Skip to Content

These 18 Ponytail Hairstyles Will Upgrade Your Updo

Ponytail hairstyles have a reputation for being basic fallback styles, but we’ve got 18 examples that show just how chic and gorgeous a humble ponytail can be! 

Keep reading to discover new ponytail looks that are anything but basic. 

Bored With Basic Ponytail Hairstyles?

  • Experiment with texture, accessories, and placement
  • Wrap your hair around the elastic for a polished look
  • Tug strands loose around your face for a softer look

Ponytail hairstyles are some of the most loved and hated staples in a woman’s hairstyle repertoire. 

On one hand, they’re a tried-and-true fallback if you don’t have time (or just don’t feel like) creating more intricate or time-consuming styles. 

On the other hand, they can feel a bit too basic and dated if you go with a classic ponytail look.

The solution? Learning some cute new ponytail hairstyles that elevate a basic pony into something more grown-up, chic, and flattering! 

Nailing a pretty ponytail style means playing around with different hair textures, accessories, and ponytail placements. 

Texture instantly elevates a basic ponytail. If you have a few extra minutes, use a flat iron to create a sleek ponytail, a waving iron or curling iron to create undone beachy waves, or a curling iron or wand to create big, glam curls. 

Accessories make a big difference in how ponytail hairstyles look, too. A statement headband, claw clip, hair scarf, hair cord, ribbon, or barrette can transform a simple ponytail. 

Your ponytail placement is also key. Low ponytails read as more chic and reserved, while high ponytails come across as spunky and high-energy.

Midi ponytails placed just below the crown marry the vibes of low and high ponies, giving you a clean slate to work with to create the style and look you want. 

Cute ponytail hairstyles tend to use a few simple tricks to enhance the look. Wrapping hair around the base to cover the elastic is an easy way to make any ponytail look more polished. 

Tugging a few face-framing strands loose will lend your ponytail a softer, more relaxed look that can really make a difference. 

Now that you’ve learned about the keys to creating pretty ponytail hairstyles, let’s take a look at 18 of the best styles you can put into rotation for different occasions! 

18 Ponytail Hairstyles to Elevate Your Updo Game

Ponytails may be the humblest of updos, but that’s about to change. Check out 18 examples of gorgeous ponytail styles that will pull your look together and work for almost any occasion!

1. Polished Twist Ponytail

Back view of a brunette woman with bare shoulders and a chic curled and twisted ponytail style

Kourdakova Alena/Shutterstock

There are so many ways to dress up a classic low ponytail, like this loose twisted version. Separate a section from the top of your hair and gather all the hair underneath into a low ponytail.

Grab the loose section from the top and twist it in one direction to form a coil. Angle it downward to cross the base of your ponytail, then tuck it underneath with bobby pins. 

Curl the ends of the ponytail and tug a few face-framing strands loose for an even more polished look!

2. Spunky Wrapped Pony

Black-haired woman leans over and smiles with bare shoulders to model one of the best ponytail hairstyles with hair wrapped around the base

Luba V Nel/Shutterstock

A high ponytail conveys high energy and spunk. You can elevate this basic style with the simple step of wrapping a small section of hair around the base of the elastic and pinning it in place! 

Bangs look great with a high wrapped pony like this. If you don’t have bangs, try tugging a few strands loose around your face.

3. Low Donut Bun Ponytail

Back close-up view of a woman's ponytail hairstyle featuring a bun wrapped around loose hair in front of a light brown background

Red Umbrella and Donkey/Shutterstock

Take a low ponytail to new heights by passing it through a donut bun! Create a low ponytail and divide it into two equal sections.

Tightly twist the bottom section into a coil and wrap it around the loose section, then secure with bobby pins to create this look. 

4. Chic Teased Low Pony

Rear view of a blonde woman turning to the side in a black lacy off-shoulder top to show off one of the more upscale teased low ponytail hairstyles

Nadya Korobkova/Shutterstock

A basic low ponytail can be chic and upscale, but teasing the hair all the way up to the crown puts it on another level entirely.

This ponytail hairstyle can be black tie ready – just spray your hair with hairspray, then gently backcomb and tease the back and secure. Tease the ponytail for a little more oomph!

5. High Spiral Tie Ponytail

Woman with red hair in a white halter top looks away and models a high ponytail secured with a spiral hair tie


If tight ponytails lead to headaches and discomfort for you, try switching to a spiral hair tie!

These ties don’t create as tight of a hold on your hair, making even high ponytails more comfy to sport all day long. 

6. Wrapped Cross-Twist Ponytail

Back view of a woman's wedding look featuring one of the best ponytail hairstyles, created with braids and hair-wrapped elastic

denis kalinichenko/Shutterstock

We love ponytail hairstyles that can work for special occasions! This cross-twist ponytail looks super intricate, but really isn’t that difficult to create. 

