8 Different Ways to Tie Back a Pony Tail

A side-view of a woman with her brunette hair up in a ponytail.

Ponytails are like the little black dress of the hair world. With the right accessories, you can wear it anywhere. It’s perfect for being active and keeping your hair off your shoulders and out of your face.

It’s great for those days when you just need to run to the store in your sweatpants. It can look absolutely stunning for a night on the town. It’s so versatile, with so many different looks and effects.

There is also a multitude of ways to tie your ponytail. You can go with simple elastics or elaborate barrettes. You can even use your own hair to create a uniquely elegant look or let your favorite scarf do double duty. How many ways can you tie a ponytail? At least 8.

The Usual Suspects

These are the items that come to mind when you think of ponytail holders. Everyone has them. Elastics, scrunchies, and no crease hair ties are a must-have accessory for every woman.

1. Elastics

A set of colorful elastic hair ties.

Elastics are best for short hair. Small elastic bands will hold short hair in place. They are also great for making pigtails. Standard size elastics work the best for fine hair. Be sure to get elastics without the metal piece. It’s rough on your hair, and fine hair is already prone to breakage. Goody’s makes ouchless elastics for fine and medium hair.

Best elastics: Goody’s ouchless 2mm: For fine hair Goody’s ouchless 4mm: For medium hair Revlon extra thick: Perfect for ethnic, curly, or thick hair

2. No Crease

Three colorful spiral hair ties.

No crease hair ties offer a few advantages. They are gentler on your hair. They also look much cuter around your wrist than an elastic. Have you ever slipped an elastic on your wrist for safekeeping only to notice that it had made an uncomfortable impression on your skin? Hair ties end up on our wrists as often as purses end up on our shoulders. It’s convenient. It’s a habit. Why not look cute and comfortable when you do it?

Most no crease hair ties are made of nylon or ribbon. Upscale versions made of silk will give your ponytail an extra touch of class. Best of all, you can take your hair down without the ponytail crease. We’ve all been there, right? He smiles at you.

You smile at him. You attempt to take your hair down in one graceful motion like they do in the movies. You shake it out and are left with an unattractive crease around your head. Don’t be that girl. Get some no crease elastics.

3. Scrunchies

A close look at a purple scrunchy with adornments.

There are so many ways to use a scrunchie to tie back a ponytail. For a dramatic look that calls attention to the scrunchie, wear it with a high ponytail. For a casual look, wear a loose-fitting scrunchie with a messy low ponytail.

If you prefer somewhere in the middle, a mid-height ponytail will do the trick. You can also use multiple scrunchies to tie back a ponytail. While you can create a lot of segments with elastic style hair ties, it’s usually best to stick to two or three with scrunchies.

Scrunchies are easy on your hair and won’t leave a crease. They look so great on your wrist you can actually intentionally use them as a fashion accessory. They are often a little looser than elastics, so if you are aiming for a super tight ponytail, you may need to use an elastic then place the scrunchie over it.

For most styles and hair types, a scrunchie is all you need. If you have thin or fine hair, you’ll need a smaller scrunchie. Thick, curly, or ethnic hair works better with a larger scrunchie.

Scrunchies are typically made from cotton, silk, or velvet. Which you choose is more about style than function. Just be sure it has the right amount of stretch for your hair and purpose. Some are designed strictly to look beautiful, with very little stretch or hold, and others provide a firm hold.

Most loved scrunchies:

Other Hair Accessories

Standard ponytail holders certainly have their place, but there are so many other ways to tie back a ponytail. You can keep your style fun, unique, or elegant by incorporating a few of these options in your hair accessory collection.

Best hair accessories:

  • Ponytail barrettes
  • Round claw clips
  • Spiral hair ties
  • Scarves and bandanas
  • bows

4. Ponytail Barrettes

A close look at a ponytail barrette with a bow.

Ponytail barrettes come in a few styles. A rounded leather barrette with a stick that goes through the bottom is a classic option that will never go out of style. You can also opt for French ponytail style barrettes. These are akin to a traditional barrette, but they are rounded so they fit your ponytail. The third option is a ponytail elastic with a barrette attached.

Just gather your hair into a ponytail, place the barrette on, and slide the stick through or clip the barrette. It will hold your hair in place and reflect the style you are looking for. They are available in everything from very simple neutral colors to crystal-studded, making them an excellent choice for casual and formal styles.

