Laura Martin
Updated on February 24, 2021

Ponytail hairstyles are known to be practical, but they can also be sexy. Sweeping strands away from the face but letting lengths hang free gives a youthful yet polished effect. The style is easily adaptable for black hair, shorter, hair, or fine hair. If you’re looking for a modern take on the updo, look no further.

Everyone loves ponytails. They are quick, easy and convenient to wear. However, getting into a ponytail rut can be disappointing. First of all, you may find you look too plain and show no creativity. But what is even worse, ponytails can potentially damage your hair. Let’s see how you can minimize the stress of the old, good ponytail. Check these do’s and don’ts.


  • Too tight ponytails. They do cause breakage because of the tension and may cause headaches.
  • A thin hair tie. It just won’t hold your hair or leave a line of demarcation if it’s too tight.
  • A loose scrunchie that you’ll tighten every now and then. When you do so, you rub the scrunchie against the cuticles of your hair weakening the hair shafts.
  • A ponytail for sleep. This isn’t such a good idea as it may seem. A tighter pony is too stressful, and a loose one makes no sense when you are in bed. It’s better to braid your hair overnight if you want to gather it.


  • A satin scrunchie or a thick no-metal band. These are hair-friendly, and with good reason.
  • If you wear ponytails often, switch their positions – high, low, side – to avoid the tension and stress at the same place which can lead to damage and split ends.
  • Alternate ponytails with other hairstyles, like buns, French twists, and braids to prevent breakage.
  • If you love ponytails, still try to give your hair and scalp some rest from them.

Long-Lasting High Ponytail

Women whose hair is long and thick often complain that a high ponytail gets saggy and doesn’t last. If this is your problem too, a way out is to make two ponytails that look like one. Simply divide your hair into two sections, like you’d do for a half updo. Make a ponytail from the lower half first. Next, tease the top section and pull it back to cover the lower ponytail. Secure the two ponytails together with another band. Optionally separate the top ponytail in two halves, lift the top one and add a small clip to the base for added volume. Cover with the top half to hide the small clip. Add a hair wrap.

New Ideas for Ponytail Hairstyles

A sleek top with a tousled ponytail. The contrast of textures within one hairstyle is very in. If you sleek your hair at the roots with gel, pull it back into a pony and then backcomb the pony, you’ll get a chic slick-and-messy style.

Low loose ponytail. Tight ponytails may be good for activities, but they are also stressful for your strands and scalp. A low pony tied off a few inches below the nape of your neck looks relaxed and modern. You can do it for straight or textured hair, layered or one-length cuts.

French-twisted ponytail. Blending two hairstyles in one is another popular approach in hairstyling. Let’s say a French twist and a low pony. To make the style symmetrical, you can make two French twists facing one another or go with a regular French twist that ends with a side pony for a cool asymmetrical look.

Wrapped ponytail. Well, wrapped ponytails are nothing new under the sun, but you can experiment with the wraps and get new takes on the old pony. Try to leave a section you’ll use for the wrap out of your ponytail and twist it before actually wrapping around the base of your pony. This one works best with a low ponytail.

Ponytail with crimped sections. A crimping iron is good to add texture to your basic pony. Don’t crimp all the hair though, rather throw in a few crimped sections here and there, or crimp only the roots, leaving the lengths straight.

Ponytail with a part. Your basic ponytail probably simply sweeps hair away from the face, with no part. Try it low and with a middle part or a side part, and you’ll get a new look.

Chic Ponytail Hairstyles

Today you can’t simply tie your hair back with an elastic band. Modern ponytails can be upgraded with a bouffant, hair wrap, braid, bangs, eye-catching hair pieces, etc. You can try different textures, play with extensions and alternate high and low ponytails. Here are some ideas in pictures.

1. Bouffant Ponytail

Lots of volume gives this look drama and a vintage vibe. To create the style, first add texture with a large barrel iron. Then backcomb the crown and gently smooth the top layer covering the bouffant. Finish by securing with an elastic. For fine hair, add extensions to the tail.

Long Wavy Ponytail With A Bouffant

Instagram / @kyrawau

2. Loose and Looped Ponytail

Some ponytail styles are best suited for the gym, but this one is special enough for a date night. To style, begin with a low ponytail, leaving two strands out for ties. A few inches down from the base, tie the hair off and gently pull at the tied section to make a bubble. Repeat a few times.

Messy Bubble Ponytail

Instagram / @ashpettyhair

3. Embellished Drawstring Ponytail

If you have short layered hair, this is the easiest way to create a ponytail with bangs. Style the front, then pull the rest of your hair into a bun. Attach the draw string hair piece by sliding the comb into the top of the bun, then cinch. Add your favorite accessories.

Ponytail With Bangs For Layered Hair

Instagram / @circlesofhair

4. Ponytail Cascade

This hairstyle is best for thick hair; if your hair is fine, add bulk with weave. Curl strands with a conical curling iron, then brush into a high ponytail. This is a perfect contemporary option for a wedding or a pretty look for a night on the town.

Curly Blonde Ponytail With Hair Wrap

Instagram / @natalieannehair

5. Braided Ponytail Mohawk

Braids elevate ponytail styles, adding interest. This cornrow ponytail hybrid combines a single braid with a classic low gather for a look that’s fashion forward and easy. Use wax to add polish to the braid and hairspray for a tousled texture through the tail.

