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Image credits: Photography by Olesja Mueller; Model Provided by Ford Models Los Angeles; Make-up by Nikki Star; Hair by Nicoletta Gauci using Paul Mitchell


So if I was going out tonight it would be a pony tail kind of New Years. My reasoning? I’ve found that when I leave my hair down I always end up looking slightly haggered in fotos, this obviously has no reflection on the possibility that I was actually haggared at the time, none at all.

There is also the fact that this year brought us so many cute variations on the pony tail that I think it deserves a thank you.

So thanks to a suggestion from a great Paul Mitchell the School Alumn, Heather Donahue. I am here to tell you how to get the perfect slick top to your pony tail base. These tips can be used in salon, on set or at home for those of us handy or those of us who have an extra set of hands, Ganesh style. Though as usual for those super special styling needs I suggest contacting your favorite hairstylist :). There are a few key points to make though especially since today we are only concentrate on creating the perfect smooth base…

  • important thing to remember is your pony tail can be placed as high, low or centered as you like depending on face shape and the look you are going for.
  • your “tail” can be turned into many variations of the classic straight pony tail. For a look like the one above? simple! after securing your base braid the “tail” and tie it in a knot or two depending on length…securing with bobby pin!
  • parts are optional with slick pony tails, I have a round face so I always try to include a slight side part combover (not as horrible as it sounds) this way I distract from the total symetrical roundness that is my face when wearing a medium to low pony.

Alright, now in general, we have more or less three options for types of “slickness”. We have “natural matte”, “soft shine” and (I seriously almost called the 3rd wet and hard. seriously?) “high gloss hold”. If your time allots for a blow dry, prep it by already drying hair into the direction you want it to lay….and eliminate any “roses” in the hair (growth patterns) by blowdrying them with a brush in all directions, lastly being the one the should lay in. If time does not allow for a blow dry, or if your pony tail decision came from having dirty hair and no time to get ready simple spray the root of front hairline (about an inch in depth) with a hydrating product like Paul Mitchells Awapuhii Moisture Mist and blow out any roses and guide hair into the direction it will live in.  Now if your planning on letting your hair down later that night, no judgetment…infact..props. Anyways if thats the plan make sure and pick a natural final look product selection and technique and try and make sure you have a nice hair set within that pony tail (aka clip a few hot rollers in the tail while you do your makeup).

To start off

Prep yourself, client or model as stated above and decide where you want to place the base. If you pick above the occipital bone (the large part where the back of your head rounds) then you will need to work the hair head down looking at the belly button, otherwise work the hair with the head looking towards the ceiling. Aim for an inch above where you want to end up as you will always loose a bit of hieght.

Natural Matte

Natural matte is your classic effortless looking pony tail. Only one catch, no bumps, product overload or comb marks. How to?

Prep with a moderate hold product like Paul Mitchells Quickslip. Start by using a boar brush (I prefer the synthetic one I purchased from Sephora but the classic would be a Mason Pearson) begin to mold the hair into your non “working hand” occasionally spraying a light working spray to support your work, my favorite working spray is Paul Mitchells Worked Up.  Once you have placed and brushed the hair well take your fixing accessory of choice (I prefer an elastic with hooks on eitherside for a clean finish and tight hold) and place using your working hand while holding  the hair in your other hand with a steady but flexible grip as to not group the hair togeather and cause cross overs. At the end spray a firm hold matt finishing spray to secure any little fly aways, like Paul Mitchells Awapuhi Wild Ginger Finishing Spray. To smooth out any bumps that happened along the way use the metal end of a rat tail comb inserting it in near the hairline in a weaving motion pulling back towards the pony tail holder.

Key points to a Natural Matte Slick Pony Tail:

  • light hold and moderate to no shine products
  • boar brush, no combing
  • fix flyaways with end of rat tail comb
  • end with a matte finish high hold fixing spray

Benefits to a Natural Matte Slick Pony Tail:

  • easy for the take down toss around (don’t pretend you dont know what I am talking about)
  • great as a transition look on set!
  • looks effortlessly flawless and lets great makeup and accesories shine!

