Ponytail Facelifts? Here's What You Need to Know About the Trending Procedure

Written by Emilie Branch

A ponytail facelift takes snatched to the next level, permanently giving you that patented high pony look. If the procedure had a muse, it would have to be Ariana Grande, who has made the style her signature. When we found out about this procedure, we spent the better part of the afternoon pulling our hair back and noticing its effect on our eyes, and wondering what if? Of course, we had a million questions, so we reached out to plastic surgeon extraordinaire—a woman you can really trust with your face—Melissa Doft, MD.

Ponytail facelift guide | Mane Addicts
(Image Source: Getty / Jamie Grill)

About the Expert

Double board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Surgery and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College, Melissa Doft, MD specializes in a broad range of cosmetic and reconstructive treatments.

What Is a Ponytail Facelift?

“The goal of a ponytail facelift is to lift the midface and around the eyes to mimic the tightened appearance of your hair being held in a high tight ponytail,” notes Dr. Doft. Hair is actually key to creating this look. As Dr. Doft continues, “the procedure uses small incisions placed in the hairline to accomplish this.” As far as facelifts are concerned, this procedure leans more on the minimal side. “Unlike most facelifts, this does not address a sagging neck or jowls,” she explains. It really is all about the pony and its patented pulled-back effect.

The Benefits of a Ponytail Facelift

The main benefit of a ponytail facelift is that you’ll look a little more like Ariana Grande. “There is tightening of the eye, temple, and cheek areas,” explains Dr. Doft. What’s more, no one should be able to tell. “The incisions are small and hidden in the hairline,” she continues. As it’s definitely less involved than a full facelift, recovery is halved though the benefits are maximized. “It is a minimally invasive procedure so the operative time and recovery time are shorter,” she adds.

What Should You Expect When Getting a Ponytail Facelift?

“Expect small incisions hidden in the hairline and a conservative change to your eye, temple, and cheek area. The incisions are small so only a minimal amount of skin can be removed,” Dr. Doft notes. However, keep in mind that if you’re focused on heightening the lower portion of your face, this may not be the procedure for you. “A ponytail facelift will not address the jawline or neck which is typically what many facelift patients are concerned with,” she continues.

The Cost

Although the surgery is comparatively less invasive, it’s definitely not cheap. According to Dr. Doft, “prices are all over the place.” On average, the cost of a ponytail facelift ranges “from $7,500 to $25,000,” she explains. The biggest deciding factor on how much you pony up for the bill? It all depends on your location. Expect to pay more in New York than in Nebraska.

The Recovery

Though it may sound kind of intense (one of my favorite things is taking my ponytail out) Dr. Doft assures us that “it is not a very painful procedure.” This breaks down to fewer painkillers and less noticeable lesions that heal faster. “Most patients require pain medication for one to two days. You should expect bruising to last for a week. Sutures are removed after one week,” she says.

In terms of products, Dr. Doft has a specialized regimen for those under her care. “I recommend that my patients take arnica and bromelain for a week before the procedure and a week afterward. Use ice for 20 minutes on and then 20 minutes off for the first two days. I also recommend sleeping on your back and on two to three pillows for the first week,” she shares.