15 Ponytail Hairstyles That Elevate the Classic Updo for Any Occasion

15 Ponytail Hairstyles That Elevate the Classic Updo for Any Occasion

Ella Balinska wears a sleek high ponytail hairstyle and soft glam makeup

@ellabalinska / Instagram

Take a moment to consider your go-to hairstyles. Chances are half-up, half-down hairstyles, chic balletcore buns, and laid-back messy buns take the cake… but what about ponytails? While the hairstyle might seem a little too casual (or gym-ready), there are so many ways to elevate the look for your next date night, work event, or party. To prove it, we rounded up 15 ponytail hairstyles that take the classic look to new heights, as worn by influencers and celebrities alike. Whether you’re looking for a new everyday hairstyle or an updo fit for a special occasion, ahead you’ll find plenty of ponies worth incorporating into your routine.

01 of 15

High Teased Pony

Rihanna wears a high ponytail hairstyle with teased roots and curls

Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

Let’s kick things off with a moment for Rihanna’s stunning high teased pony, which she rocked when attending the Dior Cruise 2015 show. A few details make this pony especially notable, from her voluminous, curled texture to beautifully laid edges. To recreate her pony volume, try using the Kitsch Pro Ponyfull ($12), which works to create the appearance of a fuller, thicker, more lifted tail, no matter the height where you secure it.

02 of 15

Flipped Out Ends

Hailey Bieber wears a ponytail hairstyle with flipped ends and black bow to the Met Gala

Taylor Hill / Getty Images

Hailey Bieber flaunted this gorgeous, bow-adorned flipped-out high pony to the 2019 Met Gala, and we’re still swooning over it. Celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin was the genius behind the head-turning ponytail hairstyle, which took inspiration from Barbie years before the Barbie movie took over the scene.

03 of 15

Slicked-Back High Pony

Ella Balinska wears a slicked-back high ponytail hairstyle

@ellabalinska / Instagram

Slicked-back buns have become a go-to for many in the quiet luxury era, and you can apply the technique to ponytails, too. Here, an ultra-sleek approach to the updo takes Ella Balinska’s pony from everyday to high-fashion. To recreate her ultra-smooth roots, use a boar bristle brush, like the Emi Jay Mini Boar Bristle Brush ($42). For more of our favorite hairbrushes, check out our roundup.

04 of 15

Voluminous Mermaid Braid

Back view of long, fluffed-out braided ponytail

@justinemarjan / Instagram

This plush, long pony might seem difficult to recreate, but you’ll be surprised by just how approachable it is. Start with a half-up pony, then split it in half and secure it beneath another section of the hair with a clear elastic. Continue the process all the way to the ends, and gently coif for added volume. If you don’t have super thick hair, you can always add extensions into the mix to nail the density. We love the Insert Name Here Brit Extra Long Soft Wave Ponytail Extension ($59), plus you can check out our favorite clip-ins, tested by our team.

05 of 15

Goddess Braid High Pony

Sheryl Lee Ralph wears a curly ponytail hairstyle with cornrowed roots and graphic eye makeup

@lacyredway / Instagram

Sheryl Lee Ralph’s ponytail by celebrity hairstylist Lacy Redway is one for the books. The goddess braids really add to the textural dimension of the look, giving it a regal flair.

06 of 15

Sleek Wavy Pony

Gwen Stefani wears a high ponytail hairstyle with sleek roots and wavy ends

@justinemarjan / Instagram

We love the look of Gwen Stefani's sleek platinum high pony. Complete with a subtle part at the hairline, a wrapped cuff, and shiny, wavy ends, what's not to love?

07 of 15

Half-Up Braided Pony

Ayo Edebiri wears a half-up box braided ponytail hairstyle

Amy Sussman / Getty Images

While she may now be rocking an ever-trendy flippy bob, Ayo Edebiri’s half-up box braid hairstyle from the 2023 SAG Awards is a versatile option that works just as well with casual fits as it can with red carpet ensembles. We especially love the wavy ends and platinum accents.

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08 of 15

Wavy Wrapped Pony

Maria Menounos wears a wavy ponytail hairstyle with wrapped base

@justinemarjan / Instagram

The easiest way to elevate the look of any ponytail is to use a small section of hair to conceal the hair tie. To achieve this, simply thread the ends through a bobby pin, wrap the hair around the base of the pony until you reach the ends, and pin it in place on the underside so it's not visible.

09 of 15

Side-Swoop Barbie Pony

Katy DeGroot wears a high ponytail hairstyle with side swoop and pink ribbon

@justinemarjan / Instagram

Side parts and bangs are coming back in 2024, and this side-swoop, high-shine pony is a stunning, low-commitment way to jump on the trend. Celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan created it for influencer Katy DeGroot for the Barbie premiere, hence the lacquered finish and pretty pink bow.

10 of 15

Ultra-High Box Braid Pony

Yara Shahidi wears a high ponytail hairstyle with sleek roots and braided ends

Michael Tran / Getty Images

Yara Shahidi looks like a powerful warrior princess with this slicked-back, ultra-high braided pony, which she wore to the 2018 NAACP Image Awards. Celebrity hairstylist Nai’vasha Johnson created the look by taking inspiration from the first episode of Grown-ish, telling E! News that she used the kinkiest Marley hair she could find to perfect the texture.

11 of 15

Half-Up Retro Pony

Dorit Kemsley wears a high ponytail hairstyle with flipped ends, headband, and oval sunglasses

@justinemarjan / Instagram

If you love the look of Hailey Bieber’s flouncy Met Gala pony but prefer a half-up style, check out this retro ‘do Justine Marjan created for Dorit Kemsley. The wrapped base and ’60s-inspired stretchy headband take it over the top.

12 of 15

Sleek Side-Part Low Pony

Jasmine Sanders wears a low ponytail hairstyle with slicked roots and straight ends

Taylor Hill / Getty Images

This snapshot may look like something straight out of the early 2010s, but Jasmine Sanders (a.k.a. Golden Barbie) actually wore this sleek, side-parted low pony on the Victoria's Secret pink carpet in September 2023. Just consider this further proof that side parts are making a comeback.

13 of 15

Mohawk Bubble Pony

Tiffany Battle wears a mohawk-inspired bubble ponytail hairstyle and multicolored t-shirt dress

@tiffanymbattle / Instagram

We love a bubble pony, and this one stopped us in our tracks. While many iterations of the trend start at the crown of the head or nape of the neck, influencer Tiffany M. Battle opted for a hairline poof to kick things off, transforming the classic bubble pony into more of a mohawk. Complete with gold thread details, the statement-making look has us obsessed.

14 of 15

Detailed Edges

Side view of woman with ultra-long braided ponytail hairstyle with slicked roots and curly face-framing pieces

@justinemarjan / Instagram

This ultra-long, slicked-back braided pony is giving Kim K. vibes. Meanwhile, the curls around the face remind us of Maddy's edges on Euphoria.

15 of 15

Velvet Bow Messy Pony

Back view of woman with messy half-bun ponytail hairstyle tied with black velvet ribbon

@jennychohair / Instagram

Ponytails can be messy and cute, too. Case in point: This shiny, bow-accented updo by celebrity hairstylist Jenny Cho. She gave it a boost of shine with the Sisley Paris Hair Rituel Precious Hair Care Oil ($115).

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