Get Out Of Your Ponytail Rut


There's nothing quite like a 90-degree day to remind you that the hottest location in town is your neck. If you've got shoulder-length or longer hair you know the feeling... hot, sticky, sweaty strands clinging to the back of your neck. And so to get comfy, your best options come down to three. You could 1) cut it all off (a la the Kanye lyric), 2) plop it into a ponytail, or 3) tie it into a bun. And there you have it! Three solutions. Look, we love a messy bun as much as the next David Beckham, and a pony is fine, but surely, there’s got to be something else? Anything...? Bueller...?

Well, hairstylist James Pecis, who's styled more magazine covers than we can count and helms Oribe as its Global Ambassador, has a thought. It’s a little bit like a chignon, except infinitely less fussy and more horizontal than vertical. It feels fresh enough to pull you from the clutches of your ponytail binge, and easy enough to slip into the rotation, until your next wash. What should we call this? Croissant hair? The tootsie? We’re uh...still working on a name. In the meantime, follow along below to learn how to roll.

210520 ITG HairHowTo 314-V2
Right click to enlarge

Step 1: Prep

Some good news for you if you’ve got textured or curly hair: skip this step! Everyone else: stick around. Starting with wet hair, mist a light layer of texture spray all over. James used Très Set Structure Spray from Oribe, which is a heat activated spray-mousse hybrid. Then give yourself a really quick, rough blow dry using a paddle brush. (Seriously, don’t meander here. The whole shebang should take only a few minutes.) Et voilà, you’ve got volume.

Step 2: Define some curls

You’ve got two options if your hair is naturally curly. You can work with your curls as is, and smooth on a dollop of curl defining gel to ward off excess frizz (wrap a few strands around your finger as you get closer to the front of your head). Or, you can join the blowdry group from step one and apply some heat to manipulate your curls for a wavier shape. James used a 1-inch curling iron to create the S-waves seen here, but rest assured, “there’s no shame in using a wand or something like a Beachwaver” if that’s easier for you, he says. Just be sure to give yourself a side part (apologies in advance to Gen Z Tiktok).

Step 3: Apply a grip

If bobby pins never slide down your hair and tend to remain exactly where you stick them, then grab two right now. Gather your hair all on one side, which should be the opposite side of where you’ve drawn your part. Slide the two pins into an “X” shape about two inches behind your ear and two inches above the nape of your neck. If you struggle to keep bobby pins in place, use a tiny amount of hairspray or powder to provide a better grip before pining. And then backcomb the area where you’re going to secure the two bobby pins. Slide them on. You’re almost done!

Step 4: Tie it up

The easiest step. Just tie your hair a few inches above your shortest layer. “If the rubber band is too far down, the hair gets too baggy and saggy for the final step,” warns James.

Step 5: And then roll

As opposed to a multi-layered Christmas yule log roll, you’re looking for one big roll here. Roll up to just beyond where you’ve attached the bobby pins, and then take two more pins to secure the roll to the “X” pins. It might take two or three tries to get it to your liking, but we have faith! You did it!

Photographed by Alexandra Genova