It used to be that the ponytail was only saved for bad-hair days and gym visits. Thank goodness, that tradition is officially being broken by Hollywood celebs who are wearing ponytails for black tie events and pretty much every other occasion where paparazzi can catch them.

And it makes a world of sense. During the months of July and August, no one wants to show up to a party or a dinner looking and feeling like a hot, sweaty mess (aka, what happens when girls wear their hair down during humid summer days).

But the ponytail has undergone a revamp since you saw it last. And here are the main ways it’s gotten a makeover. Snag an idea or two from some of the best ways to upgrade your ponytail.

If you like it, put a bow on it…

Tie your hair back, and then dress it with a bow or a ribbon. This look is retro and playful. In blush pink, it harkens back to the days of pinafores and braids. But for something a little more grown up, use a black velvet ribbon if you want to give your ponytail elegance. No less than Nicole Kidman and Gwyneth Paltrow have used this look to their advantage.

Go all-out Ariana Grande (AKA use extensions!)

The queen of the sleek ponytail, Ariana Grande’s signature look is one you can copy, too. And you don’t need long hair to do it. All it takes are well-chosen hair extensions. (And if you’ve never used hair extensions before, ponytail extensions are the easiest way to dip your toe into this wide wonderful world.)

Wefts with clips provide a ready-made ponytail that attach around the hair you have tied back. Other variations include hair extensions sewn onto an elastic tie, too. So pick an option that you feel most comfortable with. Once that’s done, use gel to sleek your hair back into a tail, fasten the hair extensions around your natural ponytail, then get ready to enjoy making a statement entrance to whatever event you’re attending.

Frame it nicely

Beauty can be enhanced or dehanced (is that a word? It should be!), depending on how it’s framed, and this applies to your face shape and your hairstyle. If you want to do a ponytail, but your face is more circular than oval, you might worry your ponytail is accentuating that roundness. Cast your worries aside. Curled hair strands to either side of your face will help to elongate your face and will create a romantic, sweet look to accompany your hairdo.

Go half up and half down for a longer look

Don’t have much hair to tie back? But want to pull off the ponytail look regardless? Do the stacked ponytail, one on top of the other, for a lengthened look. Here’s how: Split your hair into two sections, horizontally across the back of your head. Tie the bottom section a few inches from the nape of your neck. Tie the top section at a mid-point. The secret sauce is that the top ponytail will hide the fact that you have a second/bottom ponytail, giving your tail length!

To the side and down low

If you have a sensitive head and having a tight ponytail gives you headaches, there are still options for you. Gather your hair and put it in a loose ponytail to the side and down low, wearing it over one shoulder. You still get your hair off your neck, but minus a headache. Put some curlers in before you work this style, as doing so will add volume to your tail and give it that coveted, wavy look.

—Emma Jean

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