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30 Gorgeous, Modern Takes on the Classic Ponytail

woman with chanel chains in ponytail

 @justinmarjan

A ponytail is one of the most versatile hairstyles. It's simple to achieve and yet it has the power to communicate so much personality. From sassy to sporty and snatched to straightened, there's a wide range of ponytail inspiration for us to all to choose from. While it was extremely hard to be selective with all the good ponytail hairstyles out there, we took a stab at it and rounded up 30 takes on the classic style, equipped with pro trips and product recommendations, that you'll want to try ASAP.

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Short and Retro

Scarlett Johansson proves that short hair can go a long way when it comes to sporting a lively ponytail. Fine hair is no exception to volume either. Begin prepping clean, dry hair by blowdrying a good mousse into it .(Push the hair back and forth in varying directions to get the most volume, perhaps even upside down.) Once the product is worked in, finish with a dry texturizing or volumizing spray and some back brushing at the root. That and a deep side parting and you'll be wearing a short 50s or 60s-esque beehived ponytail in no time.

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Low Wrap

In between haircuts and looking for some styling inspo? This inventive low wrapped ponytail will serve you well. When mid-long length haircuts don't have too many layers or too much shaping to them, it will enable you to pull the hair back low and loose without any strands falling out of place. You can use any material - from ribbon, to suede, to leather - for a little extra pizazz. The stiffer the material of your wrap, the more of a structured curvature to your ponytail. We suggest keeping your grip loose and starting your wrap at the neckline.

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Natural Pony

Wearing your natural texture in a ponytail isn't as low key as it sounds. It takes just as much effort to keep your natural curls and edges looking fresh. Try using a toothbrush or the end of your rattail comb to help set your edges with your favorite edge control product. Also, make note of this micro braid detail wrapped around her ponytail base -- a great style idea to give your ponytail a little something extra.

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Braidband Pony

This otherwise basic ponytail got a serious upgrade with the addition of an infinity braid at its base. Infinity braids can be confusing to do on yourself at first and take some serious getting used to. We'll just sit back and lust over this one until the next time we're a bridesmaid in need of some new hair style inspo.

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Bejeweled Hairline

Ok, drooling over this entire look, but I know we're here to discuss ponytails. To get a similar style, prep your hair by applying a strong hold gel to the hairline of your choosing. Then, use a fine tooth comb to rake through the application and help evenly distribute the gel so that it sets the hair in place. A strong hold gel may be enough to hold the placement of your jewels if they're applied while the product is still wet. If not, try cutting tiny pieces of extension tape and dotting them along your hairline (or anywhere, really) before applying your jewels. If your hairline is fragile, thinning, or experiencing any breakage, stick to the gel application and opt out of additional adhesion as this could cause further damage.

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Futuristic Pony

This snatched high ponytail is giving off some futuristic vibes. To get a clean, sleek look with minimal effort, use a smoothing treatment to brush your hair back using a flat brush (use the heat from your blowdryer here as well if you need to reset the direction of your hair). Spray a little hair spray directly onto your flat brush to provide extra hold as you bring your hair back to be tied. Once you've secured your ponytail, wrap a small section of hair from the bottom of your ponytail around your hair tie and secure using a bobby pin or hair pin of your preference.

When recreating this look, try using a clean toothbrush spritzed with hairspray to tame baby hairs and flyaways.

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Bubble Bows

There's no such thing (to us, at least) as an overdressed ponytail. Take your bubble pony from basic to extra by adding a velvet bow over each hair tie. And while you're at it, top it off with a blusher veil velvet headband because there's no rule stating you need to walk down the aisle to wear one of those. I mean, why not?

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Waterfall Pony

To get your ponytails looking extra long, create 2-3 horizontal sections and secure a ponytail for each section, one underneath the other. This is especially great for hair with tons of texture and body, and also darker hues, because it's easier for the hair to hide behind itself and give the illusion of extra length. (A bow on top never hurts!)

