Hair Care Tips & Styling Ideas

6 Ponytail Hairstyles in 15 Minutes or Less, Plus Expert Tips!

Ponytail hairstyles

Let’s face it: most of us gals don’t have time to fuss over our hair in the morning. We’re jetting out the door—heels in one hand, coffee in the other—just to make it to the office on time. And when pressed for time, what better style to help us easily transition from day to night than the ponytail? Classic, versatile and timeless, ponytail hairstyles are not just reserved for little girls; we grown-up ladies can rock them as well, regardless of our age or occupation. This everyday, go-to style is one of the most flattering looks that can be done effortlessly.

”A ponytail is an opportunity to play with shapes, proportion and textures and a great way to complement the natural beauty of a person,” says professional hairstylist Anna Lyles. ”Whether high, mid or low, you can experiment to see what styles work for you. Plus, it’s a practical way to dress up your hair when you have limited time.”

To help take your ponytail up a notch, we teamed up with Anna to demonstrate how this look can be done on all hair types and textures, plus some of her best styling tips, below!

Ponytail Hairstyles for Short Hair

If your natural texture is straight…

Look #1 – Retro Romance: High Ponytail With Messy Ends


Model + Job Title: Andie, Buyer
Hair Length + Type: Short/Straight/Fine
Personal Style: Cool, casual and effortless.
Go-to Hairstyle: The half bun because it’s fun, trendy and a super easy way to look like I’ve tried a little in the morning.
Amount of Time Spent on Hair Each Morning: Two minutes.

The beauty of this hairstyle is that it works with just about any hair type and length—all you really need is a couple of hair products to add texture and hold the style, a hair tie and your fingers! And don’t worry about perfecting this style—the trick is to make it seem like you rolled out of bed looking effortlessly chic!

How to Rock It
Pro Tip #1:
 Before you tie your hair, pull out baby hair and wispy ends first to frame the face, so they don’t end up in the ponytail later.
Pro Tip #2: Use your fingers, not a brush, to play around with the texture and create the messy look. If you have fine hair like Andie, use Rahua’s Enchanted Island™ Salt Spray to add volume and texture.
Pro Tip #3: Lastly, use a lightweight, flexible hairspray, like Sachajuan’s Light Flexible Hairspray, to keep the look intact throughout the day.

If your natural texture is curly…

Look #2 – Cool and Curly: Sky-High Ponytail With Bouncy Curls


Model + Job Title: Candi, Purchasing Specialist
Hair Length + Type: Short/Curly/Medium
Personal Style: Classy, sassy and fun.
Favorite Go-to Hairstyle: A low ponytail or bun. I find it easy since I’m not big on hair, plus it’s perfectly sleek for any occasion.
Amount of Time Spent on Hair Each Morning: Roughly 20 minutes.

If you think those with short and curly hair can’t rock a high ponytail, think again! This look is not only flattering and versatile, it’s also surprisingly easy to put together.

How to Rock It
Pro Tip #1:
 Define your curls first with a curl-definition cream like DevaCurls’s SuperCream Coconut Curl Styler.
Pro Tip #2: If your hair is more on the wavy side, you can use the Harry Josh® Pro Tools Marcel Curling Iron to create tight curls to get this look, then separate and define the curls to give it a more natural-looking texture.
Pro Tip #3: Finish with R + CO’s Trophy Texturizing Spray to help give grip and maintain the style’s integrity. To keep the roots sleek, use a little hair gel and a smoothing brush.

Ponytail Hairstyles for Long Hair

If your natural texture is straight and fine…

Look #3 – The Double Take: Low Ponytail With a Bubble Detail


Model + Job Title: Taryn, Office Manager & HR Coordinator
Hair Length + Type: Long/Straight/Fine
Personal Style: Minimalist, laid-back California style
Favorite Go-to Hairstyle: I love slept-in curls! The style looks more natural, as they just flow!
Amount of Time Spent on Hair Each Morning: Very little time (usually air-dry and go), but up to 45 minutes if I curl my hair.

Center part was all the rage during fashion week—and for good reason: it gives off that cool-girl vibe almost instantly. But before you try this look, keep in mind that it may not work for everyone. Anna explains: “Although a deep center part really complements a round or narrow face shape, hairline and density are more important factors to consider as sleek and chic styles tend to darken the hair.”