Twist small sections of hair taken from each side near your hairline. Bring the twists straight back and secure with bobby pins. Criss-cross the twists as you go, then make a ponytail. 

Finally, wrap a small section of hair around the ponytail a few times and secure with a few bobby pins to hold the style. Finish with hairspray for staying power. 

7. Extreme Side Pony

Close-up of a blonde woman's face as she grabs her side ponytail and wears reflective aviator sunglasses to show an example of unique ponytail hairstyles


Popular in the 80s, a funky side ponytail gets a modern-day upgrade with a hair-wrapped base and sleek style. Use a boar bristle brush to smooth your hair to one side and secure with an elastic.

Take a small section from the ponytail and wrap it tightly around the base, pinning with bobby pins to secure. 

8. Glamorous Curled Low Side Ponytail

Dark-haired woman in red long-sleeved dress looks away with head lifted to show what glamorous ponytail hairstyles look like with curled ends


Getting ready for a big event can be much easier when you go with a simple-but-glam look like this. Fancy ponytail hairstyles may look polished, but are so simple to create! 

Part your hair to the side and gather it on the thicker side of your part. Secure with an elastic and curl the ends. Wrap hair around the base of the ponytail to complete the look. 

9. Claw Clip Fountain Ponytail

Smiling woman in a black tank top looks to the side to show off her claw clip fountain ponytail with sporty vibes

Ekateryna Zubal/Shutterstock

Claw clips are a staple hair accessory and they can really transform a simple ponytail. Gather your hair into a low ponytail just above the nape of your neck first. 

Twist the ponytail to angle it upwards, then secure it in place with your claw clip to let it hang over the top like a fountain. Tug on the hair at the crown for a volume boost!

10. Sleek Throwback Pigtails

Woman with dark blonde hair looks serious with bare shoulders in front of a white wall and sports classic sleek pigtails as her hairstyle

Ground Picture/Shutterstock

Itching for a blast from the past? It’s so fun to rock classic pigtails with a sleek, modern aesthetic. Mousse or gel and a few drops of anti-frizz serum will help your strands mold into these sleek twin ponytails with no flyaways. 

Use a clean mascara wand spritzed with hairspray to catch any loose strands if you want it super clean! 

11. Boho Chic Headband Ponytail

Brunette woman glances away with a smile wearing one of the top ponytail hairstyles with a hair scarf and loose pieces around her face

Red Umbrella and Donkey/Shutterstock

You can soften any ponytail look by pulling a few strands loose around your face for a more relaxed, boho vibe.

Complete the look with a patterned statement headband – this fabric-covered headband is really cute!

12. Braided Low Side Ponytail

Side close-up view of blonde woman wearing one of the top ponytail hairstyles featuring a partial braid ponytail draped over her shoulder in front of a white background

Tyzhnenko Dmitry/Shutterstock

For a quick and casual look that goes with everything from sundresses and swimsuits to sweaters and t-shirts, gather your hair above the nape of your neck and split it into 3 sections. 

Braid the ponytail a few inches down, stopping part-way and securing with an elastic. Drape the ponytail over your shoulder to complete this carefree look!

13. Bumped-Up Wrapped Ponytail

Side close-up view of woman in black shirt looking serious as she rocks one of the modern high ponytail hairstyles with a volume boost in front

Red Umbrella and Donkey/Shutterstock

Give your high ponytail a rocker aesthetic by creating a bump in volume in the front. Backcomb a small section and smooth the hair over it before securing a high ponytail in place.

Take a small piece of the ponytail and wrap it around the base to cover the elastic. This creates a smoother, more pulled-together look!

14. Accessorized Thin Ribbon Ponytail

Rear view of a woman in a lacy dress sporting a cord-tied ponytail with dangling pieces as one of the best ponytail hairstyles

Red Umbrella and Donkey/Shutterstock

When you think of a ponytail ribbon, you probably imagine the thick, shiny ribbon you loved in 2nd grade. Here’s a version you can wear today!

This thin, black ribbon and low ponytail has more grown-up vibes and faux flower accessories add a cute, hippie element!

15. Triple French Braid Ponytail

Back view of woman with brown hair and yellow shirt wearing an example of braided ponytail hairstyles featuring 3 French braids


Splitting your hair into 3 sections that run toward the nape of your neck is the start of a triple French braid ponytail.

Braid each section, then gather the loose ends into a low ponytail to complete the look. Try Dutch braids for a slightly different look!

16. Quick Tucked-Under Ponytail

Close-up back view of a woman with blonde hair modeling one of the easiest ponytail hairstyles with a tucked-under ponytail featuring a few loose strands

jo Crebbin/Shutterstock

When you don’t have time to pull off intricate ponytail hairstyles, simple basics are key. A tucked-under ponytail is so easy to create and works with a range of hair lengths. 

Place your pony at the height you prefer (we love one placed right at the crown) and tuck the tail without pulling it all the way through. Fluff the resulting “bun” for more volume. 

