How To Create A Sleek, Low Ponytail
How To Create A Sleek, Low Ponytail

How To Create A Sleek, Low Ponytail

Modern and chic, a low ponytail is the low-key hairstyle that offers maximum impact for minimal effort. Here, two professional hair stylists explain how to nail the look – from the importance of prep to the products you should always have on hand.
By Rebecca Hull

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Start By Prepping Hair

“Like any hairstyle, you need to do a bit of prep first. For the ponytail to be neat, it needs to look healthy, shiny and strong. Start with a mousse, focusing it around the hairline to tame the flyaways, then use a tail comb to ensure you have a clean parting. If you have time, blow dry the hair so it’s extra smooth.” – hairstylist & creative artist Patrick Wilson 

“The products you use before a blow dry are also key as they are what will hold your style in place, so make sure you really work in any mousses or balms to damp hair – the heat from your dryer will set these in place and maintain any hairstyle for longer. Color Wow’s Dream Coat is ideal. It protects hair, minimises frizz and leaves it with a glass-like finish. It makes hair more malleable too, so it’s easier to work with.” –  hairstylist Hollie Rose Clarke

Use A Good Brush 

“When it comes to brushing hair into the ponytail, you need one with soft bristles – one by Mason Pearson would be my first choice. Once you’ve got the hair into position, secure it using an elastic, like the ones by Kitsch which never snag and are clear, so you don’t see them. Failing that, a bungee is another great option if you want a firm grip and no slip. Once you’ve secured everything, finish with a pomade – like the one from Ouai – and use a little to smooth all the flyaways down and back.” – Hollie 

“Keep the tension with your brush and your hands when you’re securing the ponytail. This is especially true if you want that sharp and sleek look. If you lose tension with your brush, the ponytail will become baggy and you’ll have to redo it.” – Patrick 

Set Up A Mirror 

“Before you start, I recommend setting up a mirror behind you so that you can check the back and sides of your head. Don’t tilt your head down as you gather your hair into position, because when you return to being upright, the base of the pony will be baggy. Try to do it looking straight into a mirror.” – Patrick 

Nail Your Position

“It all depends on the length and texture of your hair, but it’s best to secure your ponytail at the very nape of your neck – it’s a very flattering position and always looks elegant. Then, use a toothbrush to tame any baby hairs and keep the surface smooth. Work with a flexible hairspray so that you get hold without the stickiness – I rate Sam McKnight’s Modern Hairspray.” – Patrick 

Add Extra Texture 

“You can either wrap another band around the elastic or bungee – one that’s more accessorised – or take a small piece of your hair from the ponytail and wrap that around the base of your pony. Secure it with a grip underneath so it’s not visible. It’s a simple trick but it elevates the look nicely.” – Patrick 


Play With Natural Frizz

“While this style is definitely suited to being sleek, it doesn’t have to be super neat and tight. If your hair is curlier, a nice, soft ponytail with some natural texture is equally elegant – especially when you wear it low. Just keep some of the hairs around your face loose to frame your features.” – Hollie 

“If you have curly or Afro hair and want to try a sleek pony, I recommend using a heat protective style on wet hair, and then add a gel – like EcoStyle’s Olive Oil Gel – to give your strands better stretch and smoothness. It’s one of the best products out there for controlling curls and I always use it for red carpet looks.” – Patrick 

Go Half Up For Shorter Hair

“Though most hair types can try a low pony, those with a shorter bob might struggle. If you fall into this category, go for a half up and half down look and add a bow for extra interest. Doing a bit of both will keep the look soft as you’ll have some extra texture to play with.” – Hollie 

Experiment Once It’s In Place

“Once your ponytail is in place, remember to tweak it and enhance its texture. For example, you can straighten the hair to keep the look sleek or polished, or you can tong it loosely for that undone ‘beach wave’ look. My personal favourite right now is big bouncy waves throughout the ponytail. You can use a wider tong or straighteners, inserting bigger chunks of hair for a wider curl. Failing that, use rollers before securing your ponytail.” – Hollie 

Make Sure It’s Not Too Tight

“I always ask my clients if its comfortable or not once the style is in the place – the last thing you want to do is cause yourself pain or encourage hair loss. Try moving your head from side to side before you secure the ponytail in place. If it feels like there’s too much tension, loosen it slightly at the base and around the edges of your hairline.” – Patrick  

Finally, Have Fun With Accessories 

“A plain ponytail can be sophisticated, but for party season, it’s nice to add some accessories. A velvet or silk bow is one of the easiest ways to make a statement – place one right on top of your elastic. I love the ones by Jennifer Behr and The Thread Maker. Anything that sparkles will look nice, too – Tilly Thomas’ Hair Pins are a nice addition and are so easy to slide in snag-free. I love adding some Kevin Murphy Shimmer Shine to an updo as well – it catches the light so beautifully.” – Hollie 

Follow @PatrickWilson & @HollieDoesMyHair for more haircare tutorials, tips & advice.


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