Whether long or short, curly or straight, there's one hairstyle that works for busy women everywhere: the ponytail. But just because it's easy to achieve, doesn't mean it has to be boring. From a sleekly pulled-back ponytail to a retro-inspired ponytail with height at the crown, learn how to create a chic look that elevates this hairstyle beyond its humdrum roots.
A pretty plait adds an interesting twist to an otherwise casual low ponytail. It's also a stylish way to keep layers off your face without the use of bobby pins. To recreate Molly Sims's look, start by curling dry hair using a wide-barrel iron, says celebrity hairstylist Cristophe, founder of the well-known salon Cristophe in Beverly Hills. Divide hair into a top and bottom section. Gather the bottom section at the nape of the neck and secure with an elastic band. Braid the front section from the right side of the forehead up and along the left side of your face, incorporating front pieces as you go. Continue braiding until you get to the ponytail. Wrap the rest of the braid around the elastic and tuck ends underneath. Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Find out 10 things you didn't know about shampoo.
The simple elegance of Nicole Richie's low ponytail and face-framing layers translates to a look that can easily go from day to night. Try it yourself by separating clean, damp hair into a side part and blowing drying it straight. Backcomb hair at the top of the head, then gather it, leaving some strands free in the front, just below the ear so hair falls over one shoulder; fasten with an elastic band, says stylist Taylor McFadden of Lotus Salon in New York City. Tightly wind a 1-inch section of hair from the ponytail around the band, tucking ends underneath. Use a 1 1/2-inch-barrel curling iron to create subtle waves in the ponytail and lightly brush so they look natural. Set with a flexible hold hairspray. Photo: Patrick Riviere/Getty Images
Keira Knightley's undone updo oozes sexiness thanks to its height at the crown. Luckily, whether you have thick or fine hair, you can easily replicate the look because the "bump" is created by teasing your hair. To achieve the hairstyle, use a wide-barrel curling iron on your entire head of hair to create all-over waves, says Christophe. Part hair in the middle, leaving the front strands loose. Slightly tease hair at the top of the head. Collect tresses into a ponytail in the middle of the head and fasten with an elastic band. Lightly curl front pieces to give them a slight bend. Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images
Discover the truth behind these 8 hair myths.
Reese Witherspoon's glamorous look takes its cue from the 1960s and is a playful take on the sometimes stuffy updo-the go-to hairstyle for elegant soirees. Begin by applying a smoothing serum to clean, damp hair and blow drying strands using a large round brush. Once dry, separate hair into a top and bottom section, says Christophe. Gather the bottom section into a ponytail just under the middle of your head and secure with an elastic band. Tease the top section to give it as much height as possible. Smooth top strands gently with a brush. Sweep remaining hair into a high ponytail at the crown so that it covers the bottom ponytail. Secure with a clear elastic band. Using a 1 ½-inch-barrel curling iron, bend the ends of the bottom ponytail into a slight flip. This will give the illusion of one giant ponytail. Finish with a spritz of sheer hold hairspray. Photo: Jeff Vespa/Getty Images
All About Texture
Kate Beckinsale's tousled ponytail is a great option for women with wavy or curly hair, says Alli Webb, cofounder of Drybar, an "anti-salon" that only offers blowouts. Leave several strands of hair out around the front of your face and pull the rest back into a high ponytail at the top of your head. Fasten with an elastic band. Wrap a 1-inch section of hair around the elastic band, tucking ends underneath. Backcomb the front pieces and loosely pull them back to create lift. Use a flat boar bristle brush to help smooth out any bumps on top. Secure pieces with bobby pins. Photo: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Get thicker hair in 3 easy steps.
Soft & Romantic
The effortless look of Demi Moore's pretty ponytail is achieved by gingerly gathering locks, says Christophe. Because there's a relaxed elegance to this hairstyle, it can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. To try it at home, first create waves from root to tip using a wide-barrel curling iron on dry hair. Loosely pull hair into a ponytail just above the nape of the neck. Secure with an elastic band. Leave the top relaxed and undone with a few wispy pieces for a more windswept feel. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images
Sleek & Chic
Lauren Conrad's polished ponytail is simple and sophisticated, says Webb. It's also a look that almost anyone can achieve as long as they have the right styling tools at home. Start by applying smoothing oil to clean, damp hair and blowing it dry. Use a flat iron on your entire head of hair so it's stick straight. Create a deep side part and brush hair into a tight ponytail, securing with an elastic band at the nape of the neck. Take a 1-inch section of hair from the ponytail and wrap it tightly around the elastic band, tucking ends underneath. Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images
Give your locks lift with these homemade treatments.
Short & Sassy
Even short-haired women can wear a stylish ponytail-case in point: Hayden Panettiere. Since Hayden doesn't have much hair to pull back, her look is more about texturizing the front, says McFadden. Mist a texturizing spray on clean, damp hair and blow dry. Pull hair back in a ponytail, allowing any strands that won't reach to fall. Spray a finishing product on the strands of hair that aren't part of the ponytail for flexible hold once you pin them back. Loosely pull and twist small sections of hair from the front, one at a time, and fasten with bobby pins. Front and sides should look pulled together yet piecey. Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Wavy-hair women like Whitney Port can wear a beach-inspired ponytail all year long by using a sea-salt spray, says Webb. Apply product on dry hair and then style. Part your hair in the middle and then take 1-inch sections on either side of your face and twist until you get to the back of your head. Gather all hair into a low, messy ponytail. Photo: Charles Eshelman/Getty Images
Prep your hair for summer with these clever tricks.
When your locks are as long and lush as Christina Milian's, you'll want them to be front and center. Start by applying a strong-hold gel to clean, wet hair and diffuse or blow dry. Break up tight coils by brushing them with a natural-bristle brush to create voluminous, undulating waves, says McFadden. Divide hair into a deep side part and tightly gather hair off to one side. Secure with an elastic band just behind the ear and drape ponytail over one shoulder. Photo: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
You Might Also Like:
How to Wear Short Hair
8 Bizarre Beauty Tricks
5 Tricky Beauty Techniques Made Easy
9 Fights to Have with Your Husband
The Best Sex Positions for Every Situation