Ponytails Will Always Be The Sleekest Protective Hairstyle

Forever timeless.

ponytail hairstyles

It’s hard to think of a hairstyle more classic than the ponytail. Not only is it easy to achieve, but it’s also customizable and extremely versatile. For many Black women, the look has played a revolving role in their lives. As the ultimate DIY style, it’s remained a staple for special occasions and everyday activities. But beyond their sleek appeal, ponytails for natural hair are an elegant protective look. Much like the beloved slicked-back buns, these ponies offer unique options for naturals. They smooth curls and coils and keep them locked in place for several days.

While a trip to the salon is helpful, you don’t need a professional skill set to achieve these looks. With a few products, tools, and hair extension accessories you can create a salon-quality style at home. Even better? There are lots of tutorials available on Instagram and TikTok. Whether you have an upcoming vacation or a girls' night out that calls for a high asymmetrical look circa Beyonce 2016, there’s sure to be an option you can DIY. However, if you need some inspiration, take a look at the collection below.

Ahead, the top ponytail hairstyle ideas for natural hair. Regardless of your texture, this versatile style provides endless possibilities.

Y2K Tendrils

Special occasions often call for a trip to the salon. While updos have their appeal, a waterfall ponytail can be just as elegant. This look pulls elements from the popular prom hairstyles of the early 2000s. Along with its lush curls, it has two shoulder-length tendrils. Each has just a slight wave and expertly frames the face.

Classic Barbie Ponytail

Despite its recent resurgence (thanks to the summer blockbuster Barbie film), the Barbie pony has been a staple protective hairstyle. The look is created using a unique molding technique and layers of hair weave. Once the natural hair is tightly secured, the extensions are wrapped around to form the tail. Then, the ends are lightly curled to add the signature Barbie flip. This version features an alluring honey color that’s too good to ignore.

Cornrows & Curls

A cornrow-ed pony offers a lot more versatility than you may think. Braiding the hair upwards into a small bun allows you to create many different styles. This look uses loose curls to deliver a voluminous effect. But the braids mean you switch things up for a longer-lasting style. All that’s needed is an assortment of quick ponytail extensions. For a fresh change, try using a straight or long wavy option.

Bubble Ponytail

You may have noticed these interesting ponytails popping up on your FYP. Not only do they have a cool and unique look, but they’re also easy to do. In fact, you probably have all you need to recreate the style. After smoothing your hair into a low pony, add several elastics in descending order to create the effect.

Asymmetrical High Ponytail

Channel your inner Ariana Grande and go for a sleek high ponytail. Luckily, you don’t need an entourage of stylists to master this look. Simply smooth and secure your hair tight on top of your head, then add a luxury ponytail extension. It’s the perfect style for a special occasion or casual date night.


This option uses a simple slicked-back hairstyle as its base — making it easy to DIY. Instead of molding the hair into place, it smoothes your curls into a tight bun. For the best result, opt for a gel with a flexible hold and a soft bristle brush. Then, add a textured extension and fluff for a natural look.

Extra Long Braided Ponytail

A sleek, braided ponytail is always a good vibe. Add to it the ultra-high position, and you’ve got a complete showstopper. The rope-like braid has a luxe appeal and can be worn straight back or draped over the shoulder. To soften the look, add a few baby hair curls that are light and fluffy instead of slicked down.


Not ready to give up your braids? No problem. This blended cornrow style has the styling benefits of individuals and is low maintenance. The stunning braid pattern is also sure to bring more than a few compliments your way.

Curled Barbie Ponytail

Classic Barbie may be all about the flippy ends, but this curled style is just as fun. It features a ‘90s swooped bang and a fluffy curled ponytail. The fuller look also feels a bit more dressed up. If you have a special occasion coming up, consider this a nice option to try.

Tousled Fishtail

When a simple ponytail just won’t do, try this tousled version instead. Fishtail braids can instantly elevate a hairstyle, but this look borrows elements from the bubble pony to create something truly unique. Even the wispy pieces add a romantic feel.