We tried TikTok’s viral ‘no hair tie’ ponytail hack to see if it really works

TikTok has blessed us with shortcuts and hacks for almost anything — it’s truly Gen Z’s Yahoo Answers.

Recently a TikTok trend went viral showing that there could be a way to pull back long hair into a ponytail when you don’t have a nearby hair elastic or headband. Anyone who has been in a situation where they desperately needed one — whether it suddenly got too hot outside, you sat down to take a test and realize you forgot one, etc. — understands that this could be a major gamechanger … if it works.

We asked editors at In The Know with different hair lengths, textures and thickness to tell us whether this hack really works.

Julia Webb, who has slightly wavy and thick hair, says —

I have very long hair and can usually get these sorts of hacks to work (I can braid my hair without a hair tie, but that’s another story), but this ponytail would just not hold for me. I can successfully wrap the loop of hair around my ponytail twice but when I let go, it just unravels.

I do think this hack could work if I had sprayed a bunch of dry shampoo or texture spray in my hair beforehand, but I would not recommend if you have a freshly washed mane.

Lisa Azcona, who has naturally curly hair that’s on the thinner side, says —

I literally had to watch the video a million times to recreate the look. But, it did not work on my hair (sadly). My hair is too thin when it’s straight, so the knots just feel apart and came undone.

I think it could work on thicker hair. Perhaps it would’ve stayed in pace if my hair was curly. This would be a dream come true though because there have been many times when I’ve wanted to tie my hair and there’s no hair tie in sight.

Jamé Jackson, who has thick, blonde locs, says —

Seeing this hack intrigued me mostly because I have thick hair that tends to break hair ties. As someone who never really had long hair her entire life, I am finally encountering #longhairproblems — like my hair catching in my purses, my dogs seeing it as a chew toy, breaking hair ties, not fitting into hats, etc. The hack seemed simple enough, but unfortunately, I encountered some problems.

This hack may work if you have more fine/thin hair like the TikToker, but when you are working with thickness, texture and a lot of volume … Baby, good luck. It was hard enough making the loop to get the rest of my hair into, let alone a second loop. After struggling for over 15 minutes to do this, I soon realized my hair wasn’t a beautiful TikTok hack but rather an example of what a bird’s nest in human form could look like. (Editor’s note: This is simply not true.)

Do I think this hack can work? Absolutely. But does it work for all hair types? Negative. Sorry TikTok, I’ll have to keep hunting for more hair tips.

Alex Lasker, who has very thick and wavy hair, says —

I tried the hack and it very tepidly worked. For context, I have very thick, wavy hair so even proper hairbands rarely stand a chance against my pony tails. So I didn’t expect my own hair to be able to hold itself up.

The hack did allow me to pull my hair off my neck into a very colonial-looking ‘do, which would be a godsend on a hot summer day if I was in dire need. But there is no way this hack would hold up if I needed a ponytail holder before a workout. And I would NEVER use this if I was actually trying to look cute.

(Editor’s note: Alex is internet famous for her commentary on ponytails.)

Holly Wang, who has naturally straight hair that she describes as “slippery,” says —

First of all, a little bit of background about me and my hair: I have naturally straight hair. I would love to say that my hair has a lot of volume, but I don’t know anything about hair, and my hair texture is very, very, very slippery. The only thing that’s ever worked with my hair is my old-fashioned and effortlessly chic black skinny elastic hair ties from the dollar store.

It took me about 15 minutes to learn how to take one strand of my hair in a loop and pull the other one through. My hair just kept falling off of my hands — I also have small hands, so I even had a bit problem of holding all of my hair in my hand. When I finally nailed that part, I couldn’t twist and wrap it one more time because some of my fuzzy little hair just ran away from my finger, again. Then when I was finally done, the final look didn’t last longer than three seconds because I couldn’t hold it tight, at all.

I also asked my roommate, who’s also Chinese but is way better at hairstyling than I am, to try this trick, and I was surprised (and somewhat comforter) to find that we had the same problem — our hair was too slippery. 

Looks like this hair hack might only work for very specific hair types. For now, we’ll keep our hair ties on our wrists (and in our purses and on our desks and lost somewhere in our bed and on the bathroom floor).

Love beauty hacks as much as we do? Use this one-step beauty hack to revive dried-out mascara and save money.

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