The "Barbie Ponytail" Is the Hair Equivalent of Your Favorite Going Out Top

Come on Barbie, let’s go party.

Paris Hilton with a Barbie Ponytail

Paris Hilton

Ever since the first images of Margot Robbie as Barbie in the very much anticipated upcoming film broke the internet, it seems like everyone has been obsessed with all things Barbie. (Valentino pink, anyone?) Though the Barbie aesthetic has undeniably touched closets everywhere, it’s also sneaking into our vanities. Specifically, we’re talking the Barbie ponytail trend. 

Perfectly swingy yet simultaneously sophisticated, the Barbie ponytail is insanely flattering on pretty much everyone and every hair type. It’s defined by a high pony with a covered elastic, curled ends, and a swoop. “The Barbie ponytail is exactly what it sounds like—it’s the iconic ponytail our Barbie always wore growing up,” says Olivia Thompson, celebrity hairstylist and Joico stylist. “The ponytail sits very high on the top of the head and has a hair swoop across the front.”  

Below, everything you need to know about the Barbie ponytail trend. 

Where You’ve Seen It

“The Barbie ponytail is timeless—it's iconic and is a style that has never went out of style,” says celebrity hairstylist and founder of Útiles Beauty, Josh Liu, whose clients include Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and Miranda Kerr, among others. “It looks great on everybody and is a relatively easy look to accomplish with the right hair ties, a ponytail wrap and some hot tools.” 

Zendaya Barbie Ponytail


Though you can thank the upcoming Greta Gerwig-directed movie for the all things Barbie resurgence, the look goes back beyond that. “There have been many iterations of the Barbie ponytail, dating back to Audrey Hepburn to modern day dramatic versions of it as seen on the likes of Ariana Grande, Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Cardi B and many others,” Liu says. 

The Trend

Like any long-lasting trend, the Barbie ponytail has evolved over the years. “Think of the classic 60s Barbie silhouette,” says Clayton Hawkins, celebrity hairstylist and SexyHair Brand Ambassador. “The Barbie pony is a super dense flipped out pony, usually not too long, that can have a plastered side bang addition as well.” 

One reason for its longevity is it’s universally flattering. “I think that any face shape can rock any hairstyle with confidence,” Hawkins says. “Just don’t be afraid to add a ponytail hair piece of some clip-in extensions if your real hair is on the thinner side.”

How to Get the Barbie Ponytail

Liu shares step-by-step tips for getting Barbie ponytail hair: 

Step 1

Start with rough drying your hair. Add some leave-in conditioner and a volumizing mousse, and work your hair in all directions for maximum volume—don’t worry about getting a super smooth blowout, just dry it. Liu recommends the T3 AireLuxe Blowdryer ($150), which has a volume booster button, and Big SexyHair Pump Volumizing Spray Mousse ($10). For those with textured hair—wavy, curly, coily or kinky—you can pre-stretch your hair using the T3 AireBrush Duo’s ($142) paddle brush attachment and stick to only the leave-in conditioner. 

Step 2

Section out your bangs, sectioning with a wire tail comb (if you’ll be doing it all back, skip this section), and clip it out of the way. Make sure the parting is clean to avoid any stray hairs getting yanked. 

Step 3

Begin the sleeking process and position your ponytail height by raking up your hair loosely using your preferred smoothing brush with nylon and boar bristles and tie it up using “The Hairtie” by Útiles Beauty ($15).  

Step 4

Add product according to your hair type and begin smoothing your hair while your hair is already up. This will aid your sleeking process and reduce the amount of time you work out the lumps and bumps. Brush the appropriate product into your hair using a boar bristle brush. What product you use will depend on your hair type, so pick one of the following that makes sense for you. If you have...

Fine/Thin Hair: You can slick up your hair using your favorite medium/strong hold gel or hairspray. Use a liberal amount for maximum sleekness. If you prefer a more messy ponytail use a texturizing spray instead to maintain volume. For your edges, use an edge control for a waxy finish or a hard finish gel, like Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Hair Gel ($5). 

Medium/Thick Hair: Slick up your hair using a strong hold gel like Eco Style Hair Gel ($5) and apply it liberally and really saturate your hair for maximum sleekness. Apply a mix of a waxy edge control and hard finish gel from Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Hair Gel ($5) on the perimeter of your hairline to make it all laid.  

Thick/Coarse/Frizz-prone: Slick up your hair using a strong hold gel like Eco Style Hair Gel ($5) and mix it with a hard hold gel like Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Hair Gel ($5) to get your preferred consistency. Apply it liberally and really saturate your hair for maximum sleekness. Then lock it in place with a hard hold hairspray like Big Sexy Hair Spray & Stay Intense Hold Hairspray ($10). Touch up any edges mixing a waxy edge control and/or hard finish gel from Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Hair Gel ($5).  

Textured/Curly/Coily/Wavy: “You know your hair best—some prefer to sleek using Eco Style Hair Gel ($5), but the water base can cause shrinkage,” Liu says. “If your hair is prone to shrinkage, I recommend using Big Sexy Hair Spray & Stay Intense Hold hairspray ($10). Spray liberally to sleek it up as if it were a gel. For edges you can use a mix of a waxy edge control and/or hard finish gel from Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Hair Gel ($5).”

Step 5

Now that you applied the product to the perimeter of your head, undo your initial hair tie and work the product in with your nylon boar bristle smoothing brush and/or a fine tooth comb to make sure every hair is in place.

Step 6

Tie your hair up (this time for real) using “The Hairtie” by Útiles Beauty ($15); double loop the hair tie and pull one of the loops to lock in the base, then keep tying it in to secure it until it reaches your desired tightness. If you're going to be using a ponytail extension, now's the time to add it in.

Step 7

Add texturizing hairspray, such as SexyHair High Tide Texturizing Finishing Spray ($21), to the base of your pony and throughout the body of your ponytail and brush it out. Curl the ends of your ponytail using the T3 SinglePass Curl ($1250 and roll it up from the bottom horizontally upwards to about your ear level. Allow the curls to cool and repeat until you have curled all the ends. Let them sit for at least five minutes. For shorter ponytails, use the a 1.25 inch iron, and 1.5 inches for longer hair. Spray the cooled curls with Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play ($10) and brush out. 

Step 8

Tease the base of your ponytail with a fine tooth comb and lock in the tease using Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play ($10). Smooth out any visible teased hair with a brush to blend it in with the ponytail. (You can skip this step if you have a ponytail extension.) 

Step 11

Smooth out your bang parting using the T3 Smooth ID 1” ($187) and bevel it inward or for a bouncier bang use the T3 Singlepass Curl ID 1.25”. If you want a swooped bang tucked behind your ear, flat iron it and use Big Sexy Hair Spray & Play ($10) to shape it and fix it in place. You can leave the remainder of your hair out tucked behind your ear or use a cute snap clip to fix it in place.

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