17. Double Dutch Braid Ponytail

Back view of brunette woman looking up with double dutch braids as an example of elevating ponytail hairstyles

Michkasova Elena/Shutterstock

Dutch braids sit on top of the hair, unlike French braids that weave into the hair. Create twin Dutch braids and angle them toward each other at the nape of your neck.

Gather the ends into a low ponytail and secure with an elastic. For a more chic look, you can wrap the elastic with hair and pin it in place. 

18. Short Half-Tucked Ponytail

Side view of blonde woman in white collared shirt showing her short half-tucked ponytail and round dangling earrings

Red Umbrella and Donkey/Shutterstock

Short haircuts can make ponytail hairstyles a little harder to create, but if you place it low enough, you can create a really cute half-tucked pony! 

It’s okay if the shorter pieces at the bottom won’t stay in the ponytail. Big, statement earrings like the ones shown above can really elevate the look.

Things to Consider

Rear view of woman styling her brown hair in a ponytail with both hands in front of a gray wall

Jan Cieplik/Shutterstock

Creating cute ponytail hairstyles is even easier when you know some quick tricks to get polished results. Here are a few things to keep in mind for future ponytail looks! 

  • Save time by heat styling the ends. If you’re going to straighten, wave, or curl the ends of your ponytail, save time by creating the ponytail style first and heat styling the ends afterward. You can get away with taking larger sections this way and cut styling time considerably. 
  • Find the most flattering placement. Your face and head shape can make certain ponytail placements more or less flattering than others. Experiment with high, midi, and low ponytails to see which ones look best on you. Side ponytails that drape over your shoulder can also be really flattering if a low ponytail looks a bit too severe. 
  • Make your pony last all day. Nothing is worse than creating the perfect ponytail hairstyle only to have it loosen up or fall down throughout the day! Bobby pins, hair-colored clips, and hairspray are all key to giving your ponytail more staying power. 
  • Use hair-colored elastics. One way to make sure even the quickest ponytail looks put-together is using elastics or hair ties that match the color of your hair. Bright colored hair ties are fun, but can look a little childish or clash with the color of your outfit. Keeping hair-colored elastics on hand is an easy solution if you don’t feel like wrapping hair around the base!
  • Lightly tease your ponytail for lift. Hate looking at a sad, flat ponytail? You can fake a thicker pony by lightly teasing the loose hair in your ponytail after securing it. Use a fine-toothed comb and hairspray to fluff up a flat ponytail, then use your fingers to smooth and lift it to your liking. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Side view of a woman looking serious to show her wrapped ponytail with sleek texture in front of a gray background

Serg Zastavkin/Shutterstock

Have more questions about creating cute ponytail hairstyles? Check out the most frequently asked questions on the subject to learn more. 

How to do a ponytail that looks good?

You can make your ponytail look good by properly prepping your hair and using a few tricks to polish the look.

Start with hair prepared with product that suits your hair type (anti-frizz serum, volumizing spray, mousse, gel, etc.) and use an elastic similar to your hair color.

Create texture in the ends with hot tools (flat iron, waving iron, curling iron/wand) and gently tease your ponytail for extra lift and body. Try wrapping the base with your hair for a polished look!

Can shoulder length hair go in a ponytail?

Yes! Shoulder length hair works well for a ponytail, but you may find that some pieces fall out when you do a high ponytail. Midi and low ponytails are excellent options for shoulder-length hair.

A high pony can be great for medium-length hair as long as you’re creating a messy or boho style where loose pieces fit the look.

What ponytail makes you look younger?

Try a high, tight ponytail a la Ariana Grande if you want to look younger. This type of ponytail creates tension and lift that can minimize wrinkles and skin laxity in the face while creating a spunky, energetic vibe that reads as youthful.

What is the least damaging ponytail style?

Loose ponytail styles placed closer to the nape of the neck are the least damaging for hair. Low ponytails create less tension on the scalp and won’t tug on your strands as much as a midi or high pony.

What is the healthiest way to put your hair up?

Low ponytails, low buns, and loose braids are some of the healthiest ways to put your hair up without putting tension on your scalp or strands. These options are great for all-day wear or to sleep in as a semi-protective style.

So, Ready to Wrap Some New Ponytail Hairstyles?

Whether you’re looking for work-ready, workout-friendly, or full-glam styles that work for special occasions, there are ponytail hairstyles to suit every situation. 

Texture, accessories, and the proper ponytail placement for your face shape are all key in creating the best ponytail look for you. It’s a good idea to have a range of pretty ponytail styles you feel confident creating! 

When you know a few ways to pull your hair into a gorgeous-but-simple ponytail at the last minute, you’ll never feel unprepared for a special event or spontaneous outing. 

Mastering trendy ponytail hairstyles can totally change your style game and make sure you’re always ready for whatever – and looking cute while you’re at it!