35 Ponytail Hairstyles That Guarantee a Good Hair Day

35 Ponytail Hairstyles That Guarantee a Good Hair Day featured image
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Sometimes, a ponytail is strictly a functional choice. When you need to keep your hair out of your face during a workout or want to hide second-day oily roots, a pony will serve you well.

At the same time, a ponytail can be an intentional style choice that serves no other purpose than to complement your overall look. Depending on your approach, a ponytail can look equally at home with cocktail attire or with sweats. Put simply, the classic hairstyle has range.

If you’re bored with your usual approach to the ponytail and craving some variety, there’s no shortage of ways to switch things up. Whether you’re looking for something casual or more dramatic, here are 35 ponytail hairstyles to inspire you.

  • Jill Buck is a celebrity hairstylist and extension specialist
  • Raven Hurtado is a hairstylist in Chicago

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Sleek center ponytail 

If there’s one ponytail that feels very now, it’s the “sleek modern center pony,” believes Jill Buck, celebrity hairstylist and extension specialist at Nine Zero One Salon. To get the look, start with a center part and section off the front section of your hair, says Buck. Tie the rest of your hair into a ponytail. Then, unclip the front section, smooth it back so that the center part remains intact, secure the ponytail with another elastic, and finish with hairspray.

sleek center ponytail
Gotham/ GC Images
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Straight sleek ponytail

You can also opt for the same style without a part. To get the sleekest possible ponytail, reach for a wax stick, advises Raven Hurtado, hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. “It works similar to a pomade—all you do is apply the product directly on the hair to smooth it down for a sleek style.”

sleek straight ponytail
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Braided ponytail

The braided ponytail is a deceptively simple way to look put together. To try it, secure your hair in a high, slicked-back ponytail as described above, then twist your hair into a classic three-strand braid, alternately crossing the outer strand over the center strand. Secure the braid near the ends with a hair tie.

braided ponytail
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Face-framing ponytail

To achieve this look, section off two 1/2-inch strands of hair at your hairline before pulling the rest of your hair back into a ponytail. From there, you can use hot tools to straighten the front pieces or add curls, as shown here.

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Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
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Ponytail with headband

A headband can give the impression that you put thought into your hairstyle, even if you actually grabbed the accessory on your way out the door.

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Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
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Half-up ponytail

The half-up ponytail is always in style in one form or another, says Hurtado. To get this look, “curl your hair and separate the top half, creating a ponytail securing it with an elastic,” she says. “Take a small section of hair and wrap it around the ponytail to hide the elastic.”

vanessa hudgens pregnant oscars 2024
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Loop ponytail

This style is polished—there isn’t a flyaway in sight—but the ponytail isn’t pulled through all of the way, which adds an effortless touch. To achieve it, go through the motions of securing your hair into a sleek ponytail, partially pulling your hair through the loop rather than completing the ponytail.

loop ponytail
Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images
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Ponytail with ribbon and braid

If a simple braided ponytail doesn’t feel fancy enough, you can add visual interest with a long, thin ribbon or twine. To try it, pull your hair into a ponytail before securing the strand to the base of your ponytail and wrapping it around the pony. From there, split your hair into two sections, using the strand as your third section in a regular three-strand braid.

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Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
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Simple high ponytail

If you want a hairstyle that can give your face a subtle lift, the high ponytail is it. (In fact, the “ponytail facelift” procedure is intended to mimic the effect.) Just gather your hair at the crown of your head and secure it with an elastic to get the quick and easy ponytail hairstyle.

simple high ponytail
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Short scarf ponytail

When your outfit needs a little something extra, a scarf can act as a hair accessory. Knot a silk scarf of any length at the base of your ponytail and voilà.

short scarf ponytail
Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images
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Long scarf ponytail

If your scarf is long enough, you can opt to braid it into your hair. Tie the scarf at the base of a low ponytail, then section your ponytail into three strands, incorporating the scarf into two of the strands. Form a regular braid, then knot the scarf near the ends.

long scarf ponytail
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
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Ponytail with a baseball hat

Whether you’re hoping to shade your face from the sun or complete a leisure outfit, a baseball cap is the move. Bonus points if you can find an option with a cutout at the back that allows a mid-height ponytail to peek through.

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Ponytail with a chain

Why dress up your ponytail with something expected when you can add a chain instead? Coordinating necklace optional.

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Bubble ponytail

If TikTok tutorials are any indication, the bubble ponytail is alive and well. It’s pretty easy to pull off: you’ll secure your hair into a ponytail, tease the hair just below the hair tie, then secure the hair with another elastic just below the teased section, creating your first “bubble.” Repeat until you’ve neared the ends of your hair.

bubble ponytail
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Voluminous ponytail

A full, Ariana Grande-esque ponytail never disappoints. If your hair isn’t naturally full, you can easily get a boost by teasing your hair and/or adding clip-in hair extensions made especially for ponytails, says Hurtado.

