Did you know that the ponytail has been around since ancient Greece? Perhaps even earlier! This classic and beloved hairstyle has been a staple for long-haired men and women alike for centuries.
Since then, many different types of ponytails have come about. The ponytail evolved from the same simple styles to more complicated aesthetic looks. The ponytail essentially went from just a functional style to a functional and fashionable look.
If you have long hair, you know how frustrating it can be to have your hair fall in your face, and you’ve probably often fallen back on the ponytail to keep your locks out of your eyes! So if you’re looking for more ponytail ideas and to learn more about the history of the ponytail, read on!
The History of the Ponytail
The first instances of the ponytail were in works of art from Greece, Rome, and even Egypt. These artworks date back to 1600 BCE. Because there is no clear ponytail origin story, the ponytail could be older than this, but ancient Greece is generally viewed as the source of the ponytail.
Both men and women wore ponytails, as both commonly had long hair.
In the 17th century, the male warriors of the Manchu, in Northeast China, used the ponytail every day. They even shaved the sides of the head and had high ponytails from the top of their heads. The Manchu people spread the ponytail around China as they conquered more land.
During these times, those who refused to wear the Manchu ponytail faced execution!
In France in the 18th century, a low ponytail was required for all soldiers. These were known as “queues” and were tied back with blue ribbons. Queues were common around Europe, as the British army also wore a similar style.
In the roaring 20s, the bob reigned supreme and hair was too short for ponytails. The ponytail was dormant until the 50s when it became the hairstyle for the “girl next door.”
Bridgette Bardot in the 60s popularized the ponytail after this, making it the hairstyle of a sophisticated woman, not just a casual girl. The ponytail remained present for the 70s and 80s and then exploded in the 90s when Maddona wore a high ponytail during her tours. At this point, the ponytail became synonymous with female empowerment.
We’re currently at the peak of the ponytail era. The ponytail symbolizes a working woman with no time to deal with hair in her face. Beyonce, the Kardashians, and Ariana have all worn iconic ponytails that have added to the style’s popularity.
What Are the Different Types of Ponytails?
Now that you know a little bit more about the evolution of the ponytail, you know about some of the styles that have been with us for centuries. The low pony, the high pony, the casual pony, and more have been beloved for many years:
The High Ponytail
This one’s a classic, not thanks to its invention with the Manchu people, but thanks to pop star Ariana Grande! Ariana Grande is well known for her iconic ponytail. It’s so iconic, it’s been featured in comedy sketches, Givenchy ads, and even memes.
Even though Ariana has ditched her ponytail citing the fact that it caused pain from pulling her hair so tightly every day, the look is still stylish and elegant.
To accomplish this look at home, it just takes a bit of patience to tease the hair all the way up. There are lots of guides for how to style hair on YouTube, which will take you through the process step by step. In addition, we have a few hairstyle tips for this look.
It’s recommended that you do this look on hair that’s unwashed, which will make it easier to style. You can also use a touch of hairspray or dry shampoo.
You can also invest in silk scrunchies, which will give you a good hold on your hair without the pain that caused Ariana to ditch her look!
The Side-Parted Ponytail
Many people brush their hair all the way back when they do a ponytail, resulting in no part at all. This can provide a sleek, elegant ponytail. Furthermore, it’s easy to tease up for a ponytail with lots of volume.
Other people feature a center part and a low ponytail, creating a polished look.
One of the most underrated kinds of ponytails is the side-parted ponytail. You can part on either side and smooth the hair down to a low or high ponytail. The asymmetry creates a bit more visual interest.
The Twisted Ponytail
This look was taken from Mindy Kaling at Sundance. She features a classic low ponytail with a twist. Literally.
The hair is parted down the middle, and one side is brushed to the back of the neck.
The other side is twisted. This can be done by grabbing a small front section and twisting it once, then adding more hair and twisting it again. Think of it as a French braid, but twisting instead of braiding.
Repeat until it meets the back section and tie them all together for a low ponytail. This is one of the best ponytail options for a lazy day when you still want to look put together.
The Accessorized Ponytail
No matter how you style your hair, you can jazz up all types of ponytails with some accessories.
As mentioned, scrunchies are back in style! Hailey Bieber even wore one of these at the Met Gala, bringing the classic 80s and 90s style to the high fashion runway. Of course, the look works with sweatpants too.
You can also consider large bows, which harken back to the “girl next door” and school girl ponytail days.
Try Some New Ponytail Styles Today
Hopefully, this article will have given you some ideas for your next ponytail style. The ponytail is versatile and functional while remaining fashion-forward. If you’re looking to spice up your look, try a few different types of ponytails for yourself.
If you enjoyed reading about the history of ponytails, you’re sure to enjoy our other articles, so check out our blog for more!