Hair & Beauty

The Art of Mastering the Cool, Casual Pony

By Desta Cullen
29th Aug 2014

The casual pony is the cool girl hairstyle to be rocking this spring, but nailing this effortless look can be harder than you'd think. 

While we are in desperate need of hot hair inspiration most days, we hate to look like we are trying too hard, so when one of the best hairdressers in Brisbane kindly let us in on the secret to mastering the art of the casual pony, we thought we'd died and gone to shiny, swishy ponytail heaven.

The team at XIN TWENTY ONE, a super cool hairdresser on Brisbane's west side, are masters when it comes to transforming your locks — this salon is responsible for some of the most innovative and on-trend cuts, colours, and styles we've seen in a while. 

Xin (salon director and maestro cutter) and senior colourist Jesse have a combined 20+ years worth of experience in the industry, and their approach to hairdressing is echoed in everything they do. 

The team is clearly inspired by the minimalistic but fastidious approach of Japanese art and architecture; The simple zen inspired décor, the use of Shu Uemura Hair Artistry products, and the calm but welcoming vibe of the salon made us feel right at home. 

Creating coiffed perfection is all in a days work at XIN TWENTY ONE, so this style was easy peasy for the crew to whip up.

The Prep


Starting with 'second day hair' (hair that hasn't been washed in a couple of days), work some Shu Uemura Essence Absolue oil through the full length of the hair. Denis says this will protect the hair, while giving it nice lustre and shine. 


Once the oil is worked in, and using a wide flat iron — Xin and his team recommend GHD because it heats to a high temperature without damaging the hair — add bouncy, voluptuous curls to the hair in sections, which will create texture. Don't be afraid of the overdramatised curl, it will eventually drop! 


Next, take the Volume Maker Brush, which doubles as a dry shampoo, and lightly powder the crown of the head to create volume, as well as texture and grit for extra hold.


Using a medium hold hairspray (the XIN TWENTY ONE team used Shu Uemura's Details Spray), spritz the hair to add extra texture for the next couple of steps. 

Stage 2 Prep


From where the head starts to naturally slope towards the back, section hair just behind the ears, and secure with clips. 


Starting at the crown of the head, section hair into approximately 1 inch sections, and begin backcombing (NOT teasing) lightly from the mid-length towards the roots. Continue until you reach just above the nape of the neck. 

The Assembly


To bring the ponytail together, start brushing hair backwards to gather at the back, lightly brushing over the backcombed section. 


Once gathered at the back, and smooth on all sides, secure ponytail using a clear hairband. Then, using a tail comb, re-add some volume to the crown area and around the sides by slipping the thin end into the hair, and gently easing away from the scalp. 


To finish, bobby pin the front layers around the back to create texture and shape. Pull the shorter strands apart so they are less bulky and use a fringe pin to loosely secure. Use some gloss oil to smooth the ponytail, and finish off with a spray of firm hold hairspray. 

XIN TWENTY ONE'S Top Ponytail Tips: 

- Work with shape of the face when deciding how much hair to leave falling around your face. 

- You don't have to be too neat with sectioning the hair — free form is best. 

- When curling the hair, keep the direction and angle of the curls the same to create the same effect on both sides of the head.

- Struggling to get curls forming right at the back of your head? Simply tip your head to side to allow hair to hang below your shoulders so you can get to the hard to reach area.

- Go easy on the ironing pressure! Clamping the iron too hard on the hair will leave pesky marks in your hair, and the curl won't turn out well. 

- Make sure hair is completely dry before ironing. Steam is really bad for both your hair and your iron. 

- Hide the pins by twisting a section of the pony around the band and exposed pins, securing with a fringe pin. 

- Get creative! You can add interest to the ponytail by adding small plaits into the pony, then backcombing the ends so you don't need a hairband.

As easy as this hairstyle is, we understand if you want to leave the hard work to the professionals. Contact the crew at XIN TWENTY ONE for a one-on-one hair session — they'd love to get their hands on your locks.

TUL Note: Today's List Love post is proudly sponsored by XIN TWENTY ONE and endorsed by The Urban List. Our sponsored posts will never be a secret - the List Love seal will be stamped on any sponsored material you see on the site. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible.

Image Credits: Hannah McCawley, Beauty High

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