How to get the perfect ponytail every time

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Ah, the good old ponytail. Whether we're running to the gym or headed to the office, a well-done ponytail never fails to get the job done. But your standard treadmill pony is not a one-size-fits-all occasion, which is why it's worth mastering a stronger, more dressed-up take on the classic. Creating a perfect ponytail may sound like a daunting effort, but all you really need to do is acquaint yourself with these key rites. You'll be a master of the perfect ponytail in no time at all.

Brush through first.
A bit of unkempt texture is desirable for most styles, but it'll be tough to get your perfect pony in shape with lumps and bumps abound. Gently run a brush through the hair from the mid-lengths up, working from the bottom up so that you won't pull at your ends and cause breakage. For the smoothest ponytail possible, you should be able to run your fingers through your hair without getting them tangled.

Get some grip.
Smooth, slippery hair is no match for a long-wearing ponytail—to keep your look in place, you'll definitely need to have some hold. Second-day unwashed hair has the perfect amount of grip for a good ponytail, but you can recreate that feel even if your hair is freshly washed with texturizing products. Our favorite way to add grit to too-clean hair is by working a generous amount of a texturizing powder, like Redken Powder Grip, into the lengths and at the crown for all-over volume and better control.

Check your placement.
Whether you want a high, bouncy pony or something low and loose, proper placement is key. You'll always want to start by using your fingers to pull all of your hair back away from your face, using your first to create the base of your ponytail. Held at the nape of the neck, you'll get a lower, less voluminous pony; held at the back of the head close to the crown, you'll get major height and bounce. All of these ponytails can be dressed up or down, with loose strands or a smoother texture, but be sure you know where to place your pony for the right effect.

Choose your elastic.
Depending on your hair type, the hair elastic you choose can mean the absolute difference between day-long ponytail perfection and major slippage by midday. Thicker elastics have stronger grip, while slimmer versions are ideal for fine hair that needs closely-held security. Above all, don't ever use a standard rubber band or other non-cosmetic elastic in your hair—that's a recipe for breakage-beyond-belief disaster.

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