My secrets to Ashley Graham's swinging ponytail
Simple yet immensely effective, the sleek ponytail can be dressed up to the nines or styled casually for everyday wear. Offering that little bit of something extra, making sure your ponytail is sleek and styled to perfection elevates any look.
Discover our top tips for creating the perfect sleek ponytail.
How To Do A Sleek Ponytail
You might think that scraping your hair up into a hair tie and spritzing some hairspray is all that’s needed for a polished and sleek ponytail – but you’d be wrong! Find Sam’s step-by-step guide for crafting the perfect sleek ponytail.
1. Prep your hair
A good hairstyle always starts with preparation. As we’ll be using some heat on the hair, it’s important to use a heat protectant spray to prevent your hair from drying out and becoming brittle. Opt for a heat protectant that is also nourishing for the hair and creates a protective shield while helping to smooth the cuticle.
2. Decide on your hair part
Where you choose to part your hair can dramatically change the look of your ponytail. Some people stick with a classic centre-part, others opt for the more daring deep side part and some forgo a parting and brush the hair straight back into the ponytail.
3. Work on your roots
The key to achieving a sleek ponytail is to ensure your roots are tamed and smooth. Dampen your roots and blow dry with the air flow pointing in the direction you want the hair to fall. Use a paddle brush to help smooth the hair as you blow dry.
4. Tame flyaways
Add some professional hold hair gel to your hairline to smooth down any loose hairs and flyaways. This will take your hairstyle from a classic ponytail into a polished and purposeful ponytail.
5. Add the finishing touches
Use finishing hair products to set your style in place. The products you use will depend on whether you’re wanting a sleek straight ponytail or a sleek ponytail with volume. However, whichever you choose, using a nourishing hair balm will help to defrizz your ‘do and define your style.
If you want volume, consider adding curls or waves into your ponytail with curling tongs. But if you want an ultra-sleek style, straighten the lengths of your ponytail. Ensure your style stays in place by misting a buildable hold hairspray over your hair.
Sam McKnight’s secrets to Ashley Graham’s swinging sleek ponytail
At the British Fashion Awards, I worked with the fabulous model Ashley Graham. We needed a hair look that suited Ashley’s classic All-American beauty, and that complemented her flowing Patrick McDowell dress which reminded me of something you’d see in a Slim Aaron's image from the 70s.
So we opted for a retro S-shaped luminous ponytail. I created the volume by curling and backcombing Ashley’s hair until we ended up with a strong silhouette enhanced by her glorious smile.
Below are my tips on how to create a sleek ponytail for any occasion.
- Dampen your roots and blow dry, brushing them back for a smooth and sleek ponytail.
- Apply a little Self Control Gel to the hairline to smooth back flyaways for a super sleek finish.
- Mist Modern Hairspray into your ponytail and wave with a curling tong.
- Define, defluff and defrizz your ponytail with Happy Endings.
Watch Holly following Sam’s tips to create a swinging, sleek ponytail, inspired by Ashley Graham’s British Fashion Awards look.
Discover the full Hair by Sam McKnight collection, for vegan and paraben-free hair care.