Cool Ponytail Styles

Ponies can be anything from ultra sleek, pictured here, to tastefully textured.

Photo: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

If you thought that ponytails were only for lazy Sunday afternoons on the couch, think again. Sure, a ponytail's quick and easy to throw together, but that doesn't make the look any less chic. The beauty of the ponytail is that subtle changes make it suitable for just about anything, whether it's a hip work party or a casual get-together with your besties.

Super Sleek

A general rule of thumb -- choose a ponytail style that matches the texture of what you're wearing. If you're rocking an evening gown with clean, crisp lines, a slicked-back look is probably what you're after. To create a pony that's coolly elegant, start by making a middle or off-center part. Fasten the ponytail tightly, but not too tightly. You don't want to stress out your tresses. Secure your hair at low- to mid-height, then spritz on some hairspray to keep fly-aways in place. Smooth a shine serum through your pony and finish with a flat iron. Wrap a section of hair around your elastic and secure it with a bobby pin for a look that's red-carpet glam. If you want to slick everything back instead of making a part, a cute headband adds some texture and keeps your look from seeming too severe.

Pumped-up Party Girl

When you're feeling care-free and ready for a night on the town, the last thing you want to be is prim and proper looking. Get high volume in the back by back-combing your hair in 2-inch sections. Then, use a flat brush to sweep it all into a high pony. Prefer a style that's bumped up on top? Apply a finishing cream to freshly washed hair, then blow-dry it smooth. Grab the top section of your hair between your temples and clip it up high on your head. Pull the rest of your hair into a high pony, then unclip the small section, teasing and applying a volumizing spray to get that bumped-up effect. Feed it into the rest of your pony by fastening it in place with a second elastic.

Get Extra Texture

If your pony simply doesn't have enough texture for you, try braids to add some interest to your 'do. Rock a single large braid from your crown, back to where your pony is held in place. Or grab some small, hair-matched elastics and make a few small plaits around your head before pulling it all back into a pony. For something really different, try a dual-texture ponytail. Use a crimper to style just the front pieces of your hair, then it pull back into a mid-height pony. The hair on your head will look crimped, while your swinging pony hangs onto your hair's natural texture. Use a texturizing spray in the back to bring out natural waves.

Stick It Sideways

A side pony doesn't have to be a 1980s flashback. In fact, it can look downright elegant when you do it right. The secret is getting a wavy texture first, then letting some of those softening pieces down to frame your face. If your locks aren't naturally wavy, go at them with a large-barrel curling iron, working through some styling serum first for hold and texture. Then, sweep it all to the side and pull a few face-framing pieces loose.

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