There’s something about a slicked-back braided ponytail that alludes to effortless confidence. The sleek hairstyle can provide an instant facelift (keeps the hair out of your face) and looks great whether you’re running errands or heading to an important meeting. “Braided ponytails are trending because they’re chic, low maintenance, and can be easily styled with jeans and a T-shirt or a gown,” says Erinn Courtney, Styleseat hairstylist and natural hair expert.
Different from a regular ponytail, a braided ponytail provides structure to the otherwise free-flowing traditional style. Starting with your hair in a ponytail will also make it easier for new braiders as you’ll have more control when sectioning and plaiting hair. The style is beloved for its versatility, allowing for a quick and easy style when on-the-go or a sleek and elegant style when you need to dress to impress. Not to mention, any hair texture and length can wear the look.
To inspire you to test out the hot girl trend this summer, TZR spoke to three expert hair stylists for the top 11 slicked-back braided ponytail ideas. Some iterations offer a strong clean look, while others will add an extra oomph to your next night out. Read on to learn how to recreate at home and the products to maintain the style.
Extra Long Braided Ponytail
Add extensions to your braided ponytail for the ultimate cool-girl look. To achieve the look, Courtney recommends lining the edges of the hair with your styling product (gel, edge control, or wax) to lay the edges and fly aways down. Next, secure the ponytail with a rubber band or hair tie. Add in braiding hair and then braid the ponytail down. To secure, fasten with a rubber band or hair accessory.
Undercuts are a great trick to release the hair of added weight and provide less daily maintenance time. And an undercut braided ponytail requires minimal styling, equipment, or technique to achieve. Simply grab your favorite styling mouse or gel for extra shine and a good hairspray to keep fly-aways at bay.
Cornrow Accent Braided Ponytail
Slicked-back braided ponytails are also a great protective style for natural hair. Here, the elegant classic is upgraded with a micro-cornrow weaved from the hairline to the pony. It’s a great style to incorporate a simple flair and for anyone who is new to slicked-back braided ponytails. And as a bonus, according to Diane Da Costa, texture expert and author of Textured Tresses, the style can last for two weeks.
Braided Ponytail With Puff
Not ready to fully commit to the trend? You can still dip your toes in by showing off your natural texture in the style. Curly patterns already have great volume and texture and will work to elevate the classic. Simply detangle your kinks, curls, and coils and style it into a high ponytail. Because of the natural bounce in type 3 and 4 curls, the hair will have a tendency to not fall, in the way types 1 and 2 do — creating a fun updo to incorporate into your special events wardrobe.
It’s hard to not gravitate toward the Queen Bey’s style, her hair choices being a main pull. Channel your inner Beyoncé with this butt-length braid for a sexy and confident look great for nights-out. Remember to spritz in some leave-in conditioner or dry shampoo if your hair is too clean or slippery — as it will be easier to achieve the snatched look with some texture to work with. “You can put leave-in conditioner in your hair before putting it in the braid – this way it holds it in place and at the same time gives you a really beautiful snatched cat eye,” shares Priscilla Valles, celebrity extension expert.
Baby Hair Focus
Ponytails and baby hairs will always be the perfect match. Not to mention they are a great and creative tactic to taming hard-to-lay-down flyways. To keep this hairstyle looking its best, be sure to follow up with regular treatments and trims, and spray on a shine spray daily if you plan to wear the style for a couple days.
Classic Slicked-Back Braided Ponytail
The cool thing about the slicked-back braided ponytail is the ability to wear it any length, like this short version of the classic. After braiding down the hair, apply a little pomade to your hands for a braid that is equally sleek and flowy.
Loose Ends Braided Ponytail
To add some texture to the chic style, leave the ends of your braid loose. To get the wavy look, apply mousse to the length of the hair as your braid. By letting it set overnight, or at least a couple hours, you will have loose waves once the ends are unraveled.
More Is Better
While you can keep a slicked-back braided ponytail rather simple and chic, adding accessories will make the look really pop. Think scrunchies, ribbons, bright clips, and bows. This is a great way to spice it up and wear your personality. It really is maximalism at its best.
Go for glamour with this extra long fishtail braided ponytail. Start by gathering the hair at the base of your head and split the section into two halves. Take a thin strand from the left side and pull it across the left side. Next, tuck this same strand under the right section and tug on the two sections to tighten them. Repeat these steps on the right side, altering from left to right. To dress up the look even more, add in some fun hair accessories.
Whether you choose to do a high pony as seen here, or a lower braided ponytail, supersize it with jumbo plaits. This dramatic look is great for any occasion and depending on your hair density, could require extra hair to pull off the jumbo braid. To recreate at home, grab a fine-tooth comb and pull hair to the top of your head. With the comb, get rid of any unwanted bumps to achieve a smooth finish. Top off with extra-hold hairspray to secure the look.
We at TZR only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.