9 new ponytails to try this summer
Long and silky
Beyoncé's pin-straight style is unexpected and adds polish to her look. (Curly hair disclaimer: Skip it unless you're willing to spend some quality time with your flatiron.) Apply a styling wax, like Redken Wax Blast 10 High Impact Finishing Spray-Wax, from roots to ends to smooth flyaways, provide grip, and leave a mirror-like shine. Finish by creating a low ponytail at the nape of your neck, wrapping a section of hair around the base, and going over the tail with a flatiron.
This version of a side pony, with a few loose pieces framing the face and a spiral-wrapped base, has "a cool, bohemian feel to it," says hairstylist Matt Fugate. Prep hair with a texturizing spray, so it is piecey but not sticky—Fugate suggests Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray or Sally Hershberger Salon Mineral Spray. Remove a small section of hair before tying your ponytail to one side, then wrap that piece around the base, continuing until about midlength. Fasten the end of the looped hair with a small elastic and insert a few pins where needed to prevent it from sliding down.
The second you add volume to your crown, your ponytail is a hundred times fancier. Tease the Mohawk section of hair along the top of your head and mist on a working hair spray, like L'Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspray. Then smooth hair back with a brush, secure in a ponytail, and wind the ends around a large-barrel curling iron for a subtle flip.
Framed by fringe
"This is a classic ponytail, but it's really shiny, and that's what dresses it up," says hairstylist Nathaniel Hawkins. The focus here is definitely the fringe. To "get a beautifully finished, elegant bend," Hawkins suggests blow-drying bangs with a round brush and setting them with a large Velcro roller. Short on time? Even shorter on Velcro? Try quickly running a flatiron through bangs, turning it away from your face as you pull away. Lightly tease the roots for fullness, then secure the ponytail straight back and tighten. Finish with an aerosol shine spray. Hawkins uses Oribe Shine Light Reflecting Spray for a lustrous sheen that's still natural.
Light and airy
Chastain's bedhead ponytail is the perfect combination of effortless and sexy, and the no-fuss look works with any texture. Just apply dry shampoo to your roots to eliminate grease and flatness (Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk is great), gather hair up, and lightly ruffle the top with your fingers for a tousled appearance. "Just play with it until you get your desired disheveledness," says Fugate.
A crisp, simple style gets an edgy finish with a whole lot of styling cream. Before slicking hair back into a low ponytail, run a smoothing cream through strands to tame frizzies and flyaways, and add a dose of gloss. "You actually want to see the product in the hair," says Hawkins, who likes Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream. And for the deep side part, place it just above the brow arch. "That creates beautiful balance on the face," says Hawkins.
High and fluffy
When we say "high and fluffy," think flirty volume, not Pomeranian. Create a bit of feminine bounce by first wrapping large sections of hair around a one-inch curling iron. If the idea of that much heat styling is already making you sweat, you can curl just the ends after securing your ponytail. Tease the crown, then pull hair up and tightly fasten at the top of the head. Make it even fuller by opening up the ponytail with your fingers and teasing the base lightly.
Straight and narrow
This look is great for days spent by the water: The minute you get out, "your hair is already super wet and sleek to your head, so you can just stick a ponytail at your nape and let it dry in the sun," says Fugate. But for times when you're landlocked, start by applying an argan oil for conditioning luminosity (Kérastase Elixir Ultime Oléo-Complexe is amazing). If your hair is thick, you can also leave a little conditioner in after washing to weigh strands down. Then part in the center and pull everything back for a clean look that flatters nearly every face shape.
And since you can't have a summer hair slideshow without at least one beachy look, here's some inspiration from the queen of hippie-chic waves. "The most important thing about this look is the texture, so use your favorite sea salt spray," says Hawkins, who likes KMS California Hairplay Sea Salt Spray or Oribe Après Beach Wave and Shine Spray. Mist hair while it's damp, and once it's dry, "use your fingers to brush your hair back to a low ponytail," he says. (Bungee elastics are good for this.) Secure any loose layers with small pins and lock it all in place with a dry hair spray, like Suave Professionals Touchable Finish Hairspray Lightweight Hold, since "beachy is a matte finish," says Hawkins. Look for formulas without water, or hold the can far away from your head, so it goes on drier.