20 Reasons You Should Stan Ariana Grande's Ever-Evolving Ponytail

Photo: Robert Kamau/GC Images.
Back in 2016, Ariana Grande told us that her signature ponytail is something she’s worn since middle school. "The ponytail has always been a part of my life,” she explained. “But I do like to mix it up now and again." But if you’ve been following her career over the past eight years or so, you’d know that her M.O. on the look hasn’t really changed much at all.
Grande’s ponytail is a huge, very noticeable part of her public persona — and it just might be the smartest branding move we've seen from a hairstyle. So much so, it’s been mentioned in countless interviews and articles, her Twitter replies, and late-night sketches. Fans have even gone so far as to craft in-depth conspiracy theories surrounding the rare moments Grande decides to give her scalp a break and let her hair down.
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We’ve resigned to the fact that we’ll probably never know exactly why everyone is so fascinated by her ponytail, but that doesn't mean we can't explore the topic. In fact, we put together photographic proof that Grande’s ponytail is the real, absolute love of her life (sorry, Piggy Smallz).
Ahead, we tracked every time Grande has mixed up her ponytail, offering us Instagram #hairporn in the process.
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Photo: Lars Niki/Corbis/Getty Images.
In the first season of Victorious, Grande was contractually bound to dying her hair cherry red for her role as Cat Valentine. By 2010, Grande was able to tone down the bright hue for something richer — what we now know as “red velvet” hair. As for the ponytail? It was low, loose, and nothing like her current one.
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Photo: Tibrina Hobson/FilmMagic.
A year later, Grande added bangs to the mix. Although it’s not a haircut she opts for often, it is one she revisits on occasion.
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Photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.
Double ponytails were all the rage in 2012. Sure, it’s not a style Grande wears anymore, but it was sure as hell trendy back then. What’s more, this is when we first got a glimpse of Grande’s signature clipped-back bangs.
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Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic.
Grande told us that by the time her show Sam & Cat was coming to an end in 2013, she was able to ditch dyeing her hair red for a wig. That left her room to play with color — which she told us she loves: “Color is definitely something that I would play with, but in general, my favorite is being more of a blonde-y color with ashy tones.” It’s about that same time that Grande opted for a “cold brew” brunette shade, just a few tones lighter than her natural color.
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Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic.
And blonde-y she went. Several months later, Grande was almost completely blonde and perfected her famous half-up, half-down ponytail at the 2013 American Music Awards.
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Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.
Grande’s ponytail isn’t her ponytail if it’s not long enough to drape over her shoulders. The thickness of her 2014 ponytail could rival that of Lenny Kravitz’s giant scarf.
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Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.
A year later, at the 2015 Grammy Awards, the ponytail was much darker — perhaps the darkest it’s been since she was on Broadway.
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Photo: Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic.
The ponytail was momentarily replaced with an oversized topknot at Republic Records’ post-VMA party months later.
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Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.
Just because Grande was dressed like Marilyn Monroe at the 2016 MTV Movie Awards doesn't mean she'd ever take the stage without her ponytail completely intact. Note: The pony is lower and a bit more glam.
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For her birthday, Grande enlisted celebrity hairstylist Chris Appleton to create this “alien birthday princess space pony,” which also included those controversial hoops.
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Photo: C Flanigan/FilmMagic.
Until now, 2016 was the year Grande was experimenting most with color and hot tools. Not only did her ponytail get larger, but it also turned up to the MTV Video Music Awards crimped. The ‘80s trend is still one of Grande’s favorites, although, she hasn’t worn it since.
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Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images.
With the Dangerous Woman tour in full swing, Grande brought her A-game when it came to the pony. It got longer, darker — and probably heavier — and practically was an extra backup dancer on stage. I mean, have you seen her “Be Alright” performance? (Honorable mention: Her pearl hair accessory phase.)
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By the time she went overseas, her ponytail had taken on a new life — one with more detail, braids, and scrunchies.
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With Sweetener well on its way to completion, Grande celebrated with platinum hair so long, it could’ve doubled as a blanket for Toulouse Grande — but this wasn’t the first time. She debuted icy gray hair on the cover of her 2015 record “Focus” and again in 2016 on Instagram.
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Photo: Raymond Hall/Getty Images.
A month later, Grande arrived to the Met Gala trading the “No Tears Left To Cry” (rumored) wig for darker roots and extensions. Of course, the pony is adorned in a matching bow.
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Photo: Gotham/GC Images.
By June, Grande was a year older, engaged, and back on her hair accessory bullshit — this time with ‘90s hair clips.
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Photo: Robert Kamau/GC Images.
Nine days later, the extensions were a lighter, caramel brunette. Tip: Remember these waves for later...
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Because by the time Grande ended her engagement and released her record-breaking single “Thank U, Next,” her hair was back to the same shade of brown. Fans started to call out the new color and side-bang combo — was Ari calling back to her Dangerous Woman days of 2016?
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If she was, it wasn’t for long. Wig or not, Grande’s fourth round of platinum came via Instagram Stories and, expectedly, sent fans into panic mode. Had Grande finally listened to their pleas — was the blonde really black?! Most likely, considering the fact that Grande shared her nostalgia for the khaleesi blonde hair on social media in October.
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With the "Thank U, Next" era officially upon us, Grande introduces a ponytail we've never seen her wear before. It sets a new record for how many extensions you can fit into one updo. (And we'll refrain from making any R-rated jokes about this look.)
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