Until very recently, the pony tail was not a hairstyle I embraced for myself. I never really grasped the proper technique to bring out my facial features, and I always thought I resembled a beach ball with a toupee when my hair was pulled back. Fortunately, since my hair has grown out, I’ve discovered that the ponytail can be a hairstyle that serves many functions if performed correctly. There are a few tricks of the trade that I’ve learned to avoid beach ball-dom, though.
- Unless you’re not leaving the house, pull your hair into a high ponytail. The Beach ball effect is achieved when when a) people can’t see your hair is in a ponytail and b) it frizzes. Both of these conflicts can be remedied by giving your hair some height. I know high ponytails can be painful if left in for too long–the trick is not to wind the elastic to tight and to use a cloth one. For someone with shorter hair like me, I often straighten it to ensure maximum length, but someone with longer hair wouldn’t need to do so.
- Bobby pins are your friend! Between my best friend and I, there must be a few hundred or so of them lost in our dorm room, but if you can find one, it will make your life infinitely easier. Bobby pins are great for propping up a saggy ponytail and adding volume–most people resort to teasing, which is often painful and damaging to hair. You can avoid all that with bobby pins. Sliding a few under your elastic will give the ponytail a subtle bump without it being painful or gaudy.
- Easy on the hairspray. This might be a generational thing–it seems like every woman my mom’s age travels in a cloud of the stuff. Using too much hairspray, though, especially on a ponytail, can not only make your hair super greasy, but also cause it to appear stiff. The chemicals are awful for the environment as well, so save both the whales and your hair by refraining from overuse. If you must have your hairspray, keep it down to a spritz.
- If you have pieces that are too short in the sides or back, try braiding them. I’ve given myself some bad haircuts in my time, and by no means is every strand (okay, more like chunk) of hair on my head and equal or even length. To solve those pesky little outliers you get when you pull you hair up, turning them into little braids and tucking them in with bobby pins is a quick, pretty way to make them look deliberate.
Pony on, comrades!