Practical and perfect for combatting the heat, a ponytail is the ultimate hair power move. You’ll see it in films—just before the main character is about to save the day, you can bet they’ll tie their hair up. After all, sometimes you just need your hair off of your neck to feel a little more clear-headed. But there’s no denying that the humble ponytail can be a little drab sometimes, right? And while it might look simple, it can be tricky to get right. It’s frustrating when you’re facing a wiggly parting or lumps and bumps and all you want is a sleek, pulled-back pony.

“This is actually one of the hardest looks to achieve,” says Aaron Carlo, Tresemmé’s lead stylist. “The trick is to do it in two steps—you can’t do it in one! Firstly, divide the hair in half. Start by tipping your head back (this will prevent the bottom of your hair from sagging out of the ponytail), and then section the hair from ear to ear and going across to the top of your head and secure that in a ponytail. Then you can begin drawing hair up from the bottom and secure that into the ponytail. This way, you have less distance and volume of hair to control, and you avoid getting those bits of hair at the back that don’t sit smooth.” To finish, Carlo recommends using a strong-hold hair spray to lock in the style. 

If a carefully curated messy ponytail is more of your zone but you can’t strike the balance, then Carlo advises you work with, rather than against, the natural texture of your hair. If you need to add some guts to the root for texture, “dry shampoo is your best friend,” Carlo says. “Work in some of the Tresemmé Between Washes Volumizing Dry Shampoo ($6) at the roots, and then pull the hair into a topknot style, and secure it quite tightly. From here, you can pull out some face-framing bits, loosen hair at the roots to create that movement and body, and you can pin and place any loose bits of hair to create that ‘I just threw my hair up’ look that you know everyone wants.”

Take a look below for the best ponytail hairstyles that we return to time and time again.

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