Ponytails are an old schoolgirl favorite that are still functional at the gym and on days off, but they may not be on your radar as actual hairstyles anymore. The low ponytail, though, can be dressed up or down, taking you from yoga to a night out with just a few small updates.
Sleek and Parted: Rub some gel between the palms of your hands and then run your fingers through damp hair. Use a finger or rattail comb to create a defined part in the middle or off to one side. Slick the hair back into your low ponytail for a sleek, sophisticated look.
Make It Messy: Apply mousse to damp hair and dry upside-down. Use your hands to rake the hair toward the nape of the neck, smoothing the top with a brush as needed to avoid lumps and an unwanted natural part. Secure the ponytail, then tease it to add volume. Leave any flyaways around the face to add to the messy, windblown look.
All Wrapped Up: This is an old trick to hide the elastic, but it’s worth mentioning. Take a 1/2-inch section of hair from the underside of the ponytail and wrap it around the elastic. Pin it in place with a decorative hair clip or bobby pins crossed over one another in an “X” shape under the ponytail. For extra interest, braid the section of hair before you wrap it around the base of the ponytail.
Bubbles: The length of your hair will influence how many “bubbles” can be added to your ponytail, but whether it’s one or four, this is a chic update to your ponytail that won’t take much extra time. Just pull your hair back and secure it with an elastic that matches your hair. About four or five inches from that, place another elastic and then fluff the hair between them with your fingers. Repeat as many times as the length of your hair will allow.
Twisted Back: Twist the hair back from each temple, adding hair and making the twist thicker as you go. Secure one side with bobby pins before proceeding to the next, then combine them into one low ponytail and remove the pins. Variation: French or Dutch braid from one temple to the nape of the neck and then secure it with the rest of the ponytail, leaving the ends unbraided. You can take either of these ideas and apply them to a low side ponytail, too. Simply extend the twist or braid from one temple all the way around to the opposite side of the neck before making a ponytail.
Casual L oop: Gather hair into a low ponytail at the nape of the neck, but instead of pulling the tail through every time, only pull it halfway through the last time, forming a loop. This is still a casual look, but slightly more sophisticated than the high ponytail version.
Add Some Texture: Got a crimping iron? A curling iron that gives you big, voluptuous curls? Once you have your hair pulled back and secured, crimp or curl a few one- or two-inch sections (run your fingers through the curls to stretch them into waves, helping them blend with the rest of the ponytail).
The beauty of ponytails is their ability to be dressed up in a way that makes them look like you spent more time on your hair than you did. The sporty, high ponytails may not be a daily option, bu