Best ponytail barrettes:

5. Round Clips

A look at a set of colorful plastic round clips.

These are simply beautiful. They have attractive designs that bring attention to the barrette, without being garish. They provide a timeless style that works well for night or day and add femininity to your look. They look great with a low ponytail. For extra flair, use them with a high ponytail. If you want to take your ponytail to the next level, these are a great way to do so.

  • Polytree: Feminine lace design with inner teeth to provide extra hold, great for fine or thin hair
  • Phaeton: Rhinestone hair cuff. Adjustable and adds sparkle to your day
  • Bella Round Jaw Clip: Big enough to make a statement, perfect for thick hair

6. Spiral Hair Ties

A blue plastic spiral hair tie. Spiral hair ties are another great option for tieing your ponytail without damage. These ponytail ties are reminiscent of an old school phone cord. How does that work in your hair? I don’t quite understand the physics of how tie works without tangling in your hair, but it certainly does.

They are great for all types of hair and all lengths long enough for a ponytail. They won’t tangle your hair, and they provide great hold all day without giving you a headache.

They are excellent for summertime activities that get your hair wet. They are plastic, so they aren’t affected by water. Their design also means they won’t damage your hair, even in its more fragile wet state.

The most interesting aspect is its durability. Many hair ties stretch over time. Your favorite scrunchie may eventually reach the end of its usefulness because it’s no longer tight enough to hold your hair in place. With spiral hair ties, you just add heat.

A quick blow-dry and it goes back to its original shape and tightness. They also provide a more subtle fashion statement than many of our other options, especially the clear ones. You can wear your hair up all day, then take it down for date night without the dreaded hair crease, and it will stay put for a long period of time.

Spiral Hair Tie Picks:

  • Invisibobble: Multiple colors, fine or medium and thick hair options
  • Kitsch: Bestseller, great for all hair types
  • Spiral Phone Cord: Colorful with a pearlescent shine for the young at heart

7. Scarves and Bandanas

A woman wearing a bandana hair tie.

Scarves and bandannas are a great way to tie your ponytail. It can take a standard ponytail and make it look unique and fashionable. This idea never goes out of style. The type of scarf you choose will depend on the look you are going for.

  • For a retro look, choose a retro print, and tie it into a bow or let it hang down on the side
  • Â You can look elegant with a solid silk scarf tied with the ends hanging down.
  • For a feminine or boho look, create a loose ponytail, and choose a bright or tie-dye print.
  • Go country with a paisley bandana
  • Look rocker chic with a bandana from your favorite music artist or band

Using a scarf or bandana to tie a ponytail is fairly simple. First, you’ll need an elastic or another standard ponytail holder. Create your ponytail. Then you’ll fold your scarf. If it’s a square shape, start by folding it into a triangle.

Then keep folding the edges in until you have a strip one to two inches wide. Wrap it around your ponytail and tie it with a single knot. If you have difficulty with things staying put in your hair, like me, use a few bobby pins to secure it. Simple and awesome.

If you want to get even simpler, you can “cheat”. You can purchase elastics with a scarf piece already on them. This is a great way to create a look with no extra effort at all, and it still looks cute. The elastic in this type is covered by the material, so it’s essentially a scrunchie with ends that hang down. Just like a scrunchie, it won’t damage your hair.

Best Hair Scarves:

8. Ponytail Bows

A woman wearing a bow hair tie.

Ponytail bows are pretty, and they aren’t just for girls anymore. The right bow will have you looking chic, and add extra pizzaz to your look. There are a few ways to get the look.

You can put your hair into a ponytail and then tie a ribbon around it in a bow. You can put it in a ponytail and use a bow hair barrette right above the elastic, or you can use a bow barrette to make the ponytail itself.

If you really want to stand out, you can use a ribbon to make a not quite ponytail. Wrap it around your neck like a choker, but instead of putting it under your hair, place it over your hair. This creates a unique mature look with a little edge. Perfect for a night out on the town.

If you want to keep it simple, you can get an elastic with a bow on it. This is a no-fail way to look great fast. Perfect for busy women who don’t want to sacrifice style for convenience.

Best Ponytail Bows:

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