a cylindrical tool of your choosing.
7. Hanging down to one side
This simple take on a ponytail is great for everyday wear. We can picture it working perfectly at a weekend picnic, during the workweek, or even on a hot date. It looks awesome whether your hair is straight, curly, or bed-head messy, so turn to this whenever you need to get ready in a hurry!
8. The high pony
Remember how fun hair styles were in the ’80s? Perms may be 100% over, but the ponytail directly on top of your head hasn’t completely gone out of style. To look like a modern-day D.J. Tanner, bend forward and gather your hair as if it’s sprouting from the top of your scalp. Fastening it with a neon scrunchie is totally optional.
9. The work of art
If you’re getting ready for a special event with the help of a hairstylist, experiment with an artistic style like this one, worn by America Ferrera at the LA premiere of How To Train Your Dragon 2. It’s not something most people can achieve on their own, but don’t worry — your stylist will be grateful for the challenge.
10. Summer waves
Model Hannah Davis looked like she had an endless summer at the 2015 ESPYs. Her honey-blonde colored hair and beachy waves left us all longing to book our next island vacation. To achieve this healthy texture, get ready to bust out a salt spray. Trust us, you’ll look like you’ve just returned from the Maldives.
11. The braided crown
We’ve raved about this style before, but there’s no harm in showing it some love once again. After all, the braided crown is a fashionable and easy way to elevate any up-do (hanging low or high) into something extra fabulous and eye-catching.