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Subtle Sprinkle

A subtle sprinkle of gold beaded pearls may seem extra fancy, but you can totally find these at your local craft store. Craft supply stores often stock a variety of gems with non-damaging built-in adhesions on the back, which basically equates to a super simple application. To take this look past the point of subtle, you could incorporate these (or an even smaller variation) into your makeup look as well.

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Bridal Vibes

My favorite bridal hairstyles are the ones influenced by runway looks and red carpet 'dos, like this soft ponytail with a pearl pin worn by Mandy Moore. Gone are the days when updos shlacked with hairspray and teased for extra volume are among the desires of modern brides (and we're so thankful). Opt out of the traditional and expected low bun and try something more modern on for size, like Moore's low ponytail. It's simple, soft, and sophisticated and has us feelin' all the bridal vibes.

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Twisted Mohawk

If Sporty Spice was your favorite Spice Girl, we're guessing this Twisted Mohawk ponytail is calling your name. A very editorial vibe, this ponytail is a really fun option for hitting the gym. The imperfectly tight twist starts at the front and makes its way down to the nape of the neck where it ends in a casually low ponytail. If you're sporting second or third day hair, your strands won't have any problem staying back in this 'do. All that natural oil production at the scalp will help to hold things in place with ease. Small, matte bobby pins like these will ensure your twist stays tight and there won't be any hairpins flying across the boxing ring.

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Head Turner

This perfectly poised high ponytail can be achieved with one all-star product: BedHead by Tigi's Queen for A Day. It's a wet thickening spray with amazing hold. With the help of a flat brush, it will ensure you get a clean, tight pull on the sides. Rough drying the product in with your hands up top can give you that piece-y, volumized texture similar to that seen on Priyanka Chopra. With the support of such a versatile product, your ponytail is sure to be a head turner.

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Barrettes Galore

Sometimes, more is more. Shorter strands may have a harder time staying pulled back without falling out of place, so why not add a little extra reinforcement with a full-on array of rainbow glitzed barrettes? Running them all along your hairline directly down to your ponytail will make a statement, all while being much more manageable.

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Box Braided Pony

Boss babe Kerry Washington wore her box braids in a high pony while on set directing for HBO's Insecure. Bungee cords are great for tying your braids up with good tension and flexible sizing. You could also get a spool of elastic and cut your own custom-sized hair ties. For a looser ponytail, tie two of your braids around the perimeter of the rest and secure with a hair pin at the center of your knot, if needed. Tight or loose, we love a ponytail chock full of box braids.

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Chained Up

Don't limit yourself to objects labeled as "hair accessories". There are so many options on how you can dress up your strands just by thinking outside the box, like this Chanel necklace for example. The jewelry you already own -- necklaces, earrings, bracelets and more -- might just serve as your hair's best accessory.

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Elastic Headband

We've already mentioned the perks of owning a spool of elastic to make your own custom sized hair ties, and we're about to add another perk to the mix: you can use it to create your own headbands as well. Hair master Eugene Souleiman used elastic to his advantage for the Jil Sanders show to add the most delicate yet secure, minimalistic headband to the sea of ponytails that walked down the runway.

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Pearl Parting

Accessorizing the hairline to our up-styles is a trend on the rise, and thanks to lines like LeLet NY, looks like this ascending pearled parting are easy to achieve with pre-made pieces ready to be clipped into place. If you're more of a DIY-er, you can use wig/extension glue to adhere whatever sized pearls, rhinestones or other gems into your parting with discretion. Make sure to have an alcohol based spray on hand (I like to use Bumble & Bumble's Thickening Tonic) for glue removal.

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The Sassy Ponytail

This ultra-high ponytail can be yours for the taking (and with minimal effort, might I add) thanks to user friendly extensions like these Invisi-Ponytails from Glam Seamless. They're essentially pre-made ponytails with clips that slide directly the base of your natural ponytail, and they have a separated section for you to wrap around and disguise where it's connected. With fool proof, ready-to-use clip-ons like these you'll be flipping your long, lengthy ponytails from side to side with a little extra sass.