Mohawk Braid With A Low Ponytail

Instagram / @taylor_lamb_hair

6. Pompadour Pony

Height at the top with sleek sides makes a striking silhouette. This shape works for long locks as well as for shoulder length hair; tease the crown section and fold back to create a bouffant. Then pull back the sides and nape into a pony. Finish by wrapping a long hair piece around the base of the pony. Curl for a soft finish.

Wavy Pony With A Bouffant

Instagram / @kykhair

7. Twisted Side Ponytail

This style starts with a twisted braid that wraps around the head starting from a side part and following the curvature of the hairline. Use fingers to loosen the weave for a pretty finish. Ends are left loose creating a romantic tail that falls over one shoulder.

Twisted Updo With A Side Ponytail

Instagram / @tonyastylist

8. High Sleek Ponytail

For straight hair, high ponytail hairstyles are a quick stylish option. To create this look, tease the roots and pull all hair back at the crown, securing with an elastic. Wrap a strip of hair from the bottom of the tail up and over to conceal the hairband. The look works with both sleek roots and volume.

9. Cornrows for Long Ponytail

For those with lots of natural length, a few braids are a great way to customize this classic look. Wearing a ponytail high on the head shows off your strands and feels youthful and fun. Create the braids first, tying off at the apex, then make a messy ponytail.

Messy Ponytail With Two Braids

Instagram / @hairby_chrissy

10. Messy Ponytail

For the days between shampooing a tousled tail is cute, especially with waves or curls. Before pulling hair up, tousle it with dry shampoo to absorb excess oil and add a matte texture. Instead of using an elastic, try pinning your hair up in sections for a relaxed finish.

Curly Tousled Ponytail

Instagram / @evalam_

11. The Criss-Cross Ponytail

Anyone can create cute ponytail hairstyles with this simple technique. Leave a section of hair on either side of your head for the twist above your low ponytail. Bring the rest of the hair to the back hairline and create a simple low pony. Make twists from the spare sections, criss cross them and wrap the base of the ponytail pinning the ends underneath.

Low Ponytail With A Twist

Instagram / @hairdreams_

12. Center Parted Pony

A middle split works well with layered cuts, giving structure to face framing pieces. The part should only extend back a few inches from the front hairline, so that volume can be maintained in the crown. The loose edges make this a great short hair ponytail option.

Blonde Messy Ponytail With Bangs

Instagram / @hairbymarissasue

13. Weave Ponytail

Create a smooth, long, runway-ready ponytail with extensions. Simply pull your own hair back into a tight knot, then wrap the weave around, until the desired thickness is achieved and attach with bobby pins. Alternatively try a weave ponytail with bangs.

14. Half Ponytail

A half up half down ponytail keeps hair out of your face and looks relaxed and feminine. The key to keeping it soft is not to use brushes or combs. Use fingertips to separate and pull strands back. Secure with a hairband or twist and pin. Partial ponytails are especially pretty with soft waves as shown.

Half Up Messy Ponytail For Long Hair

Instagram / @jaywesleyolson

15. Glamorous Pony

Elegance and simplicity define this refined style. Before putting your hair up, polish strands with a flat iron and use a shine spray to add sparkle. When you style, leave a thick section out at the front hairline. Drape this swath along one side in a C-shape then wrap its ends around the base of the ponytail.

Sleek Ponytail For Long Thick Hair

Instagram / @hairdreams_

16. Botticelli Ponytail

For a look that never goes out of style, try this curly ponytail. The combination of volume and coil creates luxurious femininity. Set hair with rollers or a large-barrel curling iron before gathering high on the head. For extra length, clip extensions into the underside of the style.

Long Thick Curly Ponytail With Bouffant

Instagram / @tatiana.wladi

17. Knotted Ponytail

Knotting the base is a great way to take ponytail hairstyles in a new direction. On long hair, simply tie a knot and pin it. For shorter lengths, make a mock knot from a series of vertical loops.

Low Ponytail With A Bun

Instagram / @salonxvi

18. Dutch Braid Pony

Adorning a short hair ponytail with a headband braid creates a crown-like effect that is perfect for a summer wedding or a casual shopping day. You don’t need to know complicated techniques to succeed with this style, just make a simple three-strand Dutch plait and feed it into your ponytail.

Ponytail With A Headband Braid For Short Hair

Instagram / @hair_by_pelerossi

19. French Braid Ponytail

This look is a great way to incorporate layers or long bangs into a swept-back look. The loose braid running towards the crown adds volume and allows different lengths to be worked into the style piece-by-piece. The freely hanging tail keeps the look from feeling childish, especially when styled in tousled curls reminiscent of Brigitte Bardot.

Mohawk Braid And Ponytail Hairstyle

Instagram / @kayleymelissa

20. On Top Ponytail

African American women and others with extremely curly hair often wear their strands in humidity-resistant hairstyles like this high ponytail. Pomade or cream smoothed on roots gives control in black ponytail hairstyles. Weaves are used to add length, and can also provide striking colors like the bold red pictured here.

African American Weave Ponytail

Instagram / @mochicmonet

Whether you’re looking for something exotic, classic or playful, ponytail hairstyles are a great way to look your best. One simple style provides endless possibilities!

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