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The Side Ponytail Is Back!

Updated on December 30, 2010

Remember this hairstyle from the 80s?

If you are a child of the 80s, you probably remember wearing this awesometastic 'do.

According to Urban Dictionary, the side ponytail was a pretty awesome hairstyle that was popular with girls in the late 1960s and again in the mid-1980s. Since I wasn't around during the 60s, I am focusing on how I saw the trend in the eighties. It was recently paid homage to by the movie Napoleon Dynamite in which Napoleon's love interest Deb (played by actress Tina Majorino, see photo on the left) sports it nicely.

Well guess what, the 'do has made a comeback! Please read on to see how it looked back in the eighties and what the updated side ponytail looks like now.

Photo is a screen grab from a scene in the 2004 flick Napoleon Dynamite

The 80s style side pony was a ponytail positioned high on either the left or right side of the head. It was commonly paired with heavily-gelled spiky bangs and huge colorful plastic earrings. Sometimes girls would sport it higher than usual, supported by layers of thick elastic bands or ribbon, like in the photo to the right.

And now, more than twenty years later, fashion blogs and magazines have reported that the side ponytail has made a comeback but in a subtler, softer and more elegant fashion. The updated version is positioned lower, just off center near the nape of the neck, as seen on Carrie Underwood in the photo below.

I personally think that the side ponytail is pretty and, if done in the updated version, classy and definitely more interesting than the regular pony. I never wore it high on my head back when I was a teen in the 80s although I do remember sporting it that way when I attended a retro costume party a few years ago.

(Photo credits: 80s high side pony / Carrie Underwood photo)

So... is this 'do from the 80s really back? Are you willing to wear it again, either in classic 80s fashion or with a contemporary spin? Please do share your thoughts here!

(Photo shared by StarMama on Flickr)

Will you wear the side ponytail?

Of course! It's totally rad.

Of course! It's totally rad.

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    • anonymous 4 years ago

      It's a really cute hairstyle without looking too childish. I'm a 90's kid, but still wear this today :)

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Yes its really cute i love the 80s but im not wearing up high i have one on right now nd it looks realy cute

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      i wear side pony tales to school all the time:) and i waer it up high like in the 80s i just love the 80s

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      Yeah I'm so gonna wear it it's super cute!!! ;)

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      yesss im wearing one right now and it looks awesome :))

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      yea maybe i like the one carroe underwood has

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      heck yeah! it's cute!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I let it hang lose! i love side pony-tails!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      YESSSS! if only my hair was longer.. -_-. Id wear it the 80s style way but not as high, I'd let the hair fall down to the side of my ear. If my hair was longer and I didn't have neck fat Id wear it this way ALL THE TIME! woo.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      HELLZ YA

    • wrinklestudent 5 years ago

      I love having a side pony. It keeps the hair out of my face and is super cute, but requires almost no effort.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      i like it

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      i where it to school every day and i have a pink streak in my hair

    • orange3 lm 5 years ago


    • anonymous 6 years ago


    • spider-girl 6 years ago

      Only when it is sleek straight, not with waves or crazy curls!

    • GrowWear 6 years ago

      I may just do that -- for old time's sake. :)

    • anonymous 7 years ago

      Hellz yeah!

    • HorseAndPony LM 7 years ago

      Yep but the updated version and a French Braid on the side.

    • anonymous 7 years ago

      totally! teens in my grade love the high 80's side ponytail! love it (:

    • Laniann 7 years ago

      I agree with you the updated version is classy and more interesting than the regular ponytail.

    • Cynthia Arre 7 years ago from Quezon City

      Why not? I have, back in the day, and I'm pretty sure I will again! (:

    No way, Jose.

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      • StellaSingles 6 years ago

        no, but I think it looks good one some girls.

      • azac 6 years ago

        I don't think it was meant for a guy.

      • lovelylashes 6 years ago

        Honestly, I think it is so ugly, especially when worn high on the head! The new look is better but my bra strap length hair just doesn't do it justice.

      • Jimmie Lanley 7 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

        Not now! But then -- oh yeah!

      • Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

        I think I'll stick with the alligator clip in the back of the head 'do. Somehow, whenever I tried a side-tail back in the day, it always migrated toward the back of my head. Weird.

