Side ponytails 101: Learn how to master this mane essential

From styling inspiration to step-by step tutorials, here's how to work a modern side ponytail

Blonde model with side ponytail hairstyle



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Okay, so you’re a pro at creating both the side plait and messy ponytail, but what now? Well, if you’re eager to switch up these hairstyle staples, the next logical look to try is, of course, the side ponytail.

This often underrated ‘do has been spotted on the Chanel and Prada runways, giving it a very fashionable seal of approval. Worn low at the nape of the neck or higher up in a nod to the ’80s, a side ponytail can be easily adapted to suit any outfit or occasion. Still not convinced? Well, not only is this look one of the most versatile hairstyles to covet, it’s also one of the easiest to master!

Now that we’ve got your attention, you’re probably wondering what the steps are to creating a sleek side ponytail? Luckily for you, ATH has complied a foolproof guide to help you get the hang of things. From braided showstoppers to a simple, no-fuss finish, we’ve got all your how-to questions covered. The only thing you have to worry about is which side to wear your side ponytail on!

Scroll down to learn how to create and style a side ponytail


Blonde model with a side ponytail looking down
Always wanted to rock a side ponytail? Now’s your chance! Credit: Verity Jane Smith

If you’re addicted to ponytails, you need to give this sleek update a try! Perfect for the office, swanky cocktails and everything in-between, a polished side ponytail works for any occasion.

Look 1: The no-fuss side ponytail


Brush your hair.

Start by brushing through your strands to remove any knots and tangles.

Side ponytail tutorial: Blonde young woman with mid-long hair

Choose a side.

Now for the fun part: choose what side you want your pony to be on and gather your hair.

Side ponytail tutorial: Blonde young woman with mid-long hair gather it to one side

Secure your hair.

Once you have gathered all of your hair near the nape of your neck, secure your side ponytail with a hairband

Blonde model using a hairband to secure her side ponytail

Hide your hairband.

Take a small section of hair from your ponytail and wrap it around the base of your ponytail to hide your hairband. Then secure the hair discreetly with a hair pin.

Side ponytail tutorial: Blonde young woman with mid-long hair hiding her hairband

Finish with hairspray.

Finally, finish off with the look another spritz of the VO5 Ultimate Hold Hairspray to set the look. And there you have it: a sleek side pony that’s fit for the catwalk. Easy-peasy, eh?

Blonde model with a side ponytail


Want more volume? Create a wavy side ponytail in 6 easy steps


side ponytail: All Things Hair - IMAGE - wavy side ponytail christmas party hairstyles
Wavy side ponytail. Credit: Verity Jane Smith

Always thought that side ponytails were boring? Well, think again. We’ve given the classic look a huge volume boost with loose waves, plus, we’ve added a party-perfect finish – a fun hair accessory.

So, if you want to sport this cute ‘do for your next festival or date, then grab your mirror and get to grips with this simple hairstyle…

How to get the look:

1. Start by brushing through your strands to remove any knots and tangles.

2. Now gather your hair into a high, side ponytail and secure it with a hairband. Then take a bow of your choosing and tie it around the base of your ponytail.

3. Next, spray the end of your pony with the TRESemmé Heat Defence Styling Sprayto help protect it from any heat damage that may occur when curling your hair.

4. Working on 2-inch wide sections of hair at a time, wrap your strands around a curling wand, holding them in place until your hair has fully curled. Do this with the rest of your ponytail, ensuring that you curl all your hair in the same direction.

5. After your curls have cooled, gently brush them using your fingers to make them appear more natural.

6. Finally, spray some VO5 Ultimate Hold Hairspray  over your ponytail to help keep your curls in place, and gently spritz some over the top of your head to smooth down any pesky flyaways. It’s as simple as that!

Okay, so now that you’ve learnt how to create 2 amazing side ponytail hairstyles, you’re ready to take the look to the next level. Need some #sideponyinspo? See the updates we’re obsessing over, below.


Mastered the look? Here’s 3 showstopping side ponytail hairstyles you should try next


bride with messy side ponytail hairstyle and wedding dress
Nothing messy about this perfect ‘do! Credit:

1. The undone side ponytail

When you start getting bored of your sleek and wavy ponytail looks, going down the messier, woke-up-like-this route is the easiest way to refresh your hairstyle. Need proof? Just take a look at the windswept ponytail above.

This sexy, undone ‘do will allow you to stylishly channel those bed head vibes, all in a matter of minutes. Sign us up! Credit: @brides_by_vanessa_jane

ellepearls with side braided ponytail hairstyle wearing floral dress
Love a pretty plait? Then this side braided ponytail is just for you!

2. The Side braided ponytail

When you mix braids and ponytails together, you get the coolest, budge-proof hairstyle ever, the side braided ponytail. Worn loose over your shoulder or plaited tightly all the way down, this style is as romantic as it is chic.

Whether you opt for a fishtail, crown or pull-through braid, you’ll have a gorgeously-simple hairstyle that’s ready for anything. Credit: @ellepearls

model with side bubble ponytail hairstyle holding flowers
Make the most of those hairbands with the bubble side ponytail. Credit:

3. The accessoried side bubble ponytail

If styling isn’t exactly your forte, hair accessories are a great way for you to fend off bad hair days. Our first choice? Pimping out our ponytails with a few hairbands, for a playful, bubble effect.

This pretty and practical look is every romance lovers dream, making it the perfect go-to for weddings or even fancy summer garden partiesOh la la! Credit: @_happymane

Now that you’re a total pro at creating all these side ponytail looks, we bet your lusting after even more sleek and stylish updos, right? We thought as much, which is why we’ve packed our Updos page with loads of easy-peasy tutorials and styling ideas for you to try.

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