How A-listers are bringing the face-flattering ‘high pony’ to the red carpet this awards season


It may traditionally be the preserve of ballerinas and gymnasts but, this awards season, you can’t move for high ponytails swishing along the red carpet. 

The Critics’ Choice Awards, which took place in Los Angeles on Sunday, saw dozens of scraped-back dos, with Scarlett Johansson, J-Lo and Margot Robbie all sporting the glamorous – and easy-to-manage – look. 

Others reaching for a good comb and an even better bottle of shine spray include Lupita Nyong’o, Florence Pugh and Olivia Wilde. 


The ponytail hasn’t always had such a glamorous image though. 

Indeed, back in the early noughties, it was dubbed the ‘Croydon facelift’ and those wearing it were warned about potential damage to both the hair and the scalp if the look was worn too frequently. 

There are certainly some celebrities who don’t just save the high pony or top-knots for awards season though. 

J-Lo has always been a fan, as has global pop starlet Ariana Grande – and plenty of off-duty stars enjoy a messy high bun on a low-key day off. 

During the heady atmosphere of awards season though, there’s another reason why the look might also prove popular. 

It’s unfussy – there’s little fear of it collapsing if it’s firmly secured and the paparazzi can snap away with an unfettered view of a star’s face. 

Celebrity Hairdresser Jamie Stevens Hair (@jamiestevenshair), who’s teased the locks of plenty of famous faces, says: ‘I love high ponytails for instant glamour, they’re on trend but glossy and effortlessly sophisticated, they don’t look too fussy like some up-dos can. They stop red carpet dresses suddenly looking too ‘prom”‘. 

Stevens says they’re also ‘practical’ for the red carpet because they give an ‘unobscured view of the face and outfit, perfect for halter neck and strappy dresses, and they’re incredibly flattering because they work like a mini face-lift, pulling the skin taught and upwards.’ 

He adds that many celebrities add extensions to ensure their look is ‘red-carpet ready’ and that the style suits most face shapes. 

Adapting the look to your shape is easy but essential, says Jamie, to perfect the pony: ‘On a round face you need to balance the shape of the cheeks, so don’t go sleek, pair it with a bouffant at the front. 

‘Meanwhile, a square face will look better with tendrils pulled out at the front to soften the edges.’ 


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