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, these hair experts share their tips on how to nail the look – from the importance of prep to the products you should always have on hand.
Image: STOCKSY/MAJA TOPCAGIC

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Start By Prepping Hair

“The products you use to prepare the hair before blow-drying it are crucial to the longevity of a smooth blow-dry, so choose carefully! Start by prepping the hair for the dryer. I use the Love Smooth range from Davines to keep frizz at bay. Another must-have is Olaplex’s No. 7 Bonding Oil. It minimises flyaways and frizz, while providing UV/heat protection.” – Sam Carpenter, hair artist & educator at Eideal

“A low sleek ponytail is all about perfection and details. Those details have a special importance in this region as preparative products need to be used to smoothen out frizz and protect the hair from humidity – which is the main reason why sometimes hair styles don’t last the way the they should. I recommend Smoothening Anti-Frizz Blowout Butter from Alterna. After washing your hair, towel dry and apply this, focusing on the frizziest parts. Then you’re ready to blow-dry.” – Natalya Sitnikova, creative director & salon manager at Maison Monaco

Use A Good Brush 

“To blow-dry sleekly, I like a brush with a flat, wide surface so it can create exceptionally smooth results. Prior to blow-drying, make sure there are no knots that need untangling. This sets the tone for your style. A section comb is also an essential tool and you will need good-quality elastics that do not cause tangles as well as bobby pins. Try to source ones that are as close to your hair colour as possible, so they are easy to hide.” – Sam

“The choice of brush can make your task easier or tougher. The right brush will depend on your natural hair type. If it’s naturally smooth and straight, it’s enough to simply use a good tail comb and a paddle brush. However, if your hair is even slightly wavy to curly, you would definitely need to use a soft-bristle brush to smooth every bit of frizz out, a tail comb for the parting line – and you might be surprised, but a toothbrush can be your best friend to remove unwanted frizz and small flyaways from the hair line!”- Natalya

Set Up A Mirror 

“You will need to sit in front of a mirror with one behind you, and ideally have a hand mirror so you can check the sides too. Use your comb to decide where the centre between your ears is at the back of your head – this is where the pony should sit.” – Sam

“Using a tri-fold mirror can help you position the ponytail just at the centre and at the right height. You can then easily keep your head straight or slightly bend it down to position your ponytail.”  –Natalya

Nail Your Position

“For a tight, sleek look, when you are placing the ponytail in the elastic, keep a tight hold to ensure tension – otherwise the ponytail will either become loose or you may experience bumps throughout the hair. It’s important if you do experience bumps to run the comb through them and place the hair into your hand. Before you place the elastic into the hair, while you are still holding the hair in your hands, check you can move your head in all directions without any pain or discomfort.” – Sam

“To keep the ponytail in place, you need to choose your hair tie wisely. Avoid very thick or big hair elastic bands, as it would be hard to cover it with hair later on. Go for ponytail bungee hooks. If you can’t find one with hooks, create one using any elastic band and two bobby pins by placing the pins in front of each other on the band. Once you are ready to tie your ponytail, just insert one pin into the ponytail, wrap around and insert another one in. That will secure your ponytail firmly and it should last as long as possible.”– Natalya

Add Extra Texture

“Once you have secured the ponytail, you can take a section from the underneath side and either braid it before wrapping it around the elastic, or simply wrap it around the elastic. This will elevate the look and make it instantly chicer.” – Sam

Play With Natural Frizz

“Always embrace your natural texture – don’t fight it! If your hair is coily or curly, try a ponytail that showcases your natural texture and, rather than fighting to straighten the hair, this will be very elegant if you keep some tendrils loose around your face to frame it. Davines Curl Building Serum adds elasticity and shine to curls, blocking frizz and humidity, so it is a perfect choice. You can also use the Davines Love Curl Primer, which is a moisturising milk that gives definition to the hair, untangling it and making styling easy.” – Sam

“If your natural hair is curly to coily, play with the texture! You can use shorter hairs to frame the faces and leave them loose. If you’re feeling very brave, style tiny pieces of hair with some strong hold gel and a toothbrush as wet waves and keep them on top of your make-up. You can also play with the texture on the lengths: after styling it with tongs, open the waves and use some texture spray or powder to define them.” - Natalya

Go Half Up For Shorter Hair

“I love a half ponytail on shorter hair such as a bob. You can then create it to be as sleek or as wavy as you want and add eye-catching accessories such as hair clips – especially this festive season.”- Sam

“If your hair is a very short bob, but you want a low ponytail, it is perfectly possible with a bit of work and attention to detail. Choose good hair gel, ideally with a medium hold, so you can layer it and adjust without drying it too fast, and start to apply it generously throughout the hair line and on top. Use a toothbrush to polish the hairline, especially on the neck area. Make sure you slightly bend your head down when fixing the ponytail, as it will help to position it very low, and that way carefully collect all short hairs into the pony. With short hair it might be hard to cover the hair band with the hair, so be creative and use an accessory to cover it – for example, a decorative leather cord.” – Natalya

Experiment Once It’s In Place

“If the rest of your hair is sleek, you can either opt to straighten the ponytail using irons or put some waves through your ponytail using curling tongs. Experiment with different barrel sizes so you can choose the tightness of the curls or the waves you want.” – Sam

“When the ponytail is fixed, it’s time to decide how to style it. I would recommend keeping it sharp and sleek if your natural hair is very straight. However, if your hair is textured or curly, please remember to smooth the hair out until the ends before you tie your ponytail. It doesn’t have to be a perfectly straight blow-dry, but enough so you can use tools to either keep it straight or add waves or curls. This will help to achieve a smooth transition from the sleek upper part until the wavy ends. After your ponytail is fixed, use a curling iron or tongs to create the texture you want on the lengths. Play with the texture and don’t forget to use hair spray to fix the style at the end.” – Natalya

Tame Those Flyaways

“The best way to control flyaways is a hair wax stick – an amazing invention for those who adore sleek looks overall. If your hair is soft, just use it on the hair line, parting line and top of the hair. For very frizzy or coarse hair, I’d recommend using it through the front area, section by section, and comb well. Try the TIGI Bed Head Wax Stick – it’s easy to use and small enough to carry in your handbag.” – Natalya

Make Sure It’s Not Too Tight

“To ensure your low ponytail lasts, it needs to be pretty tight. However, it must be comfortable to wear, so after your ponytail is fixed, and before you go to cover the band, move your head and be attentive to your feelings. If it feels too tight adjust the tension by loosening it slightly at the base.” – Natalya

Finally, Have Fun With Accessories 

“For ultimate chicness and elegance, try a black ribbon tied around the ponytail, or a bow or a pearl-embellished clip. If you want to showcase a more fun, fashion-forward style, there are logo clips you can place either side of the pony. The only limit is your imagination!” – Sam

“It all depends on your overall look. If it’s elegant, you might want to go with small or big bows, stylish silk scarfs are also a good idea. Hair pins with pearls can be a good match too. You can get very creative and even use gold leaf on one side or in the parting line or above the hair band – it looks especially good on dark hair.” – Natalya

For more pro tips, follow Sam @SamCarpenterOfficial & Natalya @HairTailor_dxb


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