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How to Do a Sleek Ponytail | Step-by-Step Guide

If you’d like to know how to do a sleek ponytail without your hair looking flat, frizzy, or dull, here’s your guide. This style is perfect for both day and night and can be easily dressed up or down.

Doing a Sleek Ponytail: A Summary

A sleek ponytail is a straightforward and seemingly simple style. But if you want to ensure it’s perfect, follow these key steps:

  1. Start With Clean, Dry Hair
  2. Apply a Heat Protectant
  3. Use a Flat Iron
  4. Tease the Crown
  5. Smooth the Top Layer
  6. Gather Your Hair Into a Ponytail
  7. Secure Your Ponytail
  8. Wrap a Thin Strand of Hair Around the Base
  9. Use Hairspray and Edge Control

Keep reading for additional instructions, insight, and tips for making and rocking a sleek ponytail any time of the day.

How to Do a Sleek Ponytail in 9 Easy Steps

Here’s detailed step-by-step guidance for creating this iconic and timeless look.

1. Start With Clean, Dry Hair

If your hair needs a wash, start by shampooing and conditioning it. Then, blow dry your locks until they’re completely dry. If you have time, let your hair cool down before moving on to the next step. This additional step will help to avoid any frizz.

2. Apply a Heat Protectant

Apply a heat protectant before using any hot tools to protect your hair from heat damage further. You may choose to use this before blow drying your hair for extra protection, but you should certainly use a silicone heat protector to protect your hair from the heat of a flat iron.

3. Use a Hair Straightener or Flat Iron

Using a flat iron, start at the roots and gradually work your way down to the ends. A straightening iron increases formaldehyde activity in the hair, helping to straighten it, thus making it look sleeker.

Be sure to go slowly and select only the heat level necessary for your curl pattern so that you don’t damage your hair.

4. Tease the Crown

To create some volume at the crown, take a small section of hair and tease it with a brush. Be careful not to overdo it when teasing, or your hair will look too wild. After all, you want to maintain a sleek look.

5. Smooth the Top Layer 

Once you’ve teased the crown, smooth down the top layer of hair with a comb or your fingers. Some people only need to use one or the other, while others may need to start with a comb to even out the hair and use their hands to help aid in this smoothing process.

6. Gather Your Hair Into a Ponytail

To keep your ponytail sleek, use a brush to gather your hair into a low or high ponytail, depending on the specific style you desire.

If you are opting for a high ponytail, it might be helpful to bow your head down so that you can easily reach all of your hair and smooth the bottom half of your hair upwards. If you are going for a low ponytail, you can keep your head up.

7. Secure Your Ponytail

Use a flexible hair tie to secure your ponytail in place. If you have particularly thin or fine hair, you might want to use two hair ties to make sure that your ponytail stays put.

Also, it’s important to use a hair tie that’s safe, as in, does not cause breakage or dents. The best fabric for hair ties are ones that have some grip, like silicone. If you don’t have a grip hair tie, you can also use a scrunchie.

8. Wrap a Thin Strand of Hair Around the Base

To make your ponytail look more polished, take a small section of hair from the ponytail and wrap it around the base. After, use a bobby pin to secure the hair in place.

9. Use Hairspray and Edge Control

Finish off your look with a light layer of hairspray to help keep everything in place. If you have quite a few baby hairs or shorter hairs that don’t tend to stay in place, try adding a dime-sized amount of edge control to these steps. 

Just try not to go overboard with any product, as too much product can make your hair look greasy. And that’s it! You’re now ready to rock your sleek ponytail.

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman sticking her tongue out while she shows us how to do a sleek ponytail

Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

Sleek ponytails are smooth and elegant but may not always be as simple as they look. If you still have some questions, we’re here to help by answering a few commonly asked questions on this popular style.

How do I make my ponytail sleek?

Making your ponytail sleek will depend on the nature of your hair. If you have naturally straight hair, getting a sleek ponytail look will be easier, as you may not have to blow dry or use a hair straightener as much as someone will naturally curly hair.

However, by following all of the aforementioned steps in this article, anyone should be able to achieve a sleek ponytail.

And if you want to save time, you can always make the head-part of your hair sleek and attach a sleek ponytail extension for the rest, or allow your naturally curly hair to complete the look, as this still counts as a sleek ponytail.

What products do you need for a sleek ponytail?

