The ponytail—sleek, chic and modern—has become the darling of the runway. Swinging high on the crown, worn low on one side of the nape or gathered at a medium height, ponytails have been featured at recent shows for Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabanna. The soft, swept-back look not only shows off fashion beautifully, but it's also flattering to a woman's most delicate features.
"A ponytail highlights a woman's eyes and cheekbones and draws attention to her neck and collarbone," says Gareth Bromell, a hairstylist with the Neil George Salon in Beverly Hills, who has worked fashion shows for many top designers, including Pucci, Burberry and Alexander McQueen. Another ponytail plus: "Pulling your hair back provides an instant, subtle face-lift," says Bromell.
Small wonder, the ponytail is now a star of the red carpet, too. Jennifer Aniston, JLo, Cameron Diaz and Beyoncé, are just a few of the celebs who have posed for the photogs in a well-coiffed pony.
The fashionable ponytail takes a bit of taming. Simply throw your hair into an elastic with one hand while you're brushing your teeth with the other and you'll end up with a haphazard hank of flyaways that may be fine for the gym, but not for a job interview or a wedding.
Here are Bromell's tips for achieving the perfect ponytail:
1. Start with day-old hair. The oils will give your pony structure and grip. If you decide you want a ponytail and your tresses are squeaky clean, rough them up with a dry shampoo like Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk or a texturizing hair powder, such as ULTA Travel Size Ultimate Styling Volume & Texture Hair Powder.
2. For a sleek, smooth ponytail—the kind you could pair with a cocktail dress—straighten your hair with a ceramic flat iron.
3. Spray hair all over with a lightweight spray such as Fekkai Sheer Hold Hairspray.
4. Put a small amount of Alterna Bamboo Liquide in your hands, rub your palms together and smooth over your hair, from roots to ends.
5. Brush the sides of your hair upward, gathering just below the crown, for a high ponytail.
6. Secure snugly with a metal-free elastic, such as Elle No-Crimp Ponytail Holder. Take a small strand of hair from the tail and wrap it around the elastic. Keep in place with bobby pins. Or combine all three steps into one with The Tonytail Ponytail Wrap, a ponytail holder made of synthetic hair and available in five shades from blonde to black.
For an extra touch of chic, add a feather extension. Skip the salon and do-it-yourself in seconds with Mia Clip-in Feathers in natural or party-popping blue, pink or purple.
7. Finish with a light spritz of hairspray.
8. The low-pony variation is a more casual, but still a polished look, perfect for a weekend afternoon or the office. Part your hair on one side. For a soft, romantic look, try a deep side part. Gather your hair just above the nape of your neck. Position the pony, either in the center or off to one side. Secure with an elastic, then cover the wrap with a strand of hair.
9. To create fullness for a style like the retro pony that Reese Witherspoon rocked at the Oscars this year, use a root volumizer, tease and then set the look with a long-lasting, shine-enhancing finishing spray like ULTA Ultimate Finish Natural Hold Hairspray.