Soft Shine

For the soft shine we are going to follow the same prep steps but we will switch out our product choices and add a tool or two.

To achieve this look I suggest smoothing out your hair line with a smoothing iron to get the max shine out of the hair itself while using a shine spray like Paul Mitchells Awapuhi Wild Ginger Shine Spray. Work the hair with a paddle brush like Paul Mitchells 427, this is my favorite because it counteracts fly aways and gives me the control I need of longer hair. Using a medium hold hairspray like Paul Mitchells Super Clean work the hair into desired position and fix into place. Now a little trick for the fly aways and bumpies, cocktail togeather a hair serum (Paul Mitchells Super Skinny Serum or Gloss Drops both make hair look like glass!) with Paul Mitchell’s Foaming Pomade (gloss and hold and does not leave white marks on dark hair) and tame down that hair with a tint brush! Yup a tint brush!

Key points to a Soft Shine Slick Pony Tail:

  • moderate hold high shine products
  • smoothing iron for pre prep and natural shine emphasis
  • us paddle brush for molding
  • fix flyaways with glass glossing products and tint brush

Benefits to a Soft Shine Slick Pony Tail:

  • stays in place all night, but doesnt leave you high and dry in the morning
  • adds a chic quality to any look
  • easy as a “second look” on set
  • a classic go to with maximum effect for those nights when washing your hair is not an option

High Gloss Hold

You know the look, so shiny your friends do not even need mirrors and so shellacked it take a clarifying shampoo to get it out.

My best suggestion is to go with layering on an alcohol free gel (no flaking) like the one featured in Paul Mitchells new mens line MITCH, Steady Grip, no worries lady just go borrow some form your men. Apply small amounts layering it while combing your hair into place with a fine tooth comb. For those in a salon with a hooded dryer setting the hair wet with the gel and placing the client under the dryer will give you max result in less time otherwise using smoothing products during your blowdry and smoothing the hair out first can also be a big help. Once your base is placed use a wet shine product such as Paul Mitchells The Shine to enhance the luster in your locks. Depening on your desired effect choose your finishing comb wisely as marks will be seen due to the gel used to mold the hair, I prefer fine tooth for a classic look and super wide for a edgier take. Fix flyaways with more gel and shine spray or, my favorite…use a mens wet pomade like Paul Mitchells Tea Tree Grooming Pomade, avoid hair spray until the very end and only use if necesary as the gel should give you all the hold you need.

Key points to a High Gloss Hold Slick Pony Tail:

  • Stick with gel and wet shine product
  • prep under hooded dryer, or with smoothing products and smoothing iron
  • use fine tooth comb for molding
  • fix flyaways with mens high shine products

Benefits to a High Gloss Hold Slick Pony Tail:

  • stays in place all night and all day New Years Day
  • always adds a high fashion flair even to jeans heals and a black tank
  • definently a strong last look for beauty on set
  • a perfect pair to extreme lashes or wing tipped eyeliner!

Where to find my product and tool suggestions?

Paul Mitchell


What am I doing blogging at 23:28 on New Years Eve?

I am trying desperately to make it to midnight but it seems as though I am calling it quits, I hope you all drink too much, sing till you forget the words, kiss your loves or a tall dark stranger and most imporantly stay safe! Happy New Year!



p.s. do not forget to send in your asks, hair or otherwise! Heather did…and I am pretty sure I answered her question!

note: I choose to use Paul Mitchell products not only because I educate for the company and have grown within it but also because I admire the companies ethical standpoints, from their green team to non-profit work and especially the fact that they do not test on animals. I also find that I am able to create any end result I would like with the professional and liquid tools that are available to me through their company. I often try other products to be able to state this fact proudly and will review any other products which are sent to me or come across my lap. I try to always describe the product at its root so if someone has a similar product at home they can attempt the technique with that, but my product suggestions are all from trial and error as well ingredient knowledge. There are occasional cases where I list products or tools that are not Paul Mitchell. But in the end, if it is not broken…why fix it?