Here's What Happens When 3 Editors Try the Beyoncé Ponytail IRL


Beyonce on the red carpet
(Image credit: Getty)

If Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé's "Feeling Myself" were personified in a hairstyle, it would be the higher-than-the-heavens ponytail that Queen Bey rocked at the Met Gala earlier this year. It was a last-minute stroke of genius on her part: With five minutes to spare before the event, she asked her hairstylist to ditch the chignon they'd created and do a high pony instead—inside an elevator of all placesLittle did she know (or maybe she did, because she's Beyoncé) she was casually inspiring a generation of young women to reach, literally, new heights.

This notion was all but confirmed last month, when I—along with18,000 others—watched Bey perform, donning the very same pony, alongside Nicki at the Tidal X: 1020 concert. Seeing Bey whip that hair made me flat-out jealous. That was it. It was decided. I had to steal some of this confidence for myself.

Beyonce dancing and singing

(Image credit: MarieClaire)

Naturally I made two of my colleagues try it with me, with each of us channeling our inner-Bey differently. The results? Feeling. Our. Selves.—but only before the headaches set in. More on that below.

Woman talking on the phone

(Image credit: Ben Ritter)

"This ponytail is out of control. All I wanted to do while wearing it was whip my hair back and forth while blasting a Best of Bey soundtrack. BUT it was so tight that it hurt whenever I smiled or laughed—and I had a headache after about 20 minutes, so I'm amazed that she can wear this style *for hours*. (#Queen.) I chose to wear a pink power suit because Beyoncé's not just a business woman, she's a business, woman."

Woman with a ponytail

(Image credit: Ben Ritter)

Woman holding a cup of coffee, wearing her hair in a ponytail

(Image credit: Ben Ritter)

"Let's get real: Beyoncé can pull of pretty much anything, so a ridiculously high, tight ponytail isn't out of the question for her. But for me? It felt more like I was channeling a grown up Punky Brewster who traded in her pigtails for a single ponytail and was like I'm an adult now, guyssssss. It felt like playing dress up (which I guess we kind of were?) because wearing hair like this IRL is a *look.* You have to own it.

For the outfit, I decided to go as chill Bey/bae—a Bulls shirt (#GoBulls) and pencil skirt is like the easiest thing to throw on. Side note: My fashion philosophy is that anything with a pencil skirt means it's automatically work attire. Obviously, that doesn't hold true for everyone, but eh, I get to dress up like celebrities for a living so it works."

Woman in and office wearing a ponytail

(Image credit: Ben Ritter)

"I may or may not be addicted to this ponytail. To me, it marries the of-the-moment slick back with the embarrassing-at-the-time, but-cool-in-retrospect looks our moms used to style us in. Plus, the inevitable swing of the pony makes every step feel extra deliberate—like having a perma-strut.

In terms of styling, I wanted to match the styles fierceness while still staying work appropriate, so I channeled Bey's spirit decade, the '70s, with a bell-sleeved floral romper, opaque tights, and Stuart Weitzman's ALLLEGS Noirstretch over-the-knee boots because have you seen her stems? 

Woman looking in the mirror holding her ponytail

(Image credit: Ben Ritter)

Alas, as confident as I felt, I couldn't ignore the ruthless, headache-inducing strain on my hairline. And knowing that longterm effects of a Croydon facelift like 'do, I didn't want to keep it in for more than a few hours. I shudder to think how Bey was able to rock it for 48, but also #goals."

Woman showing the steps of doing a Beyonce ponytail

(Image credit: Ben Ritter)

Step 1) After smoothing out your hair with a flat iron and brushing it back into a bump-free high pony that's only *slightly* off center, tie it ultra-tight with a hair bungee. Then, wrap small pieces of hair around the base to hide it, securing the strands in place with hidden bobby pins.

Step 2) Use a 1-inch barrel curling iron to curl large sections of the hair, then gently brush them out for softer waves as opposed to sausage curls. Be sure to tease the base of the pony for amped-up volume, then mist the ponytail with hairspray to keep the curls in tact 

Step 3) Voilà! You're ready to whip it like Bey.

Photography by Ben Ritter; makeup by Laramie, makeup artist and founder of Book Your Look; hair by Kat Zemtsova.

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Lauren Valenti
Beauty Editor

Lauren is the former beauty editor at Marie Claire. She love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. She firmly believes that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.