How to glow up your basic ponytail

Gym class called...and she wants her boring ponytail back. Your assignment: Take the lackluster look to a new level. Whether you go for something a little more interesting or a lot more glam, buh-bye basic pony.

Bring on the baby braids


Face-framing pieces are the perfect way to change things up...but turning those pieces into braids *really* elevates the look.

Power up: Celeb hairstylist Clayton Hawkins (who created this look on Dove) says the secret to a snatched pony is working in steps, Section off two front pieces and secure with a clip (you want to get the pony right first then come back for these). Spritz strands with hairspray (we like Drybar The Sheriff Medium Hold Hairspray, $27,, then split hair in half horizontally at the temples with your fingers. Follow with a brush (Hawkins recommends the Tangle Teezer Ultimate Styler, $15, to bust bumps, then secure the top half-pony with an elastic. Repeat this on the bottom section (spray then brush) before adding the hair to the top ponytail with a second elastic. Once your pony is nice and perky, finish by braiding the front pieces and secure with tiny, clear elastics.

The bony


This ponytail-meets-bun style was the hottest accessory at the spring '23 runway shows.

Power up: The secret to this chic style? The greasier your hair, the better. After you've gathered hair into a pony, twist a hair tie (we like the stretchy-yet-secure Gimme Beauty Any Fit Hair Bands, $12, around as many times as you can. Then, wrap it once more and pull about one-third of the length of your hair through the loop, leaving the ends free to hang.

Bubbles and bows, babe


Arguably the easiest way to take your pony from stale to stunning is to turn it into a bubble style. This spring's upgrade? Ribbons.

Power up: Brush hair into a ponytail as usual, keeping hair smooth (hairstylist Jenny Balding uses a pomade to help achieve that slicked-back look—try Fatboy Hair Perfect Putty, $21, Then, grab a few extra elastics (we like Scunci Mixed Size Rubber Bands, $4, and fasten them about every two inches. Using your fingers, gently pull and soften the bubbles, fluffing them a little big (start at the top and work down). Finish by tying ribbons around each elastic.

Glamour-girl pony


An elevated pony to go with your most fabulous frock? Yes, please.

Power up: Sleek and straight strands are key here, so start with a flat iron (the T3 Single Pass X, $235, has wider plates and 50% more power, so it's perfect for thicker hair). Do a deep side part and trace it back from the hairline so you have about a four-inch section of hair, then clip out of the way. Brush the remaining hair back into a high pony and fasten with an elastic. Use a wax stick like ORS Olive Oil Wax Stick Styler ($9, and an edge brush to tame any flyaways. Now take the hair that you clipped to the side and pull it taut so that it lays flat against your head and secure with bobby pins at the nape of your neck below your pony.

Faux real pony


Wishing for a long, flowing ponytail, stat? Get a lengthy look in an instant with (super easy, we promise) clip-in extensions.

Power up: Master stylist Stephanie Angelone says all you have to do is tie your hair up in a ponytail as you normally would, then add the clip-in extension. RPZL offers a range of 16- and 24-inch pony pieces in different colors and textures (from $50, They have velcro, which allows you to fasten the ponytail extension around the base of your own so it blends in seamlessly. Finish by adding a hair accessory like Free People Petite Bow ($12,

Classic Claw Clip


Lazy girls, rejoice. This look takes basically nothing to recreate, not even a brush...unless you really, really want to use one.

Power up: Angelone recommends using "day-old dirty hair" for this undone look (grit provides extra hold, natch). Gather hair at the nape of the neck, then twist it upward until you reach the crown. Wrap the twisted hair around and fasten with a claw clip (we heart the cute styles from Emi Jay,, allowing the ends of your hair to flow out of the sides. Pull some pieces free for the ultimate "I woke up like this" vibe and finish it off with a texture spray like Eva NYC City Grit Matte Texture Spray ($13,

Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our April/May 2023 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.

Top image: @dovecameron
Slider image: @daniellepriano


by Lisa DeSantis | 4/16/2023