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How Do I Make an Afro Ponytail?

By Andrea Cross
Updated May 21, 2024
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The Afro ponytail, or Afro puff, is a sophisticated way to showcase naturally curly African-American hair. An easy hairstyle to create, you can accomplished it in a few simple steps. All you need is a brush, gel, and a secure hair band. This style can be slept in and kept in the hair for several days, making it an excellent choice for holidays or busy schedules.

An Afro ponytail works best on very tightly curled hair. If your hair has been straightened, then you need to curl it in order to achieve the proper volume and shape. When this is not practical or if your hair is long enough to put into a ponytail but too short to provide a good puff, you can purchase a drawstring puff extension that can be placed over your smaller ponytail to help provide you with the right silhouette.

Start with freshly washed hair. Generally, you should dry your hair before pulling it back into an Afro ponytail because it will take a very long time to dry if you tie it up while it is still wet. You may want to pull it back while wet, however, if you have very thick and curly hair that may be unmanageable when dry. Once your hair is dry, decide whether you want to comb your hair straight back from your forehead into the ponytail or whether you want to part it in the middle or the at the side. Cornrows are also a good choice in combination with an Afro ponytail.

Once you have parted or cornrowed the front, sides, and top of your hair, apply a gel or a pomade designed for Afro hair, and comb it through the portion you want to lay against your head, smoothing it flat. Leave the puff of hair that will form the ponytail natural. After combing the gel through, you can apply heat in the form of a hair dryer to help the gel set and become smooth and dry. Then, gather up the rest of the hair into a ponytail, and secure it with a band.

You can create one large puff at the back or side of your head or two or more smaller ponytails. Use a heavy, sturdy band that will be able to hold in thick hair without breaking. Avoid using a rubber band because it can damage hair and cause it to break. Once you've formed the ponytail, use your fingers or an Afro comb to fluff up the puff of hair and give it a full, round shape.

If you are using a drawstring Afro puff, place the attached comb into your hair above the ponytail. Pull the drawstring tighter according to preference. Make sure that you add a few hair pins to help keep it secure, especially if you are going to be sleeping with it on. Finally, smooth any hairs that have escaped your Afro ponytail with a bit more gel or spray, keeping the look sleek and sophisticated.

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