      • anonymous 7 years ago

        no - for sure not ;) My hair is long enough for that, but I never liked that hairstyle.

      • justholidays 7 years ago

        No way! I remember this ponytail... I was called "Karen Cheryl"; because people thought I was looking like the French singer... Eeeek! No, never any more or... oh wel... I don't know, lol.

      How to wear the side ponytail, 80s style

      Brave enough to wear it the eighties way? Follow these tips.

      It's fairly easy to sport the side ponytail in 80s fashion, just follow these tips:

      1. Twirl your hair around a curling iron. Better yet, crimp some angular waves into it. Remember, curly hair was in vogue during that decade.

      2. Gather all of your hair into one side and secure it with an elastic band. If your hair isn't long enough, you may also slather on some styling mousse first so that the style will hold.

      3. Secure all stray hairs in place with colored bobby pins.

      Here's a selection of scrunchies and banana clips which were totally awesome ponytail holders back in the 80s. Wear your high side ponytail loud and proud with these colorful retro hair accessories.

      (Photo from Bella Sugar)

      How to wear the updated side ponytail

      Three stylish and contemporary looks you can try out!

      Tutorial 1: A simple side ponytail with a twist - A pretty and elegant update to the retro side ponytail.

      This side ponytail is positioned lower on the head and features an easy and elegant twist. It is then accessorized with a jewel-crusted ponytail holder. Check out the short video for the instructions.

      Tutorial 2: A quick and stylish side ponytail - Another cute update to the 80s side pony.

      This side ponytail is quite different in that it begins with a half ponytail. The rest of the hair is then gathered toward it with a jaw clip. Watch the short tutorial for the instructions.

      Tutorial 3: A braided side ponytail - A sophisticated look you can wear to parties and other formal events.

      This style starts with a french braid up on one side of the head which ends on the nape of the opposite side. Very chic and elegant. Watch the tutorial below.

      Add a touch of romance to your side ponytail - Get romantic, flowy curls with the Conair CD82ZCS Instant Heat 1-1/4-Inch Curling Iron.

      Ever wanted flowing, princess-style curls? This curling iron is the answer.

      Conair CD82ZCS Instant Heat Curling Iron, 1.25 Inch
      Conair CD82ZCS Instant Heat Curling Iron, 1.25 Inch

      Conair's 1-1/4-inch curling iron is ideal for creating those big bouncing curls. Featuring dual voltage settings, the iron lets you select either standard North American 125-volt or 250-volt foreign electricity operation, so you can use your curler when you're traveling abroad. Its sure-grip handle has a patented design for greater control and precision, and the electronic on/off touch pad is easy to use.


      More Side Ponytail Tutorial Videos

      Here are a few more tutorial videos on how to fashion cute and chic side ponytails. Watch all of them and be an expert in no time at all. If you have or know of other tutorial videos, feel free to add them to the list.

      Listen to "Side Ponytail" - An 80s style punk rock track by indie pop band The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

      The Pains of Being Pure At Heart are an indie pop band from New York City and their 2009 single "Come Saturday" was released along with B-side "Side Ponytail", a short chainsaw buzzing pop song wherein singer Kip Berman declares "Side pony tail forever!". Do you agree?

      Share your thoughts here! Feedback on this page is most welcome too.

      What do you think of the side ponytail? - Are you set to welcome this trend back?

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        • profile image

          AmyLOrr 3 years ago

          I really enjoyed this lens! :) Some girls look amazing with the side ponytail but I am not one of them :(

        • profile image

          cyberjob008 5 years ago

          I do not like side ponytails, but they look good on some people. It depends.

          Check out latest hairstyles> on

        • StellaSingles profile image

          StellaSingles 6 years ago

          great lens, some of those pictures were just hilarious.

        • profile image

          GrowWear 6 years ago

          The side pony tail coming back is nice, but if they come back with those bangs from the 80s, well, I might just run and hide. :D

        • ClaudeKinney LM profile image

          ClaudeKinney LM 7 years ago

          Excellent Lens!! I enjoyed reading it.

          I'd Love for you to visit my lens & give me some feedback.

