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5 simple ways to perk up your ponytail

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When I've had a long day at work, the first thing I usually do when I get home is throw on some comfy sweats and scrape my hair back into a ponytail. While a messy ponytail is no biggie when I'm home, a regular ponytail at work just won't cut it. I like to make it a little fancier, but without having to spend too much extra time on it. Whether it's with an extra hair tie or some bobby pins, you can upgrade your updo in five minutes or less!

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Optical Illusion Pony

This one is ridiculously simple and will trick people into thinking you have longer locks than you actually do. To pull this one off, all you need is two hair ties and a little hairspray. First, section off a the hair above your ears and pull into a small ponytail. Take the remaining hair and make a second ponytail directly under the first. The trick is that your hair needs to cover the second ponytail holder. The result? Two ponytails that cascade into one, making your hair look much longer than it actually is! For end results, make sure to take a look at the accompanying slideshow.

Flipped Pony

I love this ponytail because it's perfect for a night out -- whether that means an elegant dinner party or bar-hopping with your buds. To get this gorgeous look, pull your hair into a low ponytail; it works best at the nape of your neck or it gets too heavy to last. After you have your ponytail secured, find the ponytail holder with two fingers and dig down right above it, essentially creating a little pocket of space between your hair. Once you have this space, flip the ponytail through and voila! Instant fancy. If your hair is long enough, you can even flip the ponytail through again following the same process and you get a smooth bun. Tucking a flower accessory in will amp up the sophistication level as well.

Smooth Operator Pony

There isn't much that says elegance more than a smooth, straight hair ponytail and pretty dangling earrings. However, to make this style even more appealing, simply leave a small strip of hair (long enough to cover the hair tie) out when pulling hair into a ponytail. Take the remaining piece and wrap it around the hair tie until it's completely covered. Secure the end of the hair underneath the ponytail with a bobby pin and you now have a polished look that's great for day or night.

Braided Bunch Pony

Braids with ponytails are great because they are so versatile, and you can have as little or as many as you want. They can also be thick or thin depending on how noticeable you want them to be. My favorite thing to do is braid a piece of hair from one of my shorter layers. This way, when I put it into a ponytail, my hair is braided at the top but not in the ponytail. I think it gives your updo a very bohemian feel. I also like to braid random pieces of hair in my ponytail, especially when I've straightened my hair.

Pump It Up Pony

This is arguably the easiest thing you can do to make your ponytail stand out (literally) from everyone else's. All you need is a clip, the size of which depends on how much hair you have. Obviously smaller hair will need a smaller clip because you don't want the clip to show. If you have long, thick hair like me, you can get away with using a larger clip. To pull this one off, first put your hair in a ponytail as high or low as you like. After, push the top half of your ponytail up to the height you want it and then place the clip against the scalp and remaining hair in the ponytail. If you do it right, your ponytail should look high and bouncy instead of flat.

*Bonus Bow Pony

I know I said I'd tell you about five different ponytails, but this one is too pretty to pass up. You create a bow made out of your own hair, a style made popular by Lady Gaga. While many people have seen the style where all hair is put up to make a bow. I prefer wearing the hair half-up, half-down for this style and making the ponytail a bow. It's such a soft, pretty look and looks great with wavy hair. The technique is a little tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, you'll find excuses to wear your hair like this all the time. First gather the hair above your ears as if you are making a ponytail but make it into a messy bun by not pulling the hair all the way through the last time around the hairtie. You should have a little 'tail' of hair sticking out from under the hair tie, which is what you want as this makes the middle of the bow. Separate the bun into two parts, using your finger to widen the sides if you prefer a bigger bow. Once you've widened them, secure the side of the bow that's against the head with a bobby pin. Take the 'tail' piece of the hair and wrap it around the middle of the bun, which brings out the two sides even more. Like I said, this one is tricky so for a fantastic tutorial with pictures, please click here.

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