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Let’s be real: That “I woke up like this” hair can seem a little hard to pull off, especially if you’re not exactly sure how to do a messy ponytail right. But it’s actually incredibly easy to make disheveled locks work for you.

To inspire your messy hair game, we’re showing you just how hot messy hairstyles can be with a tutorial series of 5 gorgeous styles that look better with a bit of a disorder. To kick things off, try your hand at this pretty messy ponytail how-to created by Judy McGuinness, Senior Stylist at Mizu Salon in New York City.


Messy Ponytail How-To

Photo: Tom Medvedich; Design: Candace Napier

Step 1

Hair that has more of a grip is better, so McGuinness advises to create this style with day-old hair or locks that have more of a messy texture to them. If your hair doesn’t already have a wave or an undone curl to it, McGuinness says to loosely curl 3-inch sections of hair with a curling iron. You should end up with big curls as opposed to tight tendrils. To give hair a lift, McGuinness suggests spraying salt spray at the root for additional volume.


Messy Ponytail How-To

Photo: Tom Medvedich; Design: Candace Napier

Step 2

Begin to pull your hair up and gather it at the top of the crown of the head.


Messy Ponytail How-To

Photo: Tom Medvedich; Design: Candace Napier

Fasten it into a high ponytail. If there are fly-aways, don’t sweat it. You should embrace them and let them be. McGuinness says the messier the hair, the better!


Messy Hair How-To

Photo: Tom Medvedich; Design: Candace Napier

Step 3

Take a 1-inch section of hair from the ponytail and wrap it around the base of the pony to hide the elastic.


Messy Ponytail How-To

Photo: Tom Medvedich; Design: Candace Napier

Step 4

Finish off by spraying a texture product on the lengths of the hair to give it more movement.


Messy Ponytail How-To

Photo: Tom Medvedich; Design: Candace Napier

Playing with this style only gives it more of the mess you want, so feel free to twirl, scrunch, and massage your tresses all day!

Originally published July 2015. Updated July 2017.



Credit photo. StyleCaster