          Best Flat Iron

          Straightening Iron

          flat irons

          turbo flat iron

        • eclecticeducati1 profile image

          eclecticeducati1 7 years ago

          lol!!! Wow! I so remember this. Yes, i wore my hair like that at times and thought it was so cool. lol!!! I can't believe it is making a comeback. Great lens. Blessed by an Angel.

        • HorseAndPony LM profile image

          HorseAndPony LM 7 years ago

          Love this lens. I like the updated version but think the old version looks cute on younger kids.

        • jimmielanley profile image

          Jimmie Lanley 7 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

          Oh my word! Too fun! Yes, I admit I've worn the side ponytail. Those banana clips would never hold my hair. It's too find and slippery. But a tightly banded ponytail -- oh yeah!Thanks for the memories. (high school class of 1988)

        • profile image

          julieannbrady 7 years ago

          I'm thinking I'm "just about there" for a two-sided ponytail. How to take 10-20 years off your life with a rubberband. ;)

        • kerbev profile image

          kab 7 years ago from Upstate, NY

          I know a 4 year old who loves her hair in a side ponytail. I think it is the influence of the TV show Hi-5 on her sense of fashion.

        • Ramkitten2000 profile image

          Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

          Yeah, okay, the updated version looks pretty ... but what we were thinking back in the 80's?? Yikes!

        • profile image

          anonymous 7 years ago

          Great lens :) I would not wear that hairstyle - but it was really interesting to read the lens.

        • LoKackl profile image

          LoKackl 7 years ago

          Starting out I thought "the side ponytail" would be all tongue-in-cheek - - but, very instructive, entertaining and yes, I think I agree the new incarnations of the 80s version are much more attractive! thanks!

        • justholidays profile image

          justholidays 7 years ago

          I often wear a ponytail but never a side one since the 80s! But I think ponytails are a nice way to arrange our long hair.

          Very nice lens and pleasant trip in the 80s!!!


        • poptastic profile image

          Cynthia Arre 7 years ago from Quezon City

          @jptanabe: You are so funny, Jennifer! And yes I'm sure you'll look very pretty, just like Carrie! (:

        • jptanabe profile image

          Jennifer P Tanabe 7 years ago from Red Hook, NY

          Oh yes! I often stick my hair in a ponytail, but if I do the side thing it'll look like I'm being fashionable - wonderful! I'm sure I'll look just like Carrie Underwood!

        • poptastic profile image

          Cynthia Arre 7 years ago from Quezon City

          @Laniann: Hi Lani, yeah I was actually thinking of doing that to my hair tomorrow! Thanks for the kind words and for visiting! (:

        • Laniann profile image

          Laniann 7 years ago

          Very well done with lots of good video instructions. The updated side ponytail looks very nice.

        • poptastic profile image

          Cynthia Arre 7 years ago from Quezon City

          @Kapalbility: Correct, Roth, you're too young to have witnessed it LOL. But no worries, you will see it in action since the trend seems to be coming back! Thanks for stopping by (:

        • profile image

          Kapalbility 7 years ago

          Haha. This is hilarious. I did not witness the side pony, but this lens is a barrel of laughs.

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          Cynthia Arre 7 years ago from Quezon City

          @indigoj: Thanks for stopping by Nicki! Yes, those 80s side ponies are really something, aren't they? (; I don't mind wearing the contemporary version now as well. (:

        • indigoj profile image

          Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

          Great fun! I definitely prefer the more modern looking side ponytail - but back in the '80s it would probably have looked a bit half-hearted if the other pics are anything to go by! This will be a fantastic resource for fancy dress parties as well as for those wanting to try the modern version. :)

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          Cynthia Arre 7 years ago from Quezon City

          @Sylvestermouse: Haha I'm glad you enjoyed this lens Cynthia! Thank you so much for stopping by and for sharing your cute side ponytail anecdotes! You should hang those (adorable, I'm sure) photos of both you and your daughter sporting the hairstyle side by side! (:

        • Sylvestermouse profile image

          Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

          I have to tell you that I exploded with laughter over these pictures! I was alive in both the 60's and the 80's, I have a picture of myself wearing the side ponytail in my aunts wedding in the 60's and I definitely remember my daughter sporting that hairstyle in the 80's. My daughter has that in common with Carrie Underwood. They can do anything with their hair and still be beautiful! This is a great lens!