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Fun and Flirty

A fun and flirty ponytail is all about preparation. To give a solid foundation to your ponys, try using a good volumizing primer or thickening tonic on wet hair before your blowout. Then, set each round brushed curl with a flat, creasless clip so that the hair holds it's shape as it cools into place. After the hair has cooled, remove your clips and brush the hair out with a mixed bristle brush for soft, fluffy volume and those perfectly imperfect curled ends. For a mid-height ponytail like Rachel Brosnahan's, follow the eye line up at a very subtle angle, and secure.

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Volumized Ponytail

An easy way to get a little extra volume and height to your ponytail is by using a triple-toothed teasing comb. With three rows of super fine "teeth" in a unique zig zag pattern, it's sure to push up some major volume, no matter what your hair type.

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The Tucked Pony

Not a single tie, accessory or pin in sight here. Sometimes all it takes to get a casual cool girl ponytail is the right neckline. Note to self: a hair tuck does not have to be seasonal, and is pretty much always a good idea.

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Warrior Princess

If you've got extra long locks, this ponytail is a fun and unique way to break things up. Beginning near the temples and pulling up towards the crown of the head, create your first horizontal section (as if you were doing a half-up high ponytail) and secure with an elastic that matches your hair color so it's easily disguised. Continue creating 2-3 more sections down toward the nape of the neck before continuing on down the length of your ponytail. Use a little dry texture spray on each section and back brush to get that bubbled up volume.

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Diagonal Parting

The details in your ponytail hold the potential of being its defining feature. Like Madelaine Petsch's diagonal parting, such a simple detail can be the component to your hairstyle that really makes it stand out. If you want to switch up your parting, spritz the area with some water and blow dry into the desired direction with a fine tooth comb. A tail comb is sure to get you the cleanest parting of your choosing.

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Wet 'n Wild

You don't need to have wet hair to get a wet and wild ponytail. If you're starting off with dry hair, apply a liberal amount of hair oil or serum to your ends and finish off by pulling the hair back with a heavy coating of shine spray and/or pomade for a glistened look. Brush back partially for smoothness at the roots. You could also use a plant based, aerosol free hair spray for extra hold without piling on a harmful amount of product buildup.

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Go Long

This sleek, minimal high ponytail on Ashley Graham is one to covet. If you don't have extra long locks, that doesn't mean you can't rock an extra long ponytail. In this day and age extensions are becoming so much more accessible and user friendly that it'd just be a shame not to play with them more often. Another line we love that makes easy-to-apply ponytails is Hidden Crown's Bungee Ponytail. You wrap it around and hook it into place. Nothing to it!

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Curled High

These combed out curls are giving some serious shape to Tori Kelly's ponytail. For an equivalent amount of perk to your pony, back brush those ringlets before coating them with any curl enhancing products. You can manually fluff things into place after you've tidied things up, securing your desired shape with a strong hold hairspray.

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Side Pony Twists

We love the effortlessness of this side ponytail. Wrap your ponytail into place by using one of your own twists around the perimeter for that covetable looseness. If the hair is too heavy and you need a little extra hold, use two twists to tie together around the perimeter and a few textured Japanese hair pins to grip those twists around the desired pony placement.

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Braided Up

Alright, I'll be real with you guys: this braided up ponytail is probably a little harder to do on yourself, so grab a girl friend who knows a thing or two about braids to help you out and be prepared to have your head dropped in a not-so-comfortable position for a few minutes. To get a ponytail like this, I'd say it's totally worth it.

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Big Bows

They say "the bigger the hair, the closer to heaven", but the bigger the bow? Well, we're not entirely sure how that one ends, but we're confident it ends well.

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Straight and Simple

This straight and simple ponytail is made chic by its precision. To guarantee super smoothed strands, you'll want a reliable flat iron like this Single Pass iron by T3. Its plates maintain an even temperature and your strands won't pull or get caught in the plate's edges (a personal flat iron pet peeve).

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