7 Tips On How To Do The Perfect Messy Ponytail

There are some days when I really want to put time into my hair to give it a sleek, smooth, silky look. Then there are days when my hair looks and feels dirty, and I don’t have time/or am feeling too lazy to wash it, so all I want to do is pull it back and make it look acceptable in some way. On those days, I usually opt for my go-to messy look: the perfect messy ponytail. 

To be honest with you guys, it took me longer than I’d like to figure out the formula for the perfect messy ponytail, which yes, I realize is an oxymoron. I spent a lot of time looking at pictures of girls on Pinterest and feeling envious of the volume at the crown of their head and the little bump that brought their ponytail from boring to interesting. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s all true.

But I think I found it! My go-to messy ponytail look relies on the popular of “effortless” bedhead chic that is anything but effortless. Well, okay, it’s actually not hard once you have it down and really does become effortless. And people are into it! I figured this out after getting a few compliments, even though at first I was pretty shocked. Want to do this on your hair? Follow the steps below for what might be the easiest hair tutorial ever on how to get a perfect messy ponytail: 

Start With Dirty Hair

You can't do a successful messy ponytail with clean hair. You just can't. A good messy ponytail requires texture and a little bit of grit. You can give yourself this with the right hair products, but I've done it, and it's always better when my hair is ACTUALLY dirty. When it's dirty, it holds better and creates more volume and texture. Here I am, after four days of not washing my hair, feeling kind of gross about it, although I don't know why because it actually looks good.

Use Dry Shampoo For Volume

You might think that your dirty hair will supply the volume, but chances are, it won't give you enough of it. A powder-based dry shampoo like this one from Blow Pro is my favorite option. It gives hair tons of volume and helps it stay where you want it to go. I out this through my roots, then massaged it in there.

Tease Your Hair At The Crown

Have you guys figured out that volume is key yet? Because it is. Dry shampoo gives volume, and that combined with dirty hair makes the perfect situation for teasing. Lightly tease your hair at the crown of your head for a nice little poof.

This poof back there is essential for a messy ponytail. Sleek ponytails are about slicked back hair that has no lines or dents. Messy ponytails are about volume that looks good.

(I'm sorry I don't have a picture of myself teasing my hair. I forgot.)

Keep A Short Middle Part

Part of the messy ponytail look is to have pieces falling out. This is harder to achieve when hair is pulled back. Pulling hair back often gives it a less messy feel. I've found that an inch or two of a middle part creates a huge difference.

So, after or before teasing, part your hair in the middle and leave it there for an inch or two before pulling the rest back.

Wrap Your Hair Around The Band

Once you've teased the hair and created the small middle part, it's time to put it in a ponytail. Keep the ponytail in the almost perfect center of the back of your head. Putting it too high will look very cutesy. A low ponytail works, but definitely gives it a different vibe.

Now secure in place with an elastic. I use Invisibobble, which is a truly amazing hair tie that will change your life. I love the Invisibobble because it holds even when I don't want anything too tight.

You can leave out a bit of hair to wrap around the base, or you can just pull it from the bottom part of the ponytail - I've done either. Wrap it around the band until the band is no longer visible, then use a bobby pin to clip the ends down. Then tighten your ponytail from the bottom part of the ponytail, closet to your neck. Tightening it there rather than on top creates instant volume and lifts the ponytail. That combined with the hair covering the band gives the look of a "bump."

Pull Some Pieces Out In The Front

Like I said before, part of a messy ponytail is having little pieces falling out. Everything can't be perfectly in place, or it's not messy! I like to pull out two pieces that frame my face, and then use my fingers to muss up my roots. I leave it alone, and then whatever comes out during the day, I leave it.

Keep It Loose

You never want your messy ponytail to be too tight. It should look and feel a little loose. This is why I love the Invisibobble - it lets it look and feel loose while still holding. You need a good elastic in order for this to happen. You can tighten the ponytail from the bottom throughout the day, especially when you need a volume boost, but don't pull anything tightly.

Leave It Alone!

You're done! Your ponytail is messy and mussed up. It looks like you just rolled out of bed after doing something fun and didn't have time to do anything with your hair because you're naturally glamorous. Cool! Now leave your ponytail alone. Like I said, you can tighten it from the bottom once in a while, but in general, let it be. It will get a little more messy as the hours go by, and that's the point.

Do you know how to do a perfect messy ponytail? Did you find this helpful? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Jessica Booth, on Twitter or Instagram.


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