Alright, first, I’m a dude, so nothing too girly (and yes, I realize the juxtaposition I’ve placed myself in). Alright, so my hair’s about shoulder-length now, and I want to start wearing it in a ponytail. However, I can’t figure out how to actually make the damn thing.
Sure, I’ve got the fundamentals down: Pull hair back and collect it with one hand, transfer said hair the other hand with the band on the wrist, pull the band with the pointer finger of my now-free hand around the hair…this is where I get hung up. I can’t seem to pull the hair cleanly through it, without letting go of the band (thus loosening its grip) – let alone repeating this 2-3 more times.
Help? Oh, also, how do I take it out without scalping myself?
Well, first of all, if you are scalping yourself, you are using the wrong type of band. DO NOT use a regular rubber band!!! Use an elastic band made specifically for hair, such as those made by Goody.
As far as technique, I am not sure exactly what you are doing wrong. I put my hair back in a pony tail pretty much every day, and it’s so second nature now that I’m not sure. But, in doing it slowly, I think I have some tips. First. don’t put the band around your wrist…keep it around your fingers. Hold your hair with your left hand, and hold your right hand up to the bunch of hair, with the band wrapped around your fingers & thumb. Transfer the bunch of hair from your left to your right hand. Grab the band with the fingers of your left hand, and pull your hair through the band with your right hand.
With my hair, I have to twist the band and pull the hair through a couple more times to make it tight…just twist the band one time with your left hand, reach through it to grab the pony tail, and pull through, then repeat with your right hand.
If the pony tail isn’t tight enough for you at this point, grab a little bit of it with each hand, and tug in opposite directions to snug the band up against your head.
Hope this helps. Do it enough, and you won’t even think about it anymore.
I agree it sounds like you’re using a regular rubber band which you Must. Not. Do. Its not like the other choice is something frilly. You can get a dozen plain black heavy-duty hair bands for 2.99 at Target.
I have alot of very thick hair and usually double a heavy duty band. If you have less, you might want to triple it or more so it stays put.
Yeah, as a chick who has been doing this since I was a teeny child, it’s hard to explain to a novice. But the whole “band on the wrist” thing is not part of MY equation.
Place elastic band over the thumb and first three fingers of the hand, about halfway down. Or even all the way, doesn’t matter.
Gather the hair together INTO the hand THAT HAS THE ELASTIC BAND… the other hand can help, but the hand with the band is where you want the hair gathered, and you want it gathered in the fingers that have the band, so the band can be pulled over the hair with the other hand. Got that? Gather the hair together in the all the fingers except the pinky, this positions the band so that when you pull it, all the hair will go through it.
Then twist the band, pull the hair back through, twist again, etc. until the band is tight.
And it’s amazing how such a simple, second-nature act can be so hard to describe…
I’ve never put a pony tail in my hair (it’s about 1/4 inch long), but I’ve had to do it for my 2 year old daughter and a trick I learned from my sister was to lay her down on something with her head hanging over the edge (my sisters lays on a piano bench). She says this helps keep it from being ‘lumpy.’
Eh. There’s nothing wrong with putting the rubber band over your wrist. That’s how I do it.
To be honest, it’s a little hard to describe in text. If you can find a video or some pictures online, that’s good. Otherwise it might be best to get a female friend to show you how she does a ponytail.
Look. There are Wristers and there are Thumbers. Okay? Why can’t we all just get along???
I wore a pony tail on and off for most of my adult life. My hair is extremely thick and takes a wicked curl as it grows longer. So, it wasn’t a long straight tail but rather a bobbed curled thing. I liked it well enough.
Yes. Goody is your friend. Don’t buy the thin ones. If you are endowed with thicker hair, the thin ones will slide down quickly. You need ones that will hold.
Also, tie it back for the day after brushing it just after the shower. It lets the pony tail holder grab a bit better, and the hair dries IN the pony tail form. Doing it when totally dry is a real pain. It tends to slip out easier, in my experience.
Let’s see if I can describe it. Like everyone else has mentioned, don’t use regular rubber bands. They have too much friction so you can’t cleanly pull hair through.
Pull hair back with one hand. Next, either using the wrist technique or putting the hair elastic (HE) on you thumb and index finger, pull hair though the HE the first time. Hold the hair with one hand right above the HE and use the other hand to put a twist in the HE. Twist the first loop tightly and hold the 2nd empty loop open with the thumb and index finger. With that thumb and index finger, grasp the hair just above where the HE is (below your other hand) and pull the hair through the 2nd loop while using the now free other hand to pull the HE down over your fingers and even with the first loop. Now you can repeat the process with the opposite hands because the hand that was holding the empty loop open is now holding the pony tail. You need to make each twist very tight because each time you pull hair through, you have to pull twice the hair thickness through. Once you make two or three loops, let go and the loops will loosen a bit.
