How I gave Meghan Markle a ponytail: Duchess of the Sussex hairdresser on how he created an iconic look
When I saw those photos of the Duchess of Cambridge this week, with her hair in an effortlessly chic yet understated ponytail, it felt like the beginning of a more modern chapter to her image.
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Kate’s hair styled like this. Normally, however, she would pair it with casual clothes at a sports or outdoor event.
This week’s engagement took place in the more formal setting of a Norfolk hospital to mark the 72nd anniversary of the NHS. Worn with an elegant navy dress with a textured collar, Kate really looked regal on the ponytail.
CUTE FOUNTAIN: The success of this pony on Kate, Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) is behind the modern, fountain-like arch she created at the back and top, keeping her youthful. She has kept products to a minimum, so it looks soft and dry, making it fun and playful. I love it.
Granted, there’s a good chance that, like so many women right now, she was just looking to clean up her grown-up, closed hair by tying it back until she can get a long-awaited trim.
But oh boy, the way she created that bit of lift at the top, right in the middle of her head. It meant she pulled on a fun and youthful ponytail that somehow still looked completely appropriate for a future queen.
The ponytail really has a moment. Let’s actually call it the power pony, because as Kate and indeed her sister-in-law Meghan have shown, it’s a simple style that can be worn in a variety of ways. And if you do it right, you really get a wow look.
Eternally youthful, thanks to those nostalgic schoolgirl connotations, there’s a power pony for any woman with long enough hair to tie back, whether you go for a high or low look.
It’s fun, but it also shows that you mean it, without loose hair flying over your face as a distraction.
Kate looked great this week, but the real queen of the ponytail will always be Meghan.
Of course I’m biased, it is my great honor to have styled the Duchess of Sussex’s hair on many of her high profile commissions, including her wedding.
Doing Meghan’s hair always felt like a collaboration. She knew what she wanted, which helpfully suited my own ideas for a thoroughly modern, yet very sophisticated look.
A running theme became the ponytail and she really made it her own.
I joined Meghan and Harry on their Australian tour in 2018. With so many daytime and leisure events, the ponytail served her well – relaxed, out of her face, and always appropriate to the situation.
BALLERINA BEAUTY: One of my all-time favorites, we created this look for Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, by blow-drying her hair back smoothly, then holding it with serum and snapping it back into low bangs. Avoid the low, loose pony look, which is terribly dated – you’re aiming for ballerina, not old lady
But perhaps the pony Meghan will be most reminded of here in the UK is the one I gave her for the night she and Harry performed their last public engagement – an award ceremony at the Mansion House in London – before they hit Britain left for a new, less – public life earlier this year.
Like so many people, I gasped when I saw those iconic photos of the couple taken under that umbrella, as the camera lights flashed through the raindrops like a scene from a movie. I was proud to once again have had the privilege of styling her hair for the occasion, a ponytail layer placed with a sleek and shiny texture.
It has always been so much fun working with Meghan – and I still look at those images and think, “Gosh, we really went out with a bang.”
When it comes to your own power pony, positioning is important; leave the uber high to your daughters, the cool twenties who look good with so much height and wave at their ponytail.
The center of the head is the safest bet if you’re over 30, because that placement is easy to carry regardless of your age group.
And remember, if you put it low, make sure it stays tight and tight. Otherwise, you could look like your grandma if you were going for chic.
Here’s my take on the famous ponytails of the moment:
LEFT: Nicole Kidman is a fan of both the low and high bangs, and there is a clear difference between the two. Lower down she looks older; higher she looks younger and more playful in her profile. High bangs are for the cool kids – which she manages to keep RIGHT: I’ve always loved putting Gwyneth Paltrow’s hair in bangs. It’s such a youthful look at her – and so natural. It seems to be an extension of her personality
LEFT: Taylor Swift shows you how to make a rock star ponytail. It’s wispy and flying away, and that fringe is a cool finishing touch. RIGHT: This is the kind of fringe I’d put on 27-year-old pop star Ariana Grande – and yet Jennifer Lopez, 50, pulls it off. She is a phenomenon. Don’t think J-Lo can do that, you can
LEFT: Here we have the perfect casual style – brushed into tight bangs loosely tongued for texture. Eva Longoria looks comfortable and effortlessly beautiful. RIGHT: I love Catherine Zeta-Jones, but I think these bangs are making her older. The dress is low-cut and sexy, and a more casual, undone ponytail would have balanced that out so much better. This is my least favorite pony look
LESS IS MORE: I love this Kate Beckinsale look less – it’s not one and the other. Is it a pony, is it an up-do – and what is that loose part about? Too much is happening