For Hollywood’s biggest stars, there might be one thing that’s more painful than standing in heels for hours at an event — and that’s wearing a supertight red carpet ponytail. We know this, because we’ve tried it. After years of wondering whether or not the ponytails worthy of red carpet appearances do, in fact, double as instant face lifts, we enlisted Jessica Alba‘s go-to hairstylist, Jennifer Yepez, to show us how to create the look in the “How It’s Done” video above. And we weren’t wrong: Looking serene in a perfectly-pulled red carpet pony does require as much practice as walking in 6-in. stilettos.
To create the look, Yepez first preps the hair using Honest Beauty’s heat protectant spray, and smooths the outer layers with a round brush and blow dryer. Next, she curls large sections using a 1.5-in. curling iron, alternating the direction of the curl for each section. Then, using a boar bristle brush, she brushes the hair back, smoothing it into a high ponytail at the crown.
But the real key to achieving the tightest pony possible isn’t something you’ll find at the drugstore. Instead, Yepez swears by a long piece of elastic from the craft store, which she says can be substituted with a few thick hair ties in a pinch.
Starting with equal lengths on each side, Yepez wraps the elastic around the base of the ponytail and ties it in a simple knot. Then, she continues to wrap it around the pony, pulling it tighter as she goes, finally tying it in a knot to lock it in place.
For the finishing touches, Yepez wraps a piece of hair around the elastic to hide it, pinning it into the base of the pony, before misting the length of the ponytail with salt spray to add texture, and locking everything in place with strong hold hairspray.
Full disclosure: This look hurts. So much so that I couldn’t move my face. And the pro says she didn’t even “snatch” this pony as tight as she does to create Bella Hadid’s. But like they say, beauty is pain, right?
What’s your secret for scoring a tight ponytail? Sound off in the comments below.