As a guy with long hair, this is a skill I had to learn, rather than one that I just always knew, so I might be able to describe it a bit better. I’m going to assume you’re right-handed, if not, just swap.
First of all, as others said, do NOT, under ANY circumstances use a rubberband. It will get stuck in your hair. Hair ties are cheap, and they’re normally hanging right near the shampoo and brushes, so just pick some up.
I begin with the band around my base of my index finger, middle finger and thumb on my right hand. If it’s too far up, you’ll have trouble grabbing your hair. You can use all your fingers, and I often do, but then it could slip too far down and you’ll have to yank it over your hand.
With the band in place on your fingers, grasp your hair with those fingers. With your left hand, scoop under the band on the finger side, and use your right hand to pull your hair through. Your left hand should be curled downward with the band in it, one side of the band should be around your hair, and your hair should be in your right hand.
Now, rotate your left hand so the band crosses over itself and your fingers are still through the middle of the band, but straight instead of curled. This is probably the hardest step to explain. Basically, the rotating your hand away from your head, so the band’s tension is now against the side of your pointer finger rather than on the tips of your curled fingers, then straightening your wrist and fingers, and finally rotating it back toward your head so there’s a twist and the tension is now resting on the backs of your fingers.
Finally, the tension against the base of your hair should leave enough of a gap to slip your thumb in the hole between your fingers and hair, so you have the same sort of positioning as you did when you started, except on your left hand. Then simply repeat two or three more times, depending on the thickness of your hair and the size of the band.
The only other trick to it is to try to keep the tension on the band relatively constant for each iteration. If you don’t, the first loop will be really loose and the later loops will be really tight. You’ll eventually develop a feel for that over time and practice.
And with regard to control-z, I’m not the OP, but still I’m not a “ponytail guy” either. However, sometimes it’s often necessary like for going to the gym, going to work, or making it dry somewhat straight without using chemicals or excessive amounts of work.
One particular thing is to only use your thumb and middle finger to grip the tail.
You twist the tie, insert those two fingers through like pincers, and grab the tail with them. Use your other hand to pull the loop over to the other side of the tail (so you have a bump of hair poking through), moving your pincer hand back away from your head, drawing the hair through the loop. Twist, use your other hand to do the pincer and repeat.
Sorry it took me so long to get back to this thread. Anyway, thanks all for the very informative response, and Blaster Master for the step-by-step guide. I think I’m getting better, I was able to do it twice today! Pretty quickly too; go me!
Anyway, I’m still perplexed on the best way to take the damn thing out, without pulling out hairs. (and no, I’m not using an actual rubber band). Because it seems whenever I take it out, a few stray hairs always come with it.
So what’s the best way? Do I just grab one part of the band and stretch it, then weave the hair through in reverse, doing the same for each loop I put in it originally? Or do I roll it out? Pull it out?
Yep. You’ll lose a few strands no matter what - as long as it doesn’t hurt, it’s just hair that’s come loose and you would have brushed out, anyway. If it does hurt (sometimes it just does, even if you’re careful), just keep practicing the method **Sage Rat ** gave above. Over time, you’ll learn by feel which bands come out easily by just pulling them off, or which ones need a little extra holding of the ponytail base and slide off method.
You seem to have making a ponytail down, so I’ll move on to taking it out. I agree that you’re going to lose some hair anyway when you pull it out. Unless you’re pulling a chunk out and it hurts, a few strands wound around the hair elastic after you take it out is normal. If you are pulling out a knot of hair, or it hurts, then you’ve probably got some tangles winding around the elastic, or the elastic is too tight. I’d recommend getting a brush (or hefty wide-toothed comb if you do this when your hair’s wet) with strong bristles that will easily reach to your scalp to brush out your hair before you put it in a ponytail. That should take care of a bit of the hair that’s coming out later, and help avoid those annoying puckery-lumpy places that can show up in front of the pony tail before you master it.
Depending on how thick and how brittle your hair is, keeping it in a ponytail all the time will put some strain on it, so you may lose a bit more to breakage if you put it up every day. YMMV. I’m assuming this is the first time you’ve grown your hair out fairly long, so it may be a surprise to you how much hair you appear to lose. So barring other reasons for hair loss, it’s really not more strands than when your hair is short, it just takes up more volume. (This year I grew my hair out after having it short for a few years, and the amount of apparent loss was a shock to me before I got acclimated again–and I had hair past my shoulders until I was 19.)
For “advanced” skills like braiding your own hair, I really recommend finding someone who knows how to braid their own hair, and watching them do it. (Your hands have to be oriented differently when you’re braiding someone else’s hair.) That’s how I learned to french braid my own hair.
ETA: Oh yes, Sage Rat is right. Just grab the base and tug. If it hurts, well, sometimes we have to suffer for beauty