How to Create a Messy Ponytail in 2 Ways

All Things Hair | 11 September 2018
messy ponytail tutorial: get the look

How to rock this perfectly undone updo.

We feel that your go-to, foolproof hairstyle is best seen during those in-between days. You know: those times you’re too busy with the stuff of life—errands, spin class, avocado shopping, en route to the airport, your sister’s last-minute promotion party—are when you immediately go on fashion autopilot and bring out your fail-safes. For us, messy ponytail hairdos are our black leggings and LBDs of beauty. The last word in casual chic, they always deliver, and for something quite simple, are surprisingly never boring.

To help you create a messy ‘do that’s all your own, we are sharing two ways to rock the messy look, including mussed up hairstyles that were inspired from the Rag & Bone and Jonathan Simkhai shows in NYC. Read on to learn more about how to master this classic hairstyle for this ultimate in effortless beauty!

2 Ways to Create a Messy Ponytail

Look 1: How to Create Casual-Chic, Messy Ponytail Hairdos

messy ponytail hairdos step 1 clean hair middle part

Start with clean, middle-parted hair.

Rinse and blow-dry your hair until it is 90% dry, or until just damp. Create a middle part.

messy ponytail hairdos step 2 texturize


Spritz on some sea-salt texturizer like Suave Professionals Texturizing Sea Salt Spray on the lengths to add a bit of a casual-gritty look and feel. Make sure the strands are somewhat evenly coated, and don’t be afraid to zhuzh here and there for added texture.

messy ponytail hairdos step 3 rattail section off

Section off the back.

Using a rat-tail or fishtail comb, create a horizontal part line across your head, separating the two front sections from the crown.

messy ponytail hairdos step 4 twirl

Twist the crown section.

Using your fingers, create a twist on the strands at the crown area.

messy ponytail hairdos step 5 half bun

Secure in a bun.

Coil the twist around itself on your crown and secure the bun with a small clamp.

messy ponytail hairdos step 6

Brush out the remaining hair.

Smoothen out the front sections with a brush, removing any tangles or knots.

messy ponytail hairdos step 7 texturize front

Grit up the front.

Give a slightly rougher, tougher feel to the front sections with a texturizing balm like Bed Head by TIGI Joyride Texturizing Powder Balm.

messy ponytail hairdos step 6 gather into pony

Gather hair into a temporary low pony.

Gather all the strands into a ponytail at your nape and secure with a hair tie or a clamp. This is temporary; you’ll need your hair away from your face while you work the hair on your crown.

messy ponytail hairdos step 9 bodifying spray

Create some volume.

Impart some grit into your crown by spritzing on a volumizing spray such as Catwalk by TIGI Bodifying Spray or TRESemmé 24 Hour Body Foaming Mousse.

messy ponytail hairdos step 10 tease

Tease the hair at your crown.

To create a mini-bouffant or pouf, backcomb the hair after spraying with a small natural-bristled teasing brush. Be gentle!

best red hair color complements hawk hair pony

Loop hair around into a ponytail.

Once you’ve got your pouf, release your temporary clip and gather all your hair back into an actual ponytail, using a hair tie or fabric-covered elastic. Grab one small section from the side and loop it over the ponytail base.

messy ponytail hairdos step 12 cover

Twirl hair around the pony base.

Conceal the base of the ponytail (and your hair tie) with this lock of hair. Secure with bobby pins.

messy ponytail hairdos step 13 final


You’re all done and ready for the day!

Look 2: How to Create A NYFW-Inspired Messy Ponytail

model getting hair styled into a messy ponytail backstage at nyfw
When creating your messy ponytail, keep your base smooth with a boar bristle brush. Photo credit: Suzanne Cohen Photography

Step 1: Start clean or refresh with dry shampoo.

To begin your look, refresh your hair with TRESemmé Fresh Start Basic Care Dry Shampoo to soak up any excess oil. While this particular style is best on second-day or lived-in hair, you can absolutely create the messy ponytail on freshly washed hair.


Step 2: Rough-dry with blowdryer.

The rough-dry technique helps build texture in your hair while you blow-dry. To do this step, simply prep hair with TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spraythen use your hands to roughly comb through your hair as you dry. Pro tip: Use a medium to low temperature setting to avoid burning your hands.

creating messy ponytail hairstyle on her hair
Gather your pony as high as you want.

Step 3: Create ponytail.

Gather hair into a messy ponytail as you think of it as an undone look. Secure with a hair tie.

young woman with teased hairstyle on platinum blonde hair
Go crazy with the teasing or keep it simple. Photo credit: Suzanne Cohen Photography

Step 4: Enhance hair texture by backcombing.

Using a fine-tooth comb, backcomb the ends of your hair to enhance texture and create body. Finish your look with a hairspray that gives your messy ponytail hold and lots of movement. We love Dove Style + Care Strength and Shine Flexible Hold Hairspray for the job.


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