Few hairstyles make you feel more confident than a slicked-back ponytail. It's a style that always means business, whether you're looking to emulate that "clean look" that's all over TikTok and Instagram, or just want a hairstyle that's going to add some oomph to your next night-out look. Plus, it'll keep your hair out of your face all day (or night) long, so you won't need to worry about it coming undone as the hours pass. Oh—and they're so easy to do when you're short on time.
So, if you're down to try out the style for yourself in 2023, keep scrolling for some seriously good hair inspiration courtesy of all of your favorite celebrities. Hollywood loves to rock a high pony, clearly, so there are plenty of different iterations to choose from—Gigi Hadid, Serena Williams, and queen Beyoncé all have rocked the style in the past.
And it's not hard to see why—the possibilities are (basically) endless as long as the front part of your hair is, well, slicked back. Case in point: When Hailey Bieber tried the look on the Met Gala red carpet in 2019, she accessorized her slicked-back ponytail with a velvet bow accessory. But, when Ciara tried something similar on the same carpet in 2021, her style gave way to voluminous waves for a slightly more modern approach. Some, like Williams, even have opted to add some fun so-called "bubbles" to their ponytail for added volume. Read on to check out all of the looks, as well as to find out what products you need to achieve a similar look at home.
If you're gonna go for a high ponytail with some real drama, really go there by placing it right at the top of your head like Beyonce did at the Met Gala in 2015. To channel something similar, use a fine-toothed comb to gather your hair at the top of your head and to do away with any unwanted bumps so that your hair looks super smooth from every angle. Finish your look off with lots (and lots) of high-hold hairspray to keep flyaways at bay.
Add Mega Shine
My jaw dropped when I saw Gigi Hadid's super-glossy ponytail at the Met Gala in 2021. That shine! If you too are looking to channel some Hadid-esque ponytail styling, opt for either a shine-inducing cream or a finishing shine spray. You'll be reflecting light in no time.
Add a Fun Accessory
If you're a longtime slicked-back ponytail wearer and are looking to add some spice to your look, try adding a fun accessory like a luxe velvet scrunchie or clip. You'll look like the very grown-up version of Samantha, everyone's favorite posh American Girl Doll—or Hailey Bieber at the Met Gala in 2019.
Add Tons of Tiny Waves and Texture
A slicked-back ponytail with tons of volume and texture is just like a mullet: business in the front, party in the back. You can achieve this in one of two ways—try a clip-in ponytail that has the same look, or curl your hair in tons of tiny ringlets using a thin curling wand. Simply brush out the curls and voila.
Try a Two-Tone Look
Dua Lipa's two-tone pony offers a modern take on the two-toned pony. If you're not willing to go all-in and dye half your hair, you have other options. A hair gloss will give your hair a slight tint, or a clip-in ponytail of a different color will give you a similar look.
Add a Retro Swoop
While I do love a modern iteration on a classic style like the slicked-back pony, Zendaya's retro swoosh is the stuff of hair dreams. Her smooth, side-swept bangs are matched perfectly with bouncy, blown out pony. Use jumbo hot rollers or a trendy blow dryer brush to master your blowout before gathering your hair at the top of your head. Leave out a sectioned-off portion where you wish your bangs were and swoop them to one side using a high-hold pomade.
Try a Half-Up, Half-Down Look
If you're not a fan of the fully-done ponytail. Try a sweet half-up half-down ponytail a la Bella Hadid. A teeny tiny hair tie will make sure that your hair looks extra pulled-back. If you find that your hairline isn't exactly ready to be fully on display, try a root touch-up powder to fake the look. Celebrity hairstylist Chis Appleton prefers the Color WOW Root Cover Up.