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How to Nail the Pigtail, According to Sabrina Porsche and Shay Mitchell

Nailing the pigtail is an art form not many have mastered. Luckily, hairstylist Sabrina Porsche and actress Shay Mitchell put together the ultimate tutorial. With just a couple of products, this dynamic duo created the ultimate pigtail aesthetic. Complete with a smooth center part and face-framing tendrils. And with this killer tutorial, you too can nail these super chic strands. So read on as we break down this iconic how-to.


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A post shared by Shay Mitchell (@shaymitchell)

Step 1: Brush Out and Add Oil

The first step to nailing this iconic look is maintaining a freshly-brushed mane. Use a detangling tonic to fully remove all knots and snarls before beginning the styling process. A hydrating dry oil also adds a little bit of pre-pigtial shine.

Step 2: Sectioning and Center Parting

Nailing the center part is absolutely essential to this aesthetic. To get the dead-center, straight-line part, Sabrine uses a rat tail comb. First, she holds the comb parallel to Shay’s nose in order to find the actual center of her face. Then, she uses the end of the rat tail comb to part her tresses.

Once she has the perfect part in place, Sabrina sections Shay’s strands into three equal pieces. Starting at the top of Shay’s ear, Sabrina pushes the comb up at a diagonal to create the pigtail section. She copies this process on the other side to create two sections for this half-up pigtail style.

Sectioning and Center Parting how to do pigtails | Mane Addicts

Step 3: Extensions

Clip-in extensions are the real secret to this gorgeous mane moment. To add a little bit of volume, Sabrina adds just a few clip-in extensions to the half-down section of Shay’s hair. These easy-to-attach extensions are ideal if you’re replicating this look at home. Simply hit the target strands with a little bit of hairspray, back-comb, and attach the extension. Easy, peasy.

Extensions how to do pigtails | Mane Addicts

Step 4: The Tendrils

Before putting the actual pigtails together, you’ve got to get those face-framing strands out of the way. Follow Sabrina’s lead: use a rat tail comb to separate two equal-sized sections on either side of the part. Clip in place so they’re out of the way.

Step 5: Smooth Those Strands and Secure

A little bit of hair gel never hurt anyone. Start with one side. Apply your favorite hair gel to the top of the strands and smooth out as you pull the hair back into a pony. Once the strands are smooth and in position, secure with an elastic. Sabrina uses a hair bungee as opposed to a hair tie, but either one will work. Once complete, repeat this process on the opposite side.

Smooth Those Strands and Secure | Mane Addicts

Step 6: Wrap Your Hair

You’re going to want to hide that hair elastic for a truly chic look. Sabrina uses a crochet hook to wrap a tiny piece of hair around the elastic and secure it under the pony. This takes some serious skill, but the result is on point.

Step 7: Texture Time

You can take these ponytails in a number of directions from here. From super sleek strands to beachy waves, half-up pigtails look ultra-cool any which way you style them. Here, Sabrina applies a thermal guard before using an iron to add some simple curls.

And last but not least, hit the fringe with the iron as well, curling away from the face. This gives just a little bit of wave to those trendy tendrils.

Texture Time | Mane Addicts

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