The main product you’ll need for a sleek ponytail is hairspray. This product will help keep everything in place, especially if you have baby hairs or shorter hairs that tend to escape.

If you have particularly frizzy hair, you might also want to use a smoothing serum or oil to help keep your hair sleek. And as always, make sure you’re using a safe hair tie that won’t cause breakage.

Finally, if you have curly edges and want to lay them down to complete your sleek look, getting a high-quality edge control will be helpful to you as well.

How do I sleek my ponytail naturally?

If you want to sleek your ponytail naturally, the best thing you can do is start with clean, healthy hair. Make sure you’re using products that won’t weigh your hair down, and avoid any hairstyles that might add unnecessary bulk.

If you have naturally straight hair, you may be able to get away with using fewer styling products. But alternatively, if you have naturally curly hair, you might need a blow dryer or hair straightener to help smooth things out.

Some people use hair extensions for a full sleek ponytail look, but if you prefer to keep it natural, work on slicking back your hair into the ponytail and allowing it to remain curly in the actual ponytail portion.

How do I get a smooth high ponytail?

Low ponytails are a bit easier to accomplish, as you don’t have to pull your hair tightly around the entire head. But if you’re looking for a high ponytail, the process is pretty much the same.

The main difference is that you may want to bend over and collect your hair face down to make smoothing the back of your head’s hair upwards easier.

How do you do a slick ponytail without gel?

A gel is a commonly used product for slicked-back hair, especially for 4a4c hair types. However, some people prefer to avoid gel because it can dry or cause buildup.

If you want to do a slick ponytail without gel, you can try using a strong-hold hairspray or even a pomade. Some people also find that using a touch of oil can help tame flyaways and keep things sleek.

Finally, edge control containing natural ingredients and oils can help get rid of stubborn flyaways. Of course, you can experiment a bit to see what works best for your hair type and texture.

Read Next: Take Our “What’s My Hair Type” Quiz!

Ways to Rock the Look

Woman in a side profile image showing us how to do a sleek ponytail

Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock

Now that you know how to do a sleek ponytail and what products to use, it’s time to get creative with the look.

High Straight Ponytail

A high ponytail that’s straight all the way through is an increasingly popular look because it is sleek and sexy and emphasizes strong facial features. This look is great for formal occasions. Try it out with a short, sleeveless cocktail dress, a nice necklace, and dangly earrings.

Half-Up, Half-Down

Another way to switch things up with your sleek ponytail is by doing a half-up, half-down sleek ponytail. This ponytail look is great for both day and night and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

You can wear this ponytail look on a casual night out with a pair of stud earrings or dress it up a bit with a long, halter top summer dress.

Middle Part and Side Bangs

Another option is to try a sleek ponytail with a middle part and simple, slim side bangs. This option is a great way to show off your face and look easygoing and approachable.

This flattering look goes great on various occasions, especially during spring daytime get-togethers. It’ll go great with a skirt, floral blouse, and decorative jewelry to compliment the flirty vibes of this hairstyle.

Low Sleek Ponytail

People tend to think about high ponytails when they think of sleek ponytails, but you can have a low, sleek ponytail as well. This look is perfect for professional settings such as a work dinner or simply going into the office.

It’s also a lovely look for those with curlier locks and thicker hair.

The way the hair will spread out when it reaches the ponytail portion on the bottom half of your head will look absolutely gorgeous, especially with short dangly earrings and a bold statement necklace.

Side Part Sleek Ponytail

If you are used to doing a side part for other hairstyles, you may also want to stick with the side part for your sleek ponytail look.

Side parts are also very complimentary when it comes to formal and semi-formal dresses with only one sleeve, as it adds to the appealing asymmetrical look.

As you can see, the sleek ponytail is a versatile and easy way to style your hair that can be dressed down or up depending on the occasion. So go ahead and give it a try the next time you’re looking for a new way to style your hair!

So, How Do You Do a Sleek Ponytail?

A sleek ponytail seems simple at first but is popular for a good reason. It is versatile, expressive, and bold. You can wear it with an outfit that makes you look fun, flirty, confident, sexy, or else.

All you need to do is follow a few simple steps – cleaning, straightening or smoothing, and tying at the height you prefer.

Depending on your hair length, type, and style preferences, you may add a few other items to the mix, including hairspray, creams, gels, edge control, and even a ponytail extension to help achieve your desired final look. Happy stuling!