Friday, September 22, 2023
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How to Get a Power Pony

I know what you’re thinking. Ponytail ? What am I, 12? But we’re not talking pulling our hair up for a HIIT class or rocking a skin-care routine. These ponytails have a

purpose : a high-swing, high-shine braid with roots in high fashion. (Watch less Disney Channel and more Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour.) Ponytails have graced all kinds of glamor these days, from runway stars like Irina Shayk at Mugler’s fall show to Alexander McQueen’s Jill Kortleve (who also left Hip-length ponytail) the way she graced the April cover of British Vogue Vogue. Add in the red-carpet looks of Florence Pugh and Rihanna, and the ubiquity of street style (looking at you, Bella Hadid), and you’ve got a recipe for a real mane moment.

I can promise. I attended the pre-Oscars party in Los Angeles this spring, and I can’t remember how tight the ponytails were on the faces of the attendees. And those faces! Prominent cheekbones aren’t all about clever contouring or ozone abuse. “You know,” says a visibly tense friend, throwing a lock of her own hair over her shoulder, “a tight pony in the right hand is like a facelift with no downtime – like the old screen Idols and drag queens used to tape it up.” (Not without reason, there’s even a plastic surgery that uses absorbable strands called a “ponytail lift.”) It’s all enough for a girl to grab Her hair was yanked.

This is a relatively new impulse for me: the advent of the ponytail in my life marked teenage independence from the lacy-collared cover-ups my sister and I used to wear A matching bob with skirt and opaque white bodysuit (very cute indeed). Once I was allowed to grow my hair long, I pulled it back and forgot about it all. On a broader historical scale, the exact origins of the ponytail are a bit murky. Some hair historians point to ancient Greece as the origin of this hairstyle, but it’s easy to believe that any Homo erectus with long hair probably wanted to stop them somehow.

Stylist Cyndia Harvey said ponies “always have a modern feel to them when done well”. She’s a self-proclaimed “hair engineer” and created these funky icons for Mugler. “The ponytail is a look that’s sexy, regal, and of course, powerful,” she says, but it can also quickly add a “hard, boyish, masculine, or youthful, effortless, breezy element.” Depends on angle and position. For example, if you’re going for a minimalist look, Harvey recommends trying a low, sleek pony. For the full Mugler ‘snatch’ effect, prep your scalp with Fortifying Roots Serum, then follow with the best product for your texture (spray, gel, etc.), then blow dry, lift, smooth and set. short hair? Try extending your hair, as Harvey and Hunter Schafer did for Mugler’s new Angel Elixir fragrance campaign.

Stylist Teddi Cranford says an expensive-looking ponytail is one of her go-tos when she’s a cool girl like Behati Prinsloo Clients are looking for looks that will turn heads. I want to turn heads too, I want to lift too – hair, spirit and face! For my friend’s engagement party, I ditched my regular long, loose look for a thick, full ponytail. I follow Cranford’s advice for a decadent at-home blowout, wash my hair with a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, then blow dry it with a large round brush, make sure the roots are straight and thick, and smooth everything out and tie it up.

“It’s all about the base,” says Cranford, “taking care of your hairline, covering the elastic, and finding the right fit for your face.” Ultimately The effects are complex and a bit more serious than I expected. Does my hair feel like an extra accessory, adding calm, movement, and—dare I say—a youthful vibrancy in its sway? Flying high (and tight) proved to be fine for me.



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