updo and bun hairstyles How To Do the Perfect Ponytail In 5 Steps

With these few steps, the perfect ponytail is yours in no time.

June 10, 2022
How To Do The Perfect Ponytail

Gone are the days when the ponytail was just a hairstyle you wear to the gym. This versatile updo can be worn for anything from meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time (don’t worry, we’ve all been there!) to that important job interview you’ve been preparing for over the last few days. 


One of the reasons why we love easy ponytail hairstyles so much is that they’re so quick and simple to create — it’s the perfect style for when you want to look put-together but don’t have much time to spare.


How To Do A Perfect Ponytail 

Getting a ponytail just right is easier said than done. Follow these simple steps the next time you want to pull your long or medium-length hair into the perfect ponytail.


Step 1. Determine What Type Of Ponytail You Want and Where to Put It

The first step to creating the perfect ponytail is placement. Where you decide to place your ponytail will determine how you should go about creating your updo. Learning how to do a high ponytail that’s level with your temples or above can give your hair more bounce. Low ponytails have less movement but look sleek and modern. 


Along with placement is deciding what kind of ponytail look you’re going for. Do you want something sleek and polished or something undone and a little messy? Depending on your look or what the occasion is, there are tons of easy ponytail styles to choose from!


Step 2. Brush Your Hair The Right Way

This may sound silly, but there is a right way to brush your hair when it comes to mastering how to do a ponytail hairstyle. If you want the perfect messy ponytail, finger comb your strands and don’t worry too much about bumps and flyaways. 


If you’re going for a sleek ponytail, apply a serum like L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Frizz Killer Serum Leave-In prior to brushing to eliminate frizz and static. Brush your hair in the direction of your ponytail for a smooth, bump-free look.


Step 3. Embrace Texture Or Add Some

Highlighting texture and curls is a great way to upgrade a curly ponytail. If you don’t have texture, adding it to your hair can create a more voluminous or messy, undone ponytail hairstyle. After all, nobody wants a flat ponytail, right? Spray a volumizing hair spray onto your hair and use your fingers to mess your hair up a little. 


If you want to create even more texture, backcomb your hair after spritzing on hairspray. If you want to add some curls to your ponytail, make sure to prep your hair with a heat protectant like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Heat Slayer Pre-Iron Spray Leave-In. 


Another easy way to add texture is to add a few baby braids to your ponytail. Inspiration for braided ponytails runs deep so have fun with it and try something new like a bubble braid or a three strand braid. 


Editor’s tip: Teasing a ponytail can help to make your hair look fuller while adding texture — but how it’s done is what matters the most. Most people backcomb their ponytails in one section using a fine-toothed comb. If you really want to add the appearance of volume, split your ponytail into thirds and tease each section to build even more body.

Step 4. Create Your Ponytail

Gather all of your hair and pull it into your ponytail. If you see any bumps forming, even after you brushed away tangles earlier, take a round brush and roll it sideways over the bumps to smooth them back. If you’re going for a messy ponytail, no need to smooth little bumps as they help to achieve that undone look. Regardless of what style you choose, make sure to wrap the elastic around enough times so that your hairstyle won’t fall throughout the day.


Editor’s tip: If you’re looking for extra volume, try a double ponytail by creating two ponytails, one of which is hidden. Gather the hair above your ears to create a half ponytail and secure it with a clear elastic. Then, take this half ponytail and flip it over your head so that it’s out of the way.


Create a second ponytail using the remaining bottom section of hair and make sure to secure it directly below the base of the first ponytail — this will ensure it’s hidden. Put your top ponytail back into place, then tie the two ponytails together. Hello, volume! This can also help to make your pony appear longer. It’s a double win.


Step 5. Tame Flyaways And Style Baby Hairs

Flyaways and baby hairs can completely ruin your ‘do if you’re going for a sleek ponytail. Take an unused toothbrush and spray hair spray on to the brush, such as the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray, Unscented. Then, use the toothbrush to brush down and tame those pesky flyaways. 


To lay edges, grab an edge control product like L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Mega Gel and an edge brush. Separate your edges and apply a dime-sized amount of product to smooth them down. Both methods will work to keep your hair in place leading to a sleek and polished look! 


If you’re going down the messy ponytail route, embrace all the flyaways and baby hairs! Pull out a few strands near the hairline to frame your face for a lived-in look.

Bonus Step: Hide Your Elastic

This step may not be one hundred percent required, but it certainly will take your perfect ponytail to the next level. If you don’t want your hair elastic to detract from your look, take a small piece of hair from your ponytail and wrap it around the hair tie to keep it hidden. Use a bobby pin to hold that strand in place on the underside of your pony and no one will know it’s there.


Editor’s tip: We mentioned that ponytails are great for long and medium-length hair, but you may be wondering about short hair. Don’t worry, having short strands doesn’t make perfecting a ponytail — or even how to do a high ponytail — impossible. 


Simply use these same steps to create a half-up ponytail. Alternatively, if your tresses are just shy of fitting into a pony, pull up as much of your hair as you can, then use barrettes to clip down stray strands.


Next: How To Create A Messy Bun In 3 Just Steps


Edited by; Reece Andavolgyi; Photo: Chaunte Vaughn


Step 4. Create Your Ponytail

Gather all of your hair and pull it into your ponytail. If you see any bumps forming, even after you brushed away tangles earlier, take a round brush and roll it sideways over the bumps to smooth them back. If you’re going for a messy ponytail, no need to smooth little bumps as they help to achieve that undone look. Regardless of what style you choose, make sure to wrap the elastic around enough times so that your hairstyle won’t fall throughout the day.


Editor’s tip: If you’re looking for extra volume, try a double ponytail by creating two ponytails, one of which is hidden. Gather the hair above your ears to create a half ponytail and secure it with a clear elastic. Then, take this half ponytail and flip it over your head so that it’s out of the way.


Create a second ponytail using the remaining bottom section of hair and make sure to secure it directly below the base of the first ponytail — this will ensure it’s hidden. Put your top ponytail back into place, then tie the two ponytails together. Hello, volume! This can also help to make your pony appear longer. It’s a double win.


Step 5. Tame Flyaways And Style Baby Hairs

Flyaways and baby hairs can completely ruin your ‘do if you’re going for a sleek ponytail. Take an unused toothbrush and spray hair spray on to the brush, such as the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray, Unscented. Then, use the toothbrush to brush down and tame those pesky flyaways. 


To lay edges, grab an edge control product like L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Mega Gel and an edge brush. Separate your edges and apply a dime-sized amount of product to smooth them down. Both methods will work to keep your hair in place leading to a sleek and polished look! 


If you’re going down the messy ponytail route, embrace all the flyaways and baby hairs! Pull out a few strands near the hairline to frame your face for a lived-in look.


Bonus Step: Hide Your Elastic

This step may not be one hundred percent required, but it certainly will take your perfect ponytail to the next level. If you don’t want your hair elastic to detract from your look, take a small piece of hair from your ponytail and wrap it around the hair tie to keep it hidden. Use a bobby pin to hold that strand in place on the underside of your pony and no one will know it’s there.


Editor’s tip: We mentioned that ponytails are great for long and medium-length hair, but you may be wondering about short hair. Don’t worry, having short strands doesn’t make perfecting a ponytail — or even how to do a high ponytail — impossible. 


Simply use these same steps to create a half-up ponytail. Alternatively, if your tresses are just shy of fitting into a pony, pull up as much of your hair as you can, then use barrettes to clip down stray strands.


Next: How To Create A Messy Bun In 3 Just Steps


Edited by: Reece Andavolgyi; Photo: Chaunte Vaughn