Every time Afterpay Australian Fashion Week rolls around, we keep our eyes peeled for the beauty trends that are bound to make their way to the streets.
And as far as hair trends go, few are as chic as the power pony. A favourite of backstage stylists and attendees alike (including BEAUTYcrew’s own Social Editor, who opted for this very style upon visiting the Redken Styling Room), a sleek-to-voluminous ponytail is polished, timeless, and it’s ideal for second-day hair. But perhaps the best part is that anyone can pull it off with a little know-how.
Here's how to master a power pony that any AAFW attendee would be proud of, whether they're walking the runway, or sitting front row…
The power ponytail trend
A key defining factor of the power pony is shine. “It’s all about a healthy-looking ponytail, not just a ponytail,” says Justin Pace of Co and Pace Salons. And considering our current ponytail obsession relies on sleek smoothness up top and piecey texture below the tie, you’re going to need a strong product kit to master the look.
To start, you’re going to want some serious gleam, which means the real work happens before the styling even begins. Pace recommends the Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate system as “it works to repair damaged hair and smooth down the hair cuticles to create a huge amount of shine”.
If you’re experiencing hair that’s damaged, broken or lacklustre, pulling off any trending style will be made easier with the right hair prep.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment ($45 at Adore Beauty) - experience ⅓ less breakage**
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Leave-In Treatment ($45 at Adore Beauty) - 88 per cent less visible split ends*
How to create your own power pony
Choose your ponytail height
You have two choices when it comes to your power pony placement: an eye or nose ponytail.
“An eye ponytail accentuates the eyes and eyebrows, and a nose ponytail accentuates the cheekbones,” explains Pace. “Imagine you are holding a long piece of string; an eye ponytail takes the string diagonally from the corner of your eye to the back of your head, [while] a nose ponytail takes the string from the tip of your nose to the top of your head — this is my personal preference for achieving the slick power ponytail.”
To put it simply; the sharper the angle you choose with your ‘string’, the higher the ponytail will sit.
Nail the blow-dry
For our current fave power pony, hair should be blow-dried smooth with tousled texture to be added once the pony style is locked in. Pace says to complete a ‘directional blow-dry’, which means to blow-dry all the hair in the direction that it will be sitting in the ponytail.
When blow-drying, heat protection is a must. Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate Leave-In Treatment provides heat protection up to 230 degrees, and leaves hair looking healthy with an incredible amount of shine.
Mix textures to add interest
For a look that’s equal parts polished and playful, try mixing textures (think sleek and smooth up top, and voluminously wavy down below). But considering most of us know our way around a wave wand (and of course, the essential brush-out), let's focus on how to get that glassy finish up top.
As you brush your ponytail into place, add a little styling product to make the top sleeker. “There are two different products I like to use depending on the look I am after,” says Pace.
“For a more casual, naturally shiny daytime look, use Redken Brushable Hairspray ($38 at Adore Beauty) during this step. Spray throughout the brushing process and it will add hold without crunch and is easy to manoeuvre.”
And for an edgier, wet night-time look? “Use Redken Max Sculpting Gel ($41 at Adore Beauty),” he says. “This will add more shine and hold, whilst still being easy to brush through.”
Tie your ponytail in two parts
The way you tie your pony can be make or break, so do it like the pros and tie it in two parts instead of one.
“Part the back of your hair from ear to ear, and tie the top half out of your way for now as we begin with the bottom section,” instructs Pace. “Brush the bottom ponytail into the position that you decided on earlier, then get the top half of your hair and brush it into place, tying the [top] ponytail around the first ponytail and blending the two sections together.”
Not only does splitting your ponytail into two sections make it easier to style but it also adds more volume and body. Plus, if you want your power pony to have a middle part, you can work the top section solo to ensure it stays separated and defined.
Finish and secure
Your power pony should be tied smooth and tight, a feat which can require a lot of brushing to get right. So once it’s in place, make sure to secure it with a heavy duty hairspray. “I like to use Redken Max Hold Hairspray ($38 at Adore Beauty), which provides maximum hold with no crunch,” says Pace.
Once secured, take one final brush through the length of your pony. If you’ve been committed to your prep, your pony should be flawless, glossy, and ready to last.
*vs. non-conditioning shampoo
**With use of Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment Shampoo & Conditioner vs. non-conditioning shampoo
Samantha McMeekin was BEAUTYcrew's Editor from January 2020 to June 2023. She has worked as a journalist in the beauty and lifestyle industry for over 10 years. In 2019, she was nominated for Best Digital Writer at the BSME Awards for her work on GLAMOUR UK. If you ever meet her in person, she'll probably try to guess which fragrance you're wearing (she's got a humble 60% strike rate).