When it comes to style, the Who What Wear team prides themselves on finding the best expensive-looking fashion pieces that won’t actually break the bank. When it comes to beauty, however, what is the secret formula that will make you look more luxe? Personally, I think there are a few beauty secrets that can take your look from basic to rich. But for our first foray into the art of faking it till you make it, we’re going to concentrate on hair.
A low ponytail takes moments to do but adds an instant level of chic to every outfit.
For me, there’s one hairstyle that makes everyone look rich: a low ponytail. I’ll admit I resisted this for a long time because it’s how I wore my hair in secondary school. But this was at a time pre-GHD products, so my pony looked decidedly less sleek and more frazzled than the 2019 versions. Today’s ponytail is all about the shine. In terms of positioning, think the absolute opposite of Ariana Grande’s go-to ponytail.
Model backstage at Victoria Beckham.
Spotted on the runways of Markus Lupfer and Victoria Beckham at London Fashion Week, there’s no doubting that ponytails are having something of a comeback. Stylist Karen Thomson, Scottish hairdresser of the year and owner of KAM Hair and Beauty Salon, refers to the look as a “power ponytail.” She says low ponytails "are such an underestimated hair look, and low ponytails are incredibly chic and effortless.” At the Victoria Beckham autumn/winter 2019 show, Guido Palau, global creative director for Redken, told us that the “ponytail was the perfect sophisticated style for Victoria’s established nonchalant beauty.”
Model backstage at Markus Lupfer.
It seems we’re all in agreement that the ponytail is the hairstyle of the moment. But how do you go about giving it the polished finish that elevates it from an on-the-go style to a rich-looking style? “Expensive-looking hair, to me, is polished, sleek and super shiny,” said Gareth Bromell, global brand ambassador for Evo.
For Bromell, the key to a chic low ponytail is in the prep: “To achieve this look, I always recommend prepping the hair with a hair primer and a smoothing balm to help achieve that really sleek finish from the foundations.” Similarly, Thomson advises first “blow-drying the hair straight with a hair dryer nozzle pointing downwards to keep the hair smooth and free from frizz.”
Stylist Gareth Bromell puts the finishing touches to this high-shine ponytail.
The key to getting the most expensive-looking finish to your ponytail is in the positioning: “It’s so important that you gather all of your hair to the nape of the neck,” Thomson told us. “This is the perfect position for a classic low pony before securing it with a hair elastic.” Although pin-straight stands are traditionally associated with luxury, this season, Palau advises that for the chicest finish, try not to make the hairs uniform. Backstage at Victoria Beckham, stylists used a curling iron to “bend the ponytail to keep the personality in the models’ hair.”
Pile on the hair accessories to add a fashion finish to your ponytail.
Now that the foundations of your ponytail are taken care of, it’s about the finishing touches. “To give your hairstyle a more high-fashion finish, finish your look off with an accessory such as a velvet hair bow or a sparkly hairpin,” Thomson advised us. Don’t be afraid to rely on products to add polish either. “For a luxurious, expensive-looking glassy finish, use a shine spray or serum,” Bromell said. “It just takes the low pony to another level.”
Scroll down to shop your low ponytail essentials.
Bromell mixes these with a shine spray for souped-up shine. Just apply a couple drops to your hands, and smooth it through the mid-lengths and ends of your ponytail once it’s in place.
Want to re-create the cool-girl ponytails seen at Victoria Beckham? “With your fingers, add a little bit of Redken No Blow Dry Cream and run through hair to add natural texture,” Palau says.
Stylist Tina Outen used this backstage at Markus Lupfer to hold the style and tame flyaways. For a super-polished finish, “spray through the front of the hair and brush through to create a clean, defined hairline,” she says.
Work a few drops of this through damp or dry hair to add gloss for a high-shine finish.
Experiment with accessories to transport your ponytail from simple to chic.