How to Rock It
Pro Tip #1:
 Preparation is key for this look! Make sure the hair is detangled and parted and that there are no bumps—you want your hair to get as smooth as possible.
Pro Tip #2: Position the double elastics where you can see them, wrap them super tightly, then gently pull them apart (you can use a tail comb to pull them out a bit to get the bubble effect).
Pro Tip #3: Use a superfine mist, like Color Wow’s Cult Favorite Firm + Flexible Hairspray, all over. If you plan on attending an event later in the evening, keep it on hand for touchups.

Look #4 – Highest of Them All: Super High and Sleek Ponytail


Model + Job Title: Joann, Copywriter
Hair Length + Type: Long/Straight/Thick
Personal Style: Classic, comfortable and minimalist
Favorite Go-to Hairstyle: I love wearing a high ponytail since it keeps my hair pulled out of my face while not looking too messy.
Amount of Time Spent on Hair Each Morning: For a high pony, about three to five minutes, which is also how long it takes me to brush my very long, thick mane.

This hairstyle takes your everyday high ponytail to the next level, and it only takes a tiny tweak—wrapping the elastic with a tiny strip of your hair—to elevate your look.

How to Rock It
Pro Tip #1: The key to getting this style really secure is to avoid touching the scalp while holding the ponytail. Also, mousse is a great way to get the hair super tight immediately.
Pro Tip #2: Fasten a very tight ponytail with an elastic to prevent any bumps or lumps. Add a second elastic to get more lift, so the length of the ponytail can cascade even more.
Pro Tip #3: To secure the wrap-around detail, start from the underside of the pony, take a thin strip of hair and backcomb it to the very ends. Use R + Co Vicious Hairspray to hold the piece in place.
Bonus Tip: To conceal any exposed skin at the hairline, use a small amount of Color Wow’s Root Cover Up Powder.

If your natural texture is wavy…

Look #5 – The Sweet Side: Messy Side Ponytail With Romantic Waves


Model + Job Title: Mel, Graphic Designer
Hair Length + Type: Long/Wavy/Medium
Personal Style: Comfortable and casual with a graphic flair
Favorite Go-to Hairstyle: For the office, left down and naturally wavy. I tie it up sometimes during the day but I like to keep things low maintenance.
Amount of Time Spent on Hair Each Morning: I keep it real simple for work—just a quick brush through and left down. Occasionally I’ll do a side braid, but all in all it takes around two to five minutes for me to do my hair every day.

Timeless and romantic, this loose, side-swept pony frames your face nicely and softens your overall look. And if you have long, naturally wavy hair already, you don’t even need to do much. The trick is to keep every detail imperfect and to let your baby hair and wispy ends naturally flow on the side.

How to Rock It
Pro Tip #1: Make an “imperfect” side part with the Harry Josh Carbon Tail Comb to mimic this free-spirited, relaxed style.
Pro Tip #2: For a more romantic look, spray a dry heat protection spray, which is less crunchy than mousse, before lightly curling the ends.
Pro Tip #3: Use straight pins to give lift on the side for a little extra detail and to keep the wave intact. Also, be sure to keep the fuzzy flyaways for an extra romantic feel.

If your natural texture is curly…

Look #6 – Low and Mighty: Low Ponytail With Major Texture


Model + Job Title: Rahimah, Content & SEO Analyst
Hair Length + Type: Long/Curly/Thick
Personal Style: Casual, feminine and sophisticated
Favorite Go-to Hairstyle: The ponytail! Both high and low, straight and curly. It complements almost any outfit, plus it keeps my hair off of my face.
Amount of Time Spent on Hair Each Morning: It varies by style, but usually no more than five minutes.

Long, curly hair can be tricky to style when you want to achieve a sleeker, more polished look. But with this hairstyle, you don’t even need to smooth your hair all the way to the ends. Bonus: you get to show off your hair’s beautiful, natural texture without sacrificing style.

How to Rock It
Pro Tip #1:
 To get a nice, even deep part, section hair and apply a strong hold gel like R + CO’s only at the roots; then, use the Harry Josh® Pro Tools detangling brush throughout to get the most style control.
Pro Tip #2: For a super sleek look on top, smooth down the hair and hold it where you want to secure it and tie a strong elastic around once (this depends on your hair’s density; finer hair types may need to wrap the elastic twice).
Pro Tip #3: Use a nice thick pomade to cement down flyaways and baby hairs. Then add Gloss Moderne’s High-Gloss Serum to the ends for extra sheen.

Beauty Copywriter

Rahimah Herd

Rahimah Herd is a former Beauty Copywriter at Dermstore. Throughout her career, she’s written about everything from furniture to fashion. You can catch her at the beach, in bookstores or booking her next flight.