Who doesn't love a good comeback? Though it's usually the stuff of last-minute hair fixes, the ponytail is officially back on the spring hairstyle roster and making a bid for MVP status. But what exactly is it about the the pony that champions other 'dos? Besides it being simply the easiest and fastest way to way to pull your hair back (and ideal for beating the heat), ponytail hairstyles are seriously versatile—a fact proven most recently at the the fall shows: From the ultra-sleek to messy-chic, the pony ruled the runways. And while the style may seem more routine than renegade, just a few simple switch ups and your ponytail gets a marked makeover. So what's the key to keeping it all in place? The right ponytail holder, says Matt Fugate of Sally Hershberger Downtown. "It's all in the band—I recommend Blax Hair Elastics. Droopy ponytails are usually caused by worn out elastics, so make sure you use one that's good quality and snag-free." Here's to ponying up this spring!
Soft and Low—The low ponytail looks best when it's a little loose and romantic. Starting with a volumizing gel or texturizing spray, blow dry the hair straight and create a center part. Keep volume at the crown for a little bit of a '60s vibe, and pull the hair back into a low ponytail at the nape. Wrap a piece of hair around the elastic and secure underneath with a bobby pin. If you're starting with dry hair, tap some volumizing powder or spray dry shampoo into the roots at the crown, then pull hair back into a low pony.
Clockwise, from top left: Valentino fall '11 image courtesy of Redken; John Frieda Luxurious Volume Anytime Refresher, $5.99, available at Target; Redken Velvet Gelatine 07 cushioning blow-dry gel, $17, visit Redken for salon locations; Pedro Lourenco fall '11 image courtesy of Redken; Blax Hair Elastics, $3.50, available at Beauty Habit.
Sleek and High—This ponytail definitely reminds us of Madonna in her '90s-dominatrix day, but it's also an easily achieved, night-out look. The straighter, the better, so flat iron your hair first, then add a shine serum. Or, start with sculpting gel (depending on how sleek you want to go) and finish with hairspray. For a super-straight ponytail, flat iron the ponytail itself, too.
Clockwise, from top left: Emanuel Ungaro fall '11 image courtesy of Redken; John Frieda Full Repair Touch-Up Flyaway Tamer, $8.99, available at Target; Louis Vuitton fall '11 image courtesy of Redken; Amika Ceramic Styler, $115, available at Sephora; Redken Forceful 23 Super Strength Finishing Spray, $16.50, visit Redken for salon locations; Got2b Rockin' It Gel (not pictured), $5.99, available at Ulta.
Slick, Low, and Parted—Adding a defined side part will modernize and add a sporty vibe to a sleek, low ponytail. Apply texturizing spray or gel to damp hair and blow dry. Create a deep side part and pull hair into a low ponytail and finish with a shine spray.
Clockwise, from top left: Akris fall '11 images courtesy of Redken; Sally Hershberger Genius Spray Wax, $12.50, available at Target; Akris fall '11 images courtesy of Redken; Suave Professionals Vibrant Shine Spray, $2.99, availble at drugstores nationwide.
The Lived-In Look—Mess things up a bit and embrace the deconstructed pony. Add a sea spray or texturizing gel to damp hair and rough dry. Next create a deep side part, and, creating a swoop in the front, pull the hair into a ponytail, covering the ears a bit. Tease hair at the crown for extra volume, and remember: the messier, the better, so pull pieces out of the front or in back for the perfectly tousled pony.
Clockwise, from top left: Celine fall '11 image courtesy of Redken; Gianfranco Ferre fall '11 image courtesy of Redken; Davines No. 14 Salt Primer, $24.50, visit Davines.com for salon locations; Bumble and bumble Bb.texture, $26, available at Bumble and bumble; Gianfranco Ferre fall '11 images courtesy of Redken.
Keep the Curls—Go for a loose, romantic pony; a side, over-the-shoulder pony; or add volume at the crown and secure it in the middle of the head. For naturally straight hair, take a cue from the loose waves at Band of Outsiders and allow damp, braided hair to dry overnight. Just tease hair at the crown, pull it into a ponytail in the morning, and you're set!
Clockwise, from top left: Alexander Baradi spring '11 image courtesy of Bumble and bumble; Moroccanoil Curl Control Creme, $32.80, visit Moroccanoil for locations; Band of Outsiders spring '11 image courtesy of Bumble and bumble; Carlos Miele spring '11 images courtesy of Rodney Cutler.