Great news: The high ponytail is back—and not just for the gym. Which means you can rock this uber-classic hair style from your morning WOD to the office and then channel Beyonce at the Met Gala at night.
How to give your look a sleek update and make sure your non-slip high ponytail can endure a morning of jumping jacks (or just a crazy long day) without it slinking down to the nape of your neck? We consulted Mordechai Alvow, editorial hair stylist and founder of natural hair-care line Yarok.
Here New York City-based Alvow explains everything you need to know for keeping your pony high and tight—even on the treadmill. “A good ponytail looks simple but is hard to achieve,” he explains. “You [so often] get bumps or an unfinished look.”
His Number One Ponytail Secret: It’s all about breaking the process down into steps, AKA “not taking the entire hair lifting it up and praying for a success.” (Just us?) Here’s the two-step secret for getting a lump-free high ponytail and keeping it in place, plus inspiring looks, below.
Step 1. Part your hair from ear to ear, dividing the hair into two halves—top and bottom—and flip the top section over your face. For a super tight ponytail, Alvow suggests spraying a hairspray, like Yarok Feed Your Hold, and brushing the hair into place, while you create a ponytail with the bottom section of your hair and secure it with a rubber band.
Step 2. Next, take the top section of loose hair and, using your hairspray, begin to tease it with your brush. (Teasing can give some base or structure if your head shape is flat, or give you that extra style and volume–especially if you have thin hair, or simply give your hair more texture and hold to keep that ponytail high and tight.) Once you have your preferred amount of teasing, pull that top half of your hair into your already existing ponytail and secure with another rubber band.
The main reason for loose, falling-down ponytails? Your rubber band is old.
While any rubber band should work for this—Alvow says the Goody Ouchless versions are the simplest—you’ll want to make sure you’re using a strong, new rubber band. Often, the main reason for loose, falling-down ponytails, he says, is that your rubber band is old and the elastic is worn down.
Alvow, the ponytail-whisperer, swears that this two-step method will keep your hair in place, even after a round of endless burpees. But if you’re preparing a ponytail for a formal event with curls or an additional style, you can add in other products such as a volumizing mousse or styling creme, depending on the style you’re going for. Check out these inspiring high-ponytail looks, below.
For how to copy the wraparound style featured here, Alvow says it’s simple: just grab a piece of hair, about 1/4″ thick, spray it with hairspray and then wrap around the rubber band and secure with a bobby pin.
Looking for some more serious hair inspo? Check the half bun that’s been dominating the hair scene and these fierce boxer braids for when a ponytail just won’t do the trick.
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