Sick of Ponytails? Here Are 3 Other Easy Ways To Wear Your Hair Up

Whether you need to get your hair of your sweaty neck or you just want to show off an especially sexy nape, these deceptively simple styles are cute alternatives when you're all ponytailed out.
Publish date:
June 19, 2013
braids, How-To, updos, summer, headbands, teasing, accessories, sweaty

So I had this clever intro about how it’s been hotter than balls lately, and how miserable everyone with long hair probably is, but then... it hasn’t been all that hot. I suspect it’s going to roll in around Lollapalooza and stay until January, which is fine by me.

But come summer, whenever that turns out to be, I inevitably find myself falling into a Boring Hair Rut. Having thick hair that’s usually somewhere between “long” and “incredibly long,” wearing it down like a mermaid isn’t always an option. Is there anything worse than long hair-induced back-of-neck sweat? I can’t think of it! But at the same time, how many days in a row can a girl wear a ponytail? Or a really weird topknot?

ALLE TO THE RESCUE! I’ve got a few rad hairstyles that look awesome AND keep your hair out of your face. And, because I am pretty hopeless at hair styling, they are all certified 100% easy to do.

(Oh yeah, also: You’re going to notice something weird about the back of my hair. There’s a story behind it, and I’ll tell it at the end.)


My summertime JAM, the braid crown works on hair that’s about shoulder-length or longer. It’s awesome because it’s really easy to do, and once you’ve got it down, you can do all sorts of crazy nonsense with it. Fishtail braids! Teased sections! Curled! Twisted! Go nuts!

But first, we learn the basics.

Split your hair straight down the middle so that you have two equal sections. Braid them so that the braid faces out (pointing away from your ears) rather than forward (like Wednesday Addams).

Tie them off with those little plastic clear ties; I love these for the end of braids because they are practically invisible.

Flip one of the braids up and over your head. Use bobby pins about the same colour as your hair to fasten it down. Stick ‘em in every couple of inches, alternating from the back to the front so the braid is pinned on both sides. Leave the ends; we’re going to hide these in a second.

Now grab the other braid, flip it up and pin it down. This braid goes right behind the first one, so make sure they are close together on the top of your head.

Programming note: If you wear glasses (or you’re going to be wearing sunglasses), don’t put the pins too close to your ears! The arms of your glasses will press on them and you will get a murderous headache. Measure a couple inches up from where your glasses sit on your ears and that is the closest the pins should get. Trust me!

Take the unsecured end of the braid and tuck it under the chubby body of the opposite braid. Pin it down. Shake your head like crazy to make sure everything is secure.

Add more pins as necessary and spray with hairspray for extra hold. You’re done!

I like my crown a little messy, so I don’t mind if little bits escape out of the braids. If you want yours to look sleeker, pin the escaping bits down OR braid your hair when it’s a little damp.


There is a secret trick to this that does not involve socks or hair donuts or anything like that, and that secret is... two ponytails.

I know, WHAT? But it’s true! My mum taught me this, because back when these styles were in fashion, it was all about hairpieces designed to “fill out” the bun. And she thought those were kind of gross, so this was a kind of work-around for her. Thanks, Mum! Not only did you give me these remarkable cheekbones, but you give me helpful hints on the regular!

This works on shoulder length hair and longer. If you can pull it into a ponytail and twist it around at least once for a bun, you can do this.

First, split your hair into two equal sections, horizontally. Pull the top section up into a high ponytail, and then the bottom section into a slightly lower ponytail right underneath it.

Even though you have two ponytails, we are going to treat them as one entity. Separate the hair into sections and tease it up really good. Mix some of the hair from the top and bottom ponies together; this will make for an even bigger bun. You will end up with a GIGANTIC teased ponytail. If you’re ever like, “Maybe this is too big?” go ahead and make it bigger. Make it so big that you have a hard time getting a picture of it.

Now take the ponytail and gently twist it around itself into a bun, shaping it with your hand as you go. Think like a big, light hair souffle. You are souffle girl! Yes, that was a Doctor Who reference, and I am not ashamed!

Use bobby pins at the end of the pony to lock it down, then pin around the sides to keep it from moving. You’ll notice that all that hair kind of goes in one direction; keep this in mind as you tidy it up. Finish the whole thing with a hefty dose of hairspray.

And you are done. If you like headbands or bandannas, this is a great look to bust them out with. To wit:


Full disclosure: I have no idea if Betty Draper has ever worn her hair like this. Probably not. It just seems like the sort of style she’d pull off, and I really like it, even though I am CLEARLY more of a Megan.

I wore my hair like this for my ombre lipstick article, and it was awesome. It’s my go-to wedding style, because it looks really fancy and complicated but takes, like, six minutes. Also, stop having outdoor weddings in summer, guys. It’s sweaty.

Here’s how it works.

Make sure your hair is straight (or mostly straight). This is a sleek style. Brush it out pretty well, then pull it up into a very high ponytail on the top of your head.

Spray the pony with hairspray. You’ll notice your hair is kind of starting to stick together in a big poof. That’s what you want!

Grab a strand of hair from underneath your pony and wrap it around the hairtie. Cover it up and pin it down underneath the pony; it doesn’t matter if you can see the bobby pin from behind right now, because it’s going to be totally hidden soon. If you want to get creative, you can twist this, braid it, use a ribbon, etc. The sky is the limit.

Grab your ponytail, spread it out from the base so it’s wide and fan-like, and then loop it under. Think of this like rolling a big roll. Use one hand to keep the “face” smooth and even and the other to grab it underneath and pin it down.

Spray it down hardcore. This is a smooth style, so we don’t want any flyaways.

Okay, so did you notice the weird thing about my hair? Namely the weird little short bits along my neck?

Here’s the thing: Though most of my hair is really thick and coarse and horselike, I have MAD BABY CURLS around my ears and along my neck. Just the finest, frizziest, most delicate bits of hair you’ve ever seen. I hate them; they defy hairspray and deep conditioning and just do whatever they want all the time, like a plucky orphan in an '80s comedy.

Last year I’d had enough and I remembered hearing that if you shave hair, it grows back slightly thicker. I was like, THIS SOUNDS LEGIT and I shaved the baby curls--and about an inch of my normal hair--off the back of my neck and around my ears.

It was a bit of a mistake.

So now my hair is growing back, texture mostly unchanged, and I’m stuck with this weird semi-undercut look. I’m basically rocking it with impunity, but I can’t wait until I no longer have a reverse undermullet.

And that’s my story! Have any like it? What are your go-to fabulous hairstyles for when it’s too hot for life? More importantly, DID YOU MISS ME LAST WEEK? I had a disgusting cold and no energy to do anything, but I’m better now!