Get Olivia Wilde’s ‘Cowboys And Aliens’ Cascading Ponytail Look!

Oliva Wilde wears her hair in a long tiered ponytail for the Berlin premiere of ’Cowboys and Aliens.’
Photo: WireImage

Holy moly, Miss Olivia Wilde. The problem with summer is that you start off really psyched and then mid-way through you start getting tired of all those florals and brights, and then towards the end you see all these inspirational ideas that you wish you saw EARLIER, before you started unpacking your sweaters. Olivia’s Cowboy And Aliens cascading ponytail is a voluminous twist on a seasonal staple. And what Olivia—whose beauty game is so airtight that she is the new face of Revlon—has going on here is not only inspired, but the textured, undulating pony is interesting and—get this—easy to pull off.

Fortunately we got you mid-way through August, so you’ve got the rest of the month (and well into fall) to try out this look. And since you only do things properly and with utmost professionalism, we contacted one of our favorite coif experts, celebrity stylist and extensions expert Ashley Hanna from NYC’s Mizu salon, to get the step-by-step for the cascading ponytail.


STEP 1: If you have bangs, separate them from your ponytail. Take a boar bristle round brush and blowdry bangs to the desired side or blowdry them straight across like Olivia has done.

STEP 2: Spray on your favorite smoothing spray for a light hold and to manage flyaways and potential frizz. Too much product will make your bangs greasy throughout the day/night.

If you do not have bangs and are feeling daring, add a clip-on bang. See your stylist who will be able to help match your color and cut the bangs in desired shape and style.

STEP 3: Next, pull your hair into a center ponytail and secure pony with a bungee that matches your hair color. Make sure that the ponytail is pulled tight.

If your ponytail is not the length you desire or not as thick as you would like it to be, add an extension ponytail (they can be purchased easily). The great thing about ponytail extensions is that there are no clips or clasps but rather a loop at the end which is looped to your natural ponytail and secured with an elastic band.

STEP 4: To create the cascading effect, use clear rubber bands. Start about one-inch away from the base of the ponytail and secure the first rubber band. Repeat this all the way down your ponytail until you reach the bottom. Finish about one-inch from the end and space them about an inch apart.

STEP 5: Take your fingers and lightly pull between each band (as if you are pulling a ponytail tight). The key is to make each of them look similar but not exactly perfect. Each size should be a bit off to give it an almost messy look!

STEP 6: To get that distressed look, take a flat brush and lightly brush up the ponytail on all sides. Make sure you do this very lightly so you don’t end up ruining the style. If you want a more polished look, skip brushing the ponytail and leave as is.

Hint: To finish the style pick out a ribbon of your choice — I love that Olivia’s matches her ribbon to her black dress but it’s also sometimes fun to use pops of color depending on the occasion — and wrap it around the base of the ponytail and secure with either bob pins or by tying off in a small knot and cutting the remaining slack.

STEP 7: Finish off with a light hairspray.” Bam. Ponytails for miles.

Thanks Ashley!

Like us on Facebook so we can be friends and follow us on Twitter @MTVstyle to talk.