Hair Tutorial: How to Master the Grown-Up Topsy Tail

Updated 04/25/19

Remember the topsy-tail commercials (or rather, informercials)? The ones for the actual device? Well, that tool still exists. (Interested? You can buy it on Amazon for) This, however, is nothing like what you’re remembering. The beauty of the topsy tail is that it adds interest and texture without a lot of effort—basically it’s something anyone can do, and if you do it right, it looks beyond chic. To show us how to do it right, we called in the hair master herself, celeb stylist Jen Atkin.

Scroll through for the step-by-step tutorial!

Justin Coit

Before

Start with your hair air-dried to its natural texture. Then part it to one side.

Justin Coit

Step One: Curl

Add more texture to your hair with a one-inch curling iron. (Atkin likes T3’s Whirl Trio Interchangeable Styling Wand, $230.) Wrap sections away from your face all over your head.

Justin Coit

Step Two: Pony

Starting at your ear, separate out about a three-inch section of hair on the side it’s parted to, and pull the rest into a low ponytail.

Justin Coit

Step Three: Loop

This is when you start your topsy tail. Shimmy the hair tie down slightly and split the hair above the tie into equal halves, creating a hole in the center.

Justin Coit

Step Four: Pull Through

To finish your topsy tail, pull your ponytail through the hole.

Justin Coit

Step Five: Topsy Tail

Make sure your ponytail went all the way through and that each side looks even.

Justin Coit

Step Six: Tighten

Tighten the style by splitting your ponytail into two equal sections, and give it a tug.

Justin Coit

Step Seven: Tease

Lightly tease the bottom of the pony, pushing the comb up to create fullness and messiness.

Justin Coit

Step Eight: Tease Again

Now tease the section you left out of the ponytail. Starting from the ends, hold the comb on top of the hair, and push it up into each bend.

Justin Coit

Step Nine: Insert Bobby Pin

Insert a large bobby pin across the ends about two to three inches from the bottom (a couple of inches should hang down below the pin).

Justin Coit

Step 10: Roll

Roll the pin under and up toward your head.

Justin Coit

Step 11: Keep Rolling

Roll it all the way back and pin it to the side of your head just behind your ear. Feel free to play with the rolled section until you get a placement you like, but remember it doesn’t have to look perfect—it should feel a little undone.

Justin Coit

Done

This style should stay pretty secure, but if you want to keep flyaways in check, give it a spritz of Rahua’s Defining Hair Spray ($37). 

Justin Coit

Photographer: Justin Coit

Hairstylist: Jen Atkin

Makeup Artist: Roxy

Producer: Jenna Peffley

Model: Ashley Rogers

If you like this look, you’ll love this romantic uneven braid! And find even more hair inspiration on Atkin’s website Mane Addicts!

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