From grunge-inspired attire to clear plastic accessories, ’90s nostalgia has had a major influence on recent trends — and hair is no exception! We’ve seen the resurgence of styles like short face-framing layers, bubble braids and many more, but we would be remiss if we didn’t tell you to grab your favorite salon hairspray and get started on the most iconic style of them all: the swoop ponytail!
What Is a Swoop Ponytail?
The swoop ponytail seamlessly combines the classic high pony with a stylish U-shaped section of hair at the front of the head that gracefully swoops off to the side and gets secured behind the ear. The look gained significant popularity during the late ’90s and early 2000s and has seamlessly transitioned into modern fashion, thanks to its adaptability and customization. After all, it can easily be paired with a wide range of accessories, adorned with various details or combined with any aesthetic, and it will always showcase a sleek, put-together appearance!
The swoop ponytail is perfect for any style preference, hair texture, hair length and even occasion at hand! As if that wasn’t enough, the simplicity of achieving this hairstyle only adds to its appeal, as it’s effortless to pull off with the right products!
How to Get the Swoop Ponytail Look
Creating a swoop ponytail is a more simple process than you might expect (especially if you follow the steps below)! From preparing your hair to creating the perfect swoop, we’ll share expert tips and techniques to help you master the art of the swoop ponytail, whether you’re a hairstyling novice or a seasoned pro!
- Begin by brushing your hair thoroughly to remove any tangles or knots. This will create a smooth base for your hairstyle, as well as a smooth styling process. If smooth and sleek is the ultimate goal for your swoop ponytail, though, you’ll want to consider running a flat iron through your hair first as well! If you have fine or slippery hair, be sure to apply a texturizing spray at this point to add grip to the hair, as well as help maintain the shape of your swoop!
- Decide how high or low you want to position your ponytail. Like any other ponytail style, securing it high will create a more dramatic effect, and securing it low will create a more casual effect. If you opt for a high ponytail, consider creating volume and height at the crown by gently backcombing the hair near the roots.
- Whether high or low, gather all your hair at the desired height and secure it with a hair tie (or scrunchie, to hit the ’90s feel even harder)!
- Now comes the signature swoop. Whether you have bangs or not, take a small section of hair from the front, and with finesse, sweep it across your forehead in an elegant curve. This step requires attention to detail and precision (and probably a little extra styling product!).
- Smooth your swoop using a fine-toothed comb or a boar bristle brush to ensure a polished finish. If you desire an even more perfect look, spritz a clean toothbrush with hairspray and use it to smooth down any flyaways along the hairline and the ponytail (and add shine) for an ultra-refined finish. Alternatively, if you desire a more textured look, you can gently tease the swoop section to add a little bit of volume and grip!
- Once your swoop is perfectly in place, secure it with discreetly placed bobby pins behind your ear for added security. To ensure your swoop ponytail stays in place throughout the day and your styling efforts pay off, be sure to give a final spritz of some high-quality hairspray over the entirety of the hair!
Must-Use Products for This Look
When it comes to perfecting the swoop ponytail trend, there are certain salon hair styling products for any hair type that you’ll want to have in your beauty arsenal. First and foremost, there’s hairspray! You’ll want to choose a high-quality, strong-hold hairspray that will keep your swoop, ponytail and any flyways in place all day, but you’ll also want to look for a lightweight formula that won’t leave your hair feeling stiff or crunchy!
To maintain a glossy and polished finish, you’ll also want to consider applying a few drops of hair oil to the lengths and ends of your hair. This will add shine, combat any frizz and make your hairstyle feel as luxurious as it looks! If you have naturally oily, curly or frizzy hair, a smoothing serum may work better for you. If you opt for a smoothing serum, simply apply a small amount to the swoop section and the ponytail to tame flyaways and add a sleek finish.
For those seeking a more textured and voluminous look, a texturizing spray will be essential for this look as well. Simply spritz it onto the roots before creating the ponytail to add instant lift and body!
Swoop Ponytail Variations
While the classic swoop ponytail is undeniably stylish, there are a few variations that you can experiment with to add a touch of personality to your look!
- Sleek Swoop Ponytail: The sleek swoop ponytail focuses on achieving a sleek and polished appearance. Before creating a sleek ponytail of any sort, you’ll want to be sure to brush the hair thoroughly, run a flat iron through the hair to straighten it and incorporate a smoothing product. From here, using a fine comb or even a toothbrush to tame flyaways will take this look over the top. This is a look that showcases your sophistication and is perfect for formal occasions when you want to make more of a statement.
- Long Swoop Ponytail: Clip-in extensions and specific ponytail extension pieces can instantly transform the classic swoop ponytail into something more intriguing (especially if colored extensions are used) and give you the volume for a truly show-stopping style!
- Half-Up Half-Down Swoop Ponytail: For a more playful and carefree vibe, consider a half-up half-down swoop ponytail! To do this, section off the top half of your hair and create a ponytail, while leaving the bottom half loose. This is a look that can be catered to almost any aesthetic through curling, crimping and straightening as much as it can through accessories, so consider the trendy and effortless hairstyle any time!
