16 Ways to Spruce Up Your Boring Old Ponytail (PHOTOS)

retro ponytailMy hair has FINALLY grown past my shoulders again after an awful chop job two Januarys ago. (A horror story for another time -- let's just say I said a "few" inches and he heard "a foot." I'm also pretty sure he used garden shears. But I digress.) Hooray! I've waited so long! And yet, the ironic thing is that I so rarely wear it down! Yep, most of the time my hard-earned long(ish) hair is up in a ponytail. The ponytail is my stand-by. 

Ponytails are easy, but they can get kind of boring. However, with a little extra effort, our ponytails can be super cute and chic hair styles!

I got some great tips from a couple of stylists: Kattia Solano of the Butterfly Studio Salon in NYC and celeb stylist Jonathan Hanousek, who shared a how-to from a style he created for Brooke Burke. I also scoured YouTube for the best tutorials and added in a few ideas of my own (the last one is my favorite!)...

ponytail styles

Image via Kayley Melissa/YouTube and ©iStock.com/kokouu

  • Double-Up on Ponytail Holders

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    Image via Nordstrom

    Or triple-up! Doing something as simple as using three ponytail holders instead of just one can add some flair to your pony. The wool and nylon ponytail holders pictured here are nice and thick, plus they're dotted with crystal beads for a little bling. Love 'em! ($12 for a three-pack at Nordstrom.com)

  • Add a Streak of Color

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    Image via VogueWigs.com

    Take a little walk on the wild side, why don't you? Clip-on hair extensions are super fun, and a colored one will fit right in to your ponytail. Yes, I know this photo doesn't show a ponytail but just visualize how it would LOOK in a ponytail. CUTE THAT'S HOW!

  • Upside-down French Braid Ponytail

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    Image via wicker-furniture/Flic

    Isn't this SO COOL?  Hang your head upside down and start a French braid at the nape of your neck until you get about half-way up your head. Then stick the rest in a ponytail!

  • Go Low, Sleek, and to the Side

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    Pretty self-explanatory, no? A side pony doesn't have to take you back to Punky Brewster days -- they can be just slightly off-center, so the tail falls across your shoulder. Tres chic!

  • The Perfectly Disheveled Ponytail Braid

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    Kattia Solano's instructions:

    1. Beginning with a smooth, shiny blow out, bring hair into a tight pony tail while smoothing out bumps with a boar bristle brush a sleek look.

    2. Divide the pony into three sections. Tease each section to create a messy texture, leaving the ends smooth and apply a medium hold hair spray like the Shu Uemura Sheer Lacquer.  ($38 at shuuemuraartofhair-usa.com)

    3. Create a loose braid from the base of the pony to about 3/4 of the way to the ends and secure with a clear elastic band. Take a 1/2-inch section from the loose ends and create a small tight braid. Wrap the small braid around the base of the larger braid and secure the ends under the elastic band.

    4. Open the braid and create that messy look by loosely pulling out strands of hair. Add a pump of Shu Uemura’s Essence Absolue Oil into your hands and apply to the front and sides of hair for perfect shine. ($17.44 at Fruugo.us)

    Looks doable, right?! I love it!

  • Turn Your Ponytail Braid Into a Fancy-Looking "Chignon"

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    Celebrity hairstylist Jonathan Hanousek created this look for Brooke Burke, and I think we all can totally steal it. Jonathan's instructions and the products he used are below, but the simple version is: put your hair into a ponytail; braid the tail; twist the braid into a French twist; pin it!

    Instructions:

    1. First, layer Bumble and Bumble Thickening Spray ($9 at Bloomingdales) and White Sands UnderCover Styling Spray ($21 at whitesandsproducts.com) on damp hair.

    2. From the outside corners of the eyes, make two clean parts back to the crown and pin the section out of the way. Then, blow dry the rest of the hair with a medium round brush to create a smooth finish.

    3. Take the sides of the hair and gather into a ponytail in the back. Fasten with a small rubber band. Clean up fly always using a fine tooth tail comb and White Sands Infinity Hairspray.  ($17.09 at sleekhair.com)

    4. Using a small round brush blow dry the top of the hair concentrating on lifting the roots for volume. Spray a few pumps of Moroccan Oil Glimmer Shine Spray ($13.99 at haircarechoices.com) all over to smooth and add shine.

    5. With your fingers and the blow dryer, push the hair up and towards the center to create your pomp. Use a few pumps of the White Sands Infinity Hairspray to hold the shape.

    6. Place crisscross bobby pins down the center of the pomp and roll one side over to conceal, fastening with invisible hairpins. Think loose French twist and look in the mirror and adust the shape that’s best for your face. It’s best if it is not too symmetrical, it will look more interesting.

    7. Let the rest of the hair cover the first ponytail. Fasten with a couple pins. Then, gather all the remaining hair and create a single braid.

    8. Twist the braid up, tuck in the ends and fasten with bobby and invisible hair pins. Lock everything in with White Sands Stuck Up Mega Hold Hairspray. ($19.99 at Rakuten.com)

  • Go Retro

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    Image via Kayley Melissa/YouTube

    Add some sleek volume for a chic, retro ponytail. Here's a great Retro Inspired Ponytail Tutorial for a great how-to.

  • Fake It!

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    Image via Fancy Hair/YouTube

    If you're not afraid of trying hair extensions, check out this cool How to Fake a Longer Ponytail Tutorial.

  • Add a Twist

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    Image via Abby Smith/YouTube

    Here's a great Twisted Ponytail Tutorial you can watch to create this pretty look.

  • Add a Triple Twist!

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    Image via Abby Smith/YouTube

    A chic take on the low ponytail is the Triple Twisted Ponytail. Love it!

     

  • Add Some Metal

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    A funky metal accessory, like this Metal Mania Ponytail Holder ($8, urbanoutfitters.com), immediately elevates your ponytail.

  • Channel Your Inner Beyoncé

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    Image via LaurenPope/YouTube

    How high can you go? Take a cue from Beyoncé at the Met Ball, and go all the way! For tips and tricks, check out this Get The Look: Beyoncé Met Gala High Ponytail Tutorial.

  • Add a Braided "Bow"

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    Image via Kayley Melissa/YouTube

    Adding a bow made out of three little braids to your ponytail is super easy. Genius! This Quick Braided Bow Ponytail Tutorial explains it all.

  • Add a Dutch Side Braid

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    Image via Amber Fillerup/YouTube

    SO. GORGEOUS! Check out this Sideways Dutch Braid Into a Ponytail Tutorial for the how-to.

  • Add Bubbles

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    Image via Bebexo/YouTube

    Consider this Bubble Ponytail Hairstyle the grown-up version of a ponytail broken up into sections by colorful hair ties!

  • Last but Not Least ...

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    Turn your ponytail braid into a mustache! Never fails. :)

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