How to craft a 'butterfly ponytail' according to Ariana Grande's hair stylist

It's time your strands spread their wings

Digital Beauty Editor / August 11 2020

As Ariana Grande's go-to hair stylist, Chris Appleton's status as 'reigning king of ponytails' is very well established.

While we'll forever be fans of Grande's signature sky-high situationwe're always up for something fresh and new when it comes to ponytail inspiration. And boy oh boy, has Appleton delivered in that department with his latest look...

Allow us to introduce the 'butterfly ponytail'; the absolute work of art we're dying to recreate. Now we know it looks crazy complicated, but it's actually way easier than you'd think. In fact, all you'll need to nail it is a pack of stretchy clear hair elastics, a couple of regular ties coordinated to your hair colour, and a few pins (some with pearls if you're feeling fancy)... We also recommend grabbing a mirror, or a ponytail-savvy pal, just so you can make sure everything's going swimmingly back there as you work.

Ready to take your plain-old ponytail from its caterpillar stage to its beautiful butterfly one? Here's how...

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 1: Starting with sleek, straight strands, secure hair into a mid-to-low pony in line with the tops of your ears, using a strong-hold hair tie.

Step 2: Use a clear elastic to secure hair again about 15cm down from the first tie. This section will be used to create your wings, so the bigger the section, the bigger the wings and vice versa. Try to still make sure there's a good amount of loose ponytail left below the tie though.

Step 3: Use your fingers to separate the section of ponytail between the ties into two even halves, allowing both sides a bit of loose leeway to create the gap in the centre and the curves on the sides.

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step 4: Take the loose end of the ponytail and tuck it up toward the nape of the neck and through the hole you've just created in the top section, until the tie is resting on the bottom of the open area.

Step 5: Pick up the loose ponytail section and use it to push the area you've just threaded it through upwards, allowing the two halves to fan out and create your butterfly wings.

Step 6: Wrap a clear elastic around each half to secure both wing sections in place.

Step 7

Step 8

Step 9

Step 7: Separate a portion from the centre of the free-falling ponytail and create a small braid, plaiting the hair in a downwards direction. As for how far to braid, you want the length of the plait to be similar to the height of your wings.

Step 8: Pull the plaited section upward to cover the centre area where the wings meet, as if you're creating the butterfly's body. Take it over and under the wings, tucking the ends of the plait just behind them before pinning in place.

Step 9: Finish the look by adding a pearl-adorned pin either side, to both up the aesthetic (get it? they're the antennae!) and ensure those wings aren't going anywhere.

Main image credit: @chrisappleton1

No time for tricky styles? Bubble braids are a lazy girl's best friend...