perfect ponytail

The ponytail is a classic and practical hairstyle that can often seem a bit plain. Luckily, hair fanatics have come up with dozens of spins on this look, adapting the ponytail to suit any occasion. Keep reading to discover the best ponytail looks for any occasion.

Everyday hairstyles

1. The Classic Ponytail: If you never quite learned to master the classic ponytail, but have no fear. Just start with combed hair, bunch your hair into a single cord at the back of your head, and fasten it with an elastic. You can customize the classic ponytail by keeping a few strands of hair loose at the front to frame your face; by making the ponytail higher in the air or lower to your neck; or by loosening the hair at the top of your head before fastening the elastic, to lend the appearance of more volume. After fastening the ponytail, you can wrap a piece of hair around the elastic to conceal it, giving your ponytail a sleek, elegant look.

2. The Messy Ponytail: Mix it up with this laid-back take on the classic look. To make a perfect messy ponytail, sweep your hair back over your head and bunch it to form a cord at your neck. Your hair should be taught over your head (but don’t pull too hard). Move the ponytail up or down as needed, until you’ve found your desired height. Then, right before securing the ponytail, gently tease some hair out of place in desired sections.

3. Braided Ponytails: You can mix things up even more by adding one or several braids to your ponytail. There are several different ways to go about this. For instance, you could separate a small portion of hair behind your ear (or somewhere else along your hairline) and braid it–then pull all of your hair, including the braid, into a ponytail. You could also separate your hair into two or even three sections, French braid those sections, and bring them together to form a ponytail. We love the braided ponytail ideas on this page from Ma Nouvelle Mode.

Hairstyles for the gym

4. High Ponytail: At the gym, it’s important to keep your hair out of your face and off of your neck, and a high ponytail accomplishes just that. Just sweep your hair back from your face as you would to create a classic ponytail, and pull the ponytail extra high up on your head before securing it. If you have thin or weak hair, this look might not be for you, because it tends to put more strain on the hair.

5. Side Braid Ponytail: Here’s a creative way to keep your hair away from your face while you exercise: Separate three strands of hair along your part, and use them to create a side braid diagonally along your hairline. Stop braiding when you reach the nape of your neck, and secure all of your hair into a ponytail. For more detailed instructions and other gym hairstyle ideas, check out this post from Shape.

Hairstyles for a night out

6. Dressed-Up Messy Ponytail: There are plenty of ways to dress up the basic messy ponytail, resulting in a look that’s chic but not too high-maintenance. Try curling the ends of your hair before or after securing them into a ponytail, or by incorporating a French knot into your ponytail (find out how on this post from The Right Hairstyles).

7. Fishtail Ponytail: This eye-catching, braided ponytail will keep your hair in check while you dance the night away! After creating a normal ponytail, separate the ponytail into two strands and–starting at the base of the elastic–braid them together into a fishtail braid. When you get to the ends of your hair, secure the braid with another elastic, then gently tug the sides of the braid outward to create the appearance of more volume.

Hairstyles for a celebration

8. Bubble Ponytail or Sectioned Ponytail: This hairstyle is a little complicated to pull off, and it looks extremely elegant and sophisticated–it’s inspired by a runway look from Valentino. Get the full tutorial on Luxy’s post.

9. Princess Ponytail: Unlike the style above, this ponytail is extremely easy to create–but it still lends a dash of sophistication to your look. First, you’ll create one, loose ponytail and bind it with an elastic. Then, separate the hair between your neck and the elastic into two sections, and pull the ponytail through them. You can create a second ponytail and repeat if desired–find out how on Luxy’s post.