Ponytail Upgrade: 5 DIYs You Need To Try

We could put our hair in a ponytail while sleepwalking backward. But, just because it's the easiest way to get our hair out of our face doesn't mean it has to be the most basic. On the contrary: This simple 'do is one of the best launching pads for insanely creative looks that are surprisingly easy to achieve.

So, to that end, we called in hairstylist Ryan Stone of Salon SCK to walk us through five of-the-moment ponytail looks that are anything but expected. With some cool tips (you backcomb where?) and more than a few tricks, your ponytail will never be the same again. Click through to learn how to do 'em — yes, they'll require more time than your go-to one-step pony, but we think it's worth the effort.

Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Gone Riding
This low pony is perfect for someone with really thick, long hair.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Pull your hair back into a half-up ponytail, and secure it with an elastic. Then, grab a horizontal section of hair right below that, and pull it back into its own ponytail.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Put the remaining hair into a low ponytail at the base of your neck. You should have three sections of hair in ponytails. Then, braid the top two ponytails about halfway down.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Secure the braids with small elastics.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Take the braid on top, and wrap it around the elastic once, leaving the rest hanging down. Pin it in place.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Repeat that step with the braid below it, creating two small, braided buns.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Wrap the loose ends around the bottom ponytail, and pin them in place.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
"The key here is not to over-think these steps," Stone says. "Just braid, wrap them once, and pin. The messier, the better."
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
It's an elegant look that appears way more complicated than it is — the best kind of 'do, in our book.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
The Multi-Tail
This runway-inspired ponytail look has been showing up on girls around our office recently, so we thought we'd figure out how to do it once and for all.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Start with a middle part.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Pull your hair back into a low ponytail, and tighten it.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Then, back-comb all the hair in your ponytail. Really get in there — the bigger, the better.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Gently smooth out the outer layer of hair in the pony with your fingers and a brush.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Fasten an elastic a few inches down from the first one. "The back-combing is what gives it that volume between elastics," says Stone.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Continue to place elastics a few inches apart down the length of your ponytail. The end result is playful and chic.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
The Shark-Fin Tail
For an ultra-cool, pompadour-inspired pony, check out this sleek look.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Start by sectioning out the top of your hair. "The Mohawk section," Stone says.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Secure the rest of your hair into a low ponytail. If you don't have straight hair, straighten or blowdry this section to get it nice and sleek.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Take out the top section, and back-comb it until you get a wavy, frizzy texture.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Then, pull that top section back and incorporate it into your ponytail.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Fasten an elastic around your hair to officially join the top and bottom sections.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Brush your ponytail to make it extra smooth.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Now, the finishing touch: Grab a piece of hair from the pony, and wrap it around the elastic, fastening with a pin.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
The only thing left to do is prepare to be the coolest girl at the party (or office — wherever you're going).
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
The Hidden-Twist Pony
This is a simple twist — literally — on a classic look.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Start with a side-part.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Section off the hair on either side of your part, with one section a bit larger than the other.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Secure a low ponytail.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Undo the smaller section of hair, and wrap it around the base of your ponytail, pinning it in place.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Take down the next section of hair, and twist it. Then, wrap that around the base of the ponytail. Pin it in place.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
The final 'do is the kind of hair that will get double and triple takes.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
The Self-Sustaining Ponytail
This wet look is not for the faint of heart, but it is for the lazy girl. It's also good for short hair. "If your hair is long enough to put in a ponytail, you can do this," says Stone. "The less length you have, the easier this would be."
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Start by throwing a ton of high-shine, strong-hold gel into dry hair. Stone recommends Kérastase's Form Fatale.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Brush your hair into a ponytail, and secure it with an elastic.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Let the gel dry. You can do this with a blowdryer or by letting it air-dry on a hot day.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Remove the elastic. Then, pinch the area that the elastic was holding until that chunk of hair is flat instead of round.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
It should hold itself up in a ponytail shape.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Now your ponytail is finally liberated from its elastic — and looks great, too.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
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