In a world where updos like Ariana Grande's signature pony and Lizzo's nine-foot-long ponytail exist, it's no wonder that ponytail envy is a thing. And sure, celebrities often have access to expensive wigs and extensions (loads and loads of extensions in Lizzo's case) but, it isn't a crime to daydream about equally full and voluminous ponytails. However, trying to get your ponytail to achieve those same results can feel tricky, especially if you have thin hair.
Rest assured, though, that limp and lifeless ponytails aren't the end all be all. You see, we're all about faking it 'till you make it, and after consulting with professional hairstylists, we learned that no matter what your hair type and texture, it's possible to create the illusion of fuller and thicker hair.
Ahead, keep reading to learn these professionals' best tricks and tips to creating a fuller-looking ponytail from all angles, starting from the base and working down the tail. From texturizing products to clip-in ponytail extensions, check out ten tips to make your ponytail fuller, perkier, and more voluminous.
Tease the Hair.
One way to create volume at the base of your ponytail requires tools that you probably already have ready to use at home — dry shampoo and a fine-tooth comb. Josh Liu, the co-founder of Útiles Beauty and celebrity hairstylist who has worked with celebrities like Ariana Grande, recommends applying dry shampoo section by section throughout the hair.
"Then, tease it with a fine-tooth comb and lock the tease in place with a volumizing medium hold hairspray, like Sexy Hair Spray + Play Volumizing Hairspray ($20, ulta.com)," he says.
Focus the teasing on the top and back of the head where the base of your ponytail will go. "I always recommend building an excess amount of volume and then brushing it out to mold the base into the shape you want," says Liu. Be sure to gently brush just the top layer of hair enough to hide the tease.
Curl Your Hair
"To add fullness to the tail of the pony, I suggest curling the hair in alternate directions to add some texture and volume," says Sarah Klein, a Los Angeles-based professional hairstylist at Nine Zero One Hair Salon. Alternating the direction of the curls also offers a more natural-looking finish.
Liu says curling the hair can also help disguise thin-looking ends. "I always recommend curling the ends of your ponytail horizontally (to create a flip) because this will create an illusion of a fuller bouncy ponytail and hide wispy-looking ends," he says.
If you have short hair, he says a 1.25-inch barrel, like the T3 Curl ID ($250, sephora.com) or even a flat iron (if you've mastered flat iron curls) works well. For longer hair, try a tool with a 1.5-inch barrel like Sultra The Bombshell Rod Curling Iron ($100, amazon.com). "You can also back brush the body of the ponytail after curling the ends to keep it nice and fluffy, which help make it look thicker," says Liu.
Create Two Ponytails.
Another way to create the illusion of bigger hair is to create two ponytails, says Cynthia Alvarez, a celebrity hairstylist. Start by parting your hair horizontally in the middle of your head. This should create two sections of hair — one on top and one on the bottom. Create a ponytail using only the top section of hair.
Then, create a second ponytail using the bottom half of the hair, placing it directly underneath the first ponytail. "This can help elongate the ponytail and also thicken the end," says Alvarez.
Klein, who also recommends this technique, says you can hide the rubber band and double pony by wrapping a section of hair around the base and securing it with a pin beneath the base of the ponytail.
Add a Texturizing Spray
"To make your ponytail appear full at the tail, I recommend adding your favorite dry shampoo or a texture spray section by section throughout the body and at the root of your ponytail," says Liu. The Bumble and Bumble Thickening Dryspun Volume Texture Spray ($15, sephora.com) is an affordable pick that reviewers on Sephora love.
Add Bobby Pins
Alvarez says adding bobby pins underneath the base of your ponytail can add some extra lift. "Crisscross two bobby-pins on the underside of the base of your pony to give the illusion of a fuller and perkier pony," she says.
Apply Mousse Before Your Blowout
"Applying mousse to your hair before a blowout will give you a bouncy, voluminous pony," says Alvarez. She recommends the Biolage Whipped Volume Mousse ($19, ulta.com) for its lightweight creamy texture that gives bouncier and more voluminous-looking hair with a medium hold that doesn't make the hair feel crunchy. "It may sound counterintuitive, but it does make a difference."
Get a Ponytail Holder.
You might have seen commercials for ponytail holders, like Pony-O ($16, amazon.com), and if you've ever considered getting one yourself, consider this your sign. "Pony-O is a great way to keep your pony looking full and perky," says Alvarez.
To use, feed your hair through the PONY-O once and press each end with your thumbs until it feels secure. It takes the place of a hair scrunchie, so it isn't meant to be disguised, but it does come in different colors for different hair types and adds major lift.
Try a Ponytail Wrap.
"I always recommend my #snatched girls invest in a great quality ponytail wrap that adds length, body, and volume from root to tip," says Liu. A ponytail wrap is a clip-in extension that wraps around the base of your ponytail to help add length, volume, and fullness and can last up to two years with proper care. The brand Insert Name Here has a ton of ponytail extensions in different hair colors and textures.
Liu loves the Luxy Hair Clip-In Ponytail Extensions ($160, luxyhair.com), which range in hair color and come in two lengths — 16 inches and 20 inches.
"You can always cut your ponytails to customize them to your hair length and style as you desire with hot tools," he says. "One thing to note for new ponytail wrap users is to make sure to secure your hair tie as tight as possible, as the weight of the ponytail wrap will loosen your hair tie and create a floppy, saggy ponytail."
If you don't want to invest in ponytail wraps or if you already have traditional clip-in extensions at home, those can also help fill out your ponytail. "A little trick I like to do is add in clip-in extensions before pulling the hair into a pony," says Alvarez. "This will fill out the ends in a natural-looking way."
Make Sure Your Ponytail Is Secure
One often overlooked step in helping your hair look more va-va-voom is making sure your ponytail is tight.
"Having a secure and firm ponytail hair tie is key, so the pony doesn't become loose, limp, floppy, and undone while you're wearing the look," says Liu. "I developed and designed the Útiles Beauty "The Hairtie" ($15, utilesbeauty.com) with this in mind."
When your ponytail is secure, it lifts the updo and allows you to add more volume to the base to offer the appearance of fuller, thicker-looking hair. Liu says the security of your hair tie can make all the difference in having a lifted ponytail that stays all day long.