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Box braid half-up ponytail

One way to style box braids is to gather them at the crown of your head for a half-up ponytail. It’s the perfect way to show off a pair of statement earrings.

box braid half-up ponytail
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/ Getty Images
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Box braid ponytail

A slight tweak to the half-up style above, you can gather all of your braids into one ponytail. To finish off this style, wrap a few of the braids around the ponytail to conceal the elastic.

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Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
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Low loose ponytail

The antithesis of the high, slicked ponytail, this undone style doesn’t require a ton of time and effort. You’ll gather your hair into an extra low pony at the nape of your neck, setting any face-framing pieces free.

low loose ponytail
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Deep side part ponytail

The middle vs. side part debate elicits strong opinions. If you’re a passionate member of team side part, you’ll appreciate this take on the low ponytail.

deep side part ponytail
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Wraparound ponytail

This style comes together in three steps. First, gather your hair into a high, slicked-back ponytail. From there, wrap a small section of the ponytail around the base to conceal the elastic, securing it in place. Finally, use a curling iron on the ends of your hair if your hair is naturally straight.

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Two-tier ponytail

When you can’t choose between a high or low ponytail, this style combines both. To try it out, you’ll tie off a standard half-up ponytail. Then, you’ll combine both sections, gathering them into a low ponytail at the base of your neck.

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Braided ponytail with a headband

Black fabric headbands are one of the most affordable ways to add interest to a ponytail. Combined with a braid, this look is sporty and right on trend.

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Ponytail with clip

Adding a hair clip at your hairline makes a simple, middle part ponytail more special. You can choose anything from a minimalist hair pin to a stack of jewel-encrusted barrettes.

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French braided ponytail

This one takes some braiding skills, but if you’ve mastered the Dutch braid and are game to give it a try, it’ll make an impact. You’ll split your hair into four sections, Dutch braiding each from the hairline up. You’ll tie everything into a high ponytail, release the ends of the braids, and finish off the style by wrapping a strand of hair around the base of the ponytail.

french braid ponytail
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Bouncy, sleek ponytail

For an elegant hairstyle, Hurtado suggests a shiny ponytail that has some bounce to it. “To achieve the sleek ponytail, use a gel to slick back the hair and brush the hair into the ponytail,” she says. “You can also use a wax to tame down flyways or any frizz.” From there, use a 1.25-inch curling iron to curl the ends, then brush out the curls so that they’re looser, says Hurtado.

bouncy sleek ponytail
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Simple low ponytail

A regular low ponytail is doable even if you have shoulder-length hair. To get this look, you’ll start with a side part, creating a ponytail at the nape of your neck and tucking loose pieces behind your ears.

simple low ponytail
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Ponytail with bows

When one bow’s not enough, add a second (and maybe third). After creating a high, middle-part ponytail, you’ll tie ribbons around the base of the ponytail and halfway down the length.

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Simple mid-height ponytail

When you’re hitting the gym or heading out to run an errand, you might not feel like busting out the styling products and accessories. That’s when this no-frills, mid-height ponytail shines.

mid-height ponytail
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Multi-braid ponytail

The method for creating this style is similar to the braided ponytail detailed above, but you’ll create multiple smaller braids rather than one large braid. Before creating your braids, pull your hair back into a high ponytail.

multi-braid ponytail
Valentina Frugiuele/Getty Images
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Twisted ponytail

To create this unique style, you’ll form two ponytails, one on top of the other, then wrap a strand of hair at the base of each to conceal the elastics. From there, you’ll create a two-strand twist with the ponytails, securing the twist near the ends of your hair.

twisted ponytail
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Ponytail with barrettes

Like claw clips, scrunchies, and other relics of the ‘90s, snap clips have made a comeback. This style incorporates a row of mini barrettes with a ponytail and face-framing strands.

ponytail barrettes
Trae Patton/NBC via Getty Images
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Scrunchie ponytail

Speaking of scrunchies, you can use one of the chunky hair elastics to enhance low ponytail hairstyles. If your scrunchie matches your bag, all the better.

scrunchie ponytail
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Low ponytail with a bow 

Bows are having a moment, thanks to the coquette aesthetic trend—they can add a sweet touch to a low ponytail. You can opt for a bow attached to a clip or elastic—or simply tie a ribbon around your hair.

low ponytail bow
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‘60s-inspired high ponytail

Whether or not you’ve hopped on the ‘60s-inspired curtain bang trend, you can channel the decade with a perky ponytail. Create a high ponytail, then flip out the ends of your hair using a straightener or curling iron.

60s high ponytail
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Embellished bubble ponytail

If you consider yourself a maximalist, you can copy this hairstyle that’s heavy on the hair accessories. Starting with a low ponytail with a middle part, create a “bubble ponytail,” tying off sections of the ponytail with embellished elastics. Finish off the style by adding a row of decorative clips at your hairline.

embellished bubble ponytail
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