How to Do the Illusion Ponytail

by Tarah Damask
Maria Menounos wears a cascading illusion ponytail at the 2012 Dizzy Feet Foundation Celebration of Dance Gala in Los Angeles.

Maria Menounos wears a cascading illusion ponytail at the 2012 Dizzy Feet Foundation Celebration of Dance Gala in Los Angeles.

The illusion of a super-long glamorous ponytail is surprisingly simple to create. Whether you prefer a full smoldering style or a chic streamlined ponytail, you can quickly create the illusion of extra length and add a beautiful touch to a glamorous eye-catching evening gown or a more casual everyday outfit. Most surprising is how quickly this ponytail style will become a staple of your daily beauty options as you only need a few tools and a small slice of time.

Cascading Illusion Ponytail

Brush your hair until it is free of tangles. Mentally separate your head of hair into two parts, divided by a line that runs horizontally round the back of your head from the top of one ear to the top of the opposite ear. You do not want to actually part your hair, as it will create a clear line that will give away the illusion of your long ponytail.

Take all of the hair that is above the invisible part and sweep it up into a ponytail at the top of your hair.

Secure the pony with a tonal hairband or clear elastic.

Spread the ponytail out over your head toward each ear.

Drape the hair that is not in the ponytail down over your shoulders for the illusion of a long, cascading ponytail.

Sleek Illusion Ponytail

Brush your hair until it is sleek. Push all of your hair gently forward toward your face, dropping your head forward a little. Mentally separate your hair into two parts divided by a horizontal line that runs around the back of your head starting at the center of one ear and ending at the center of the opposite ear.

Pull the bottom half of your hair back into a low ponytail.

Secure the ponytail in a tonal hairband or clear elastic.

Pull the remaining portion of your hair back into a ponytail at your crown or just beneath.

Secure that ponytail with another hairband or clear elastic.

Grab a 1- to 2-inch wide segment of hair at the base of your top ponytail. Wrap this segment around the the bottom of the lower ponytail's hairband, winding it up over the top ponytail's hairband. Continue to wind around and around both hairbands until only a bit of hair remains.

Tuck the ends of this small bit of hair segment just under the wrapped hair, pinning the hair into place with bobby pins.

Spritz the top of your head lightly with hairspray and smooth down any flyaway hairs to really finish this smooth look.

Items you will need

  • Hairbands
  • Bobby pins
  • Hairspray


  • For voluminous hair, particularly curly tresses, create three ponytails, one above the next -- one low, one mid-height and one high ponytail. Because voluminous hair will naturally spread and hide the hairbands, you do not need to wrap a hair segment around the ponytails to create the illusion of a single pony. Create the three ponytails, spread the hair a bit and you're done.

About the Author

Tarah Damask's writing career began in 2003 and includes experience as a fashion writer/editor for Neiman Marcus, short fiction publications in "North Texas Review," a self-published novel, band biographies, charter school curriculum and articles for various websites. Damask holds a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of North Texas.

Photo Credits

  • Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images