17 Stylish Ponytails Especially for Short Hair

woman wearing low ponytail with bow in her hair

Short hair, while always chic, can prove difficult to style. Wearing it down is typically the default setting. That becomes the norm, and suddenly, you realize you haven't touched your hair in two weeks. That's fine, unless you're feeling bored or uninspired. In that case, it's time to take up your styling products again. And by the way, just because it can seem difficult to style doesn't mean it's impossible. For proof, check out 15 braids that look amazing on short hair. The same rings true when it comes to ponytails. Just because you don't have Rapunzel-length locks doesn't mean you can't toss your short strands up into the most classic style.

Seeing as most of the country is in the midst of a massive heat wave, short and stylish ponytail inspiration can't come fast enough, because who doesn't want their hair up and out of the way when walking out into triple-digit heat? That's why we gathered some of our favorite short ponytail looks from celebrities, hairstylists, and fellow Byrdie editors. These 17 looks are sure to prove ponytails are never out of style.

1. Sleek and High

Lana Condor ponytail

Done by celebrity hairstylist Nicole Blais, Lana Condor's high, sleek pony leaves you with a chic and playful look that can easily be worn from day to night. The To All the Boys I've Loved Before star's pony goes perfect with a dramatic makeup look, since the hair is more on the subtle side.

2. Side-Parted and Low


Karlie Kloss is the rare Victoria's Secret model who has made short hair her signature look. She often wears her hair in a ponytail, as it fits her no-nonsense approach to beauty. We love how her hairstylist, Harry Josh, kept her side-parted low pony slicked back and chic. Try using this product from his namesake brand for a similar pin-straight effect: the Harry Josh ProTools Ceramic 1.25 Inch Flat Styling Iron ($200).

3. Mohawk

Logan Browning ponytail

We had to take a moment to admire Logan Browning's braided-up mohawk pony. To achieve this hairstyle seen on the Dear White People actress, you'll begin by braiding the sides of your hair, but leaving some undone at the ends. Then you'll pull up all your hair in a mohawk-like style and clip in the middle. It's perfect for natural and curly hair types.

4. Short and Voluminous


If straight and sleek isn't your thing, try replicating this voluminous short ponytail that Harry Josh styled for actress Rose Byrne. We love the sheer amount of volume there is at the crown of her head and the top of the pony. No matter which angle you look at it from, it's fresh and bouncy. 

5. Low With a Diagonal Part


Our next inspiration comes courtesy of Kate Bosworth, who happens to be one of our all-time favorite beauty muses. Although her hair is technically medium length, we think this low pony could work for any hair length, including short. Take it from Josh, who captioned this photo, "Sometimes it's just small details like a diagonal side part and super sleek pony!"

6. Wavy


If you have short hair and bangs, look no further than this soft and wavy look that Josh created for legendary supermodel Helena Christensen. We like how her bangs swoop over to one side of her forehead, ending in a fresh and feathery texture.

7. High With Barrel Curls


Next we have an Instagram post from the newly engaged Hailey Baldwin. Like Kloss, she also channeled the '50s with a high ponytail styled in big barrel curls. We're obsessed.

8. Low With Face-Framing Pieces


Emma Watson proves that short ponytails can be business-appropriate. Here, she keeps her hair pared-down and professional (professional enough to meet with the prime minister of Canada) by combing back her strands and securing them with an elastic low at the nape of her neck. She keeps her side bangs and a few face-framing pieces out in front to soften the look. 

9. Big Curls


Priyanka Chopra posted this picture to her Instagram, wearing a short pony by celeb hairstylist Laura Polko. Chopra's hair is posh and refined thanks to big curls and a lot of shine. 

10. High at the Crown of Your Head


For a fun and youthful look, sweep your curls up into a ponytail at the crown of your head, and let them poof out to celebrate their natural texture, as Yara Shahidi does here. A bright yellow ribbon or barrette isn't required, but it's definitely encouraged. 

11. Dressed up With a Headband


Lucy Hale proves all it takes to add some oomph to an otherwise traditional short ponytail is a big and bejeweled headband. Okay, so you don't necessarily need that exact headband, but you can't ever go wrong with a stand-out hair accessory.

12. Low Side Pony With a Bandana


Speaking of hair accessories, here's an example of a budget-friendly and summery one you can reach for to amp up a low side pony, courtesy of yours truly. Seriously though, I always keep a bandana or scarf on hand. I roll it up and tie it around my head for an easy, breezy headband. It takes me all of five minutes and results in a beach- or brunch-appropriate look.

13. Braided and Short


Or do as Byrdie's stunning features editor Amanda Montell does. Braid one side before combining it with the rest of your hair into a short ponytail. It doesn't have to be perfect. In fact, the messier, the better. (She's our resident short-haired editor and knows all the best styling tricks and products.)

14. Wavy High


Ashley Tisdale recently posted this photo to her Instagram, sporting a wavy high ponytail that we love. We like the texture and separation. Try using IGK Beach Club Texture Spray ($29) for a similar effect.

15. Braided

Getty Images

If you're an "I have five minutes to do my hair or I will be insanely late for work" type of person, then replicate this easy look worn by Kate Mara. Sweep your hair back into a normal pony before braiding down the lengths. This will take all of 30 seconds (especially if you have super-short strands).

16. Looped Bun


Vanessa Hudgens, the unofficial queen of boho-chic, posted this photo to her Instagram. Even though it's technically a looped bun, we're counting it as a ponytail since the majority is left out of the elastic. This is an easy style that can span edgy and romantic, depending on your makeup and clothing choices.

17. Sleek and Low


To round out our list, here's another photo of Lucy Hale. Here, she sports wet-look hair that has been tied back into a low pony. It's the ultimate in sleek hairstyles (since we started with a sleek style, it's only fitting that we end with a sleek style). Make sure you check out our easy-to-follow wet-look hair tutorial by celeb hairstylist Chris Appleton.

  • How can I make my ponytail more voluminous?

    Whether you're working with thinner hair or not a whole lot of length, it can be tricky to fake a voluminous ponytail. However, propping it up, teasing it, or wearing extensions, will help you to feign a fuller ponytail.

  • How can I use ponytail extensions?

    Small clip-in extensions work well with updos and give you instant volume. To use them, begin by brushing your hair and then sectioning it. Next, clip in an extension to each section of hair from the nape of your neck to your crown. Finish by brushing hair out and styling it into your ponytail of choice.

  • How short can I cut my hair and still be able to wear it in a ponytail?

    It depends on how you style your ponytail (e.g. a low ponytail can work with shorter hair lengths than a high ponytail) but generally speaking, shoulder-length hair will give you versatility when styling your updo. For instance, with shoulder-length, pieces won't fall out when styling hair into a high ponytail.

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