- Swoop Ponytail with Curls: To add extra glamour and volume to your swoop ponytail, consider curling the ends of it by using a curling iron or hot rollers! You can create any shape, from loose waves to tight curls (depending on your preference and natural hair type) to achieve this look — and it’s ideal for fun special occasions or when you want to channel the charm. Start by hydrating your curls with a leave-in conditioner or curl-enhancing product and then use a wide-toothed comb (or your fingers) to gently sweep a section of hair into the swoop. Secure the ponytail while keeping the remaining curls loose for a romantic and playful look!
- Wrapped Swoop Ponytail: Add a touch of elegance to your swoop ponytail by wrapping a strand of hair around the base of the ponytail to conceal the hair tie. This simple technique instantly elevates the look and creates an extra polished finish. Secure the wrapped strand with a bobby pin or even a small elastic.
- Side-Swept Swoop Ponytail: For a romantic and asymmetrical look, create a deep side part and sweep the hair into a low side ponytail. From here, you’ll want to position the swoop on the opposite side of the part. This variation adds a touch of sophistication and works well for both formal and casual occasions.
- Messy Textured Swoop Ponytail: Embrace a more effortless and carefree vibe with a messy textured swoop ponytail. Instead of aiming for a sleek and polished finish, tousle your hair with your fingers or use a texturizing spray to create a tousled and lived-in look. Secure the ponytail with a loose elastic band, allowing some strands to fall naturally for an undone yet stylish appearance.
- Retro-Inspired Swoop Ponytail: Channel the glamour of the past by adding a retro twist to your swoop ponytail. Create a deep side part and curl the lengths of your hair with a curling iron, creating vintage-inspired waves. Sweep the hair into a low ponytail and position the swoop across your forehead for a classic Hollywood-inspired look.
Accessories to Elevate Your Swoop Ponytail
One of the best things about the swoop ponytail is its versatility when it comes to accessorizing. A simple headband, for instance, can instantly transform your swoop ponytail into a chic and feminine style statement. Opt for delicate, embellished headbands for a touch of elegance or go for bold, colorful ones to make a fashion-forward statement!
From here, hair clips and pins can add a touch of whimsy and personality to your swoop ponytail, whether it’s in the form of a cluster of pearl bobby pins, playful enamel clips or vintage-inspired barrettes. Shimmer hairsprays and glitters will amp up the look for any festival, and ribbons and scarves will give this versatile look the vibes you’re looking for if they happen to be romantic or bohemian in nature!
Where to Wear The Swoop Ponytail
Don’t be afraid to include the swoop ponytail into your weekly hairstyle rotation and add it to your everyday style — because whether you’re running errands, going to the gym or simply want to add a touch of elegance to your daily routine, this is a hairstyle that can elevate your overall look and boost your confidence! The swoop ponytail is a versatile hairstyle, so consider rocking this iconic look for any of the following events!
- The sleek and sophisticated nature of the swoop ponytail makes it a perfect choice for special events like weddings, galas or formal parties. Pair it with an elegant dress and statement jewelry to create a glamorous and memorable ensemble!
- For high-profile events, the swoop ponytail can help you make a powerful and stylish statement. Just be sure to keep a strict eye on your style and smooth any flyaways or rogue strands as they come.
- A romantic and chic swoop ponytail with a little bit of curl and a couple of loose strands will add a touch of glamour and femininity to your look, making you feel confident and beautiful for any type of date night!
- For a fun night out on the town with your friends, a long and playful swoop ponytail will show off your trendy and fashionable side. Pair it with a stylish outfit and some eye-catching accessories for a look that’s sure to stand out in a crowd.
- When it comes to more casual occasions, the swoop ponytail is easily adapted to any venue or season. Flaunt a flawless swoop pony to brunch with friends, sport a simple swoop pony on a shopping trip or wear a powerful swoop pony for work. No matter what sort of casual outing you expect, though, you’ll want to opt for a looser and more textured look to achieve an effortlessly chic aesthetic!
- The sleek, polished and powerful appearance of the swoop ponytail can make it a killer style for high-profile events and professional settings to showcase your professionalism and attention to detail.
- Embrace a more playful and carefree vibe by wearing the swoop ponytail to music festivals or concerts. Opt for a messy and textured version of the style (and incorporate colorful extensions if you choose), and pair it with obscure outfits and accessories for a trendy take on a timeless look!
Keep the Swoop Stylish
Once you’ve mastered the art of creating a swoop ponytail, it’s important to know how to maintain its sleekness and elegance throughout the day. So keep a small comb or brush in your bag to touch up the swoop throughout the day, give your hairstyle a quick spritz of hairspray if you notice any signs of the swoop losing its shape or flyaways starting to appear, try to resist the temptation to constantly touch or adjust your swoop ponytail and be sure to shield your hairstyle from harsh weather with an umbrella, hat, hood or otherwise!