How to Create a High Ponytail

Learn how to create a high ponytail with this Howcast hair tutorial featuring celebrity hairstylist Jacqueline Bush.

My name is Jacqueline Bush and I’m an editorial in celebrity hairstyles. My clientele has included Faith Hill, Mark Ruffalo, Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jane Krakowski. I want to be able to show you that hair isn’t as intimidating or as hard as you think it is and I want you be able to have fun with it and do what your vision is with your hair. So now I’m going to show you how to do one of my favorite ponytails : The High Ponytail. We have Monica here – she already has a lot of texture in her hair. One of the keys about doing a ponytail or pretty much any style that you want to get hold in is the hair can’t be too soft. So even if you jump out of the shower, your hair is really conditioned…that’s ok, that’s great because it’s about the right PH balance of the hair. But after you get out of the shower if your hair is soft, blow dry a little product through, a little hairspray, a little dry shampoo, a little gel (I love gels when I’m doing up-do’s), even a little mousse works well. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to pull Monica’s hair all the way back , even her short little bang pieces, and I’m just going to (in case you couldn’t see) that what I did was, is I pulled straight up. If you pull back this way, it’s not going to get you very high. So you need to already start the motion in that upward direction because for this one, that’s the only tricky thing with a high ponytail, you always got to go higher than you think. So it’s ok that I’m pulling it a little tight right now, I’m just smoothing out the bottom making sure that we don’t get that funky bump that sometimes you see underneath. And she has a little bit of these fly-aways, that’s ok, we can take care of those at the end. Getting it up, this is the most important part if you get this, you got the ponytail. Now I have where I want her. So for this ponytail, out of all the ponytails, this is probably the most essential to have, my favorite ponytail holder : the bungee cord. It’s exactly what it sounds like, it’s an elastic with a hook on each end. And the reason I like these as opposed to regular rubber bands, even the ones that say no slip, is it’s less about the slip once it’s in the hair and more about how you’re putting it into the hair because when I put one of these into the hair it doesn’t move in this particular grip that I have. If I were to take a regular rubber band and put that in the hair right now, where I have would automatically slide down just because I would lose that as I’m putting in the rubber band. So we’re going to use the bungee so we get a little more control. The way you work that is you take one hook, starting from one side of her head, wrapping it around, stretch it like I am, wrapping it around again, and then I’m going to hook it across my other hook so it’s in this x shaped. See that? It’s an x shape . If I had this hook down here it wouldn’t stay, so the hooks are crossed on top of each other and on the top of the elastic closest to the head. So it’s in there. I don’t really like those little hooks hanging out so I’m going to do my favorite little trick which is taking a piece of hair from the bottom, it doesn’t have to be a large piece. I’m going to tease it, I’m going to spray it with a little hair spray – get a little extra hold, I’m going to smooth it out, then I’m going to wrap it around my ponytail. It’s the second time around. I’m going to go one more time because the end is pretty long and then I’m going to secure it with a little hairpin. Now it’s in there. So now I’m going to look at my front. Alright so you see how this piece is a little out? This is ok. I’m going to match that and I’m just taking my fingers and just pulling just a little bit, just a little bit out. Now what I’m going to do is I’m going to take my teasing comb – the one with the serrated edge, long rat tail, I’m going to take that top section of the ponytail I’m going to tease that. Teasing is all about giving your hair a lot of lift and volume. See now she’s got a lot of lift. I’m going to do that again for the next section. You have to get right in there – right in the base of that ponytail. And I’m going to do the next section and I’m going to do the last section. I’m not teasing this because you’re going to see that – well we could tease it a little on top because no one’s going to see that. So now we have her nice and big and voluminous. And we’re going to take our Mason Pearson brush or any kind of smoothing brush that you have. We’re just going to smooth it out a little. Right now what I’m doing is I’m just looking at the shape which is what I want you guys at home to do. It’s not about just blindly following, look at your own shape. If I look at Monica’s hair from the side and it looks like a rat’s nest, I’m going to smooth it a little bit. If it’s the way I like it I’m going to leave it. Maybe I’m just going to play with it a little bit more with my hands. And actually for this, these little pieces that I said we’re going to pin up, I actually think that works with what’s going on here for her. That’s the key, is understanding the way the high ponytail looks on you. It might be different than her, it might be a little tighter, a little sleeker. If you want that look what you can do is you take some hairspray and then just slick your hand. That gets rid of those little fly-aways. Let’s match it on the other side. If you really need more hold, you can use a pomade and just slick that, slick it underneath. But for her I don’t want to make it too slick. And that’s how you do a high ponytail.