This U.S. Open-inspired braided ponytail is a grand slam

Dana Oliver
·Beauty Director

The women’s tennis players at the 2017 U.S. Open (we miss you, Serena!) have kept us on the edge of our seats with their incredible athleticism. They’ve also served up some braid inspiration — from Petra Kvitova’s knotted pony to Venus Williams‘s voluminous natural-hair bun.

Julien Farel has worked as the official hairstylist for the U.S. Open for 11 years. Tennis players, celebrities, and VIPs flock to his style suite at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, N.Y., in between matches to get their locks transformed into some of the hottest braided hairstyles.

We’re still in love with this heart-shaped braided pony Julien Farel style director Kevin Lee and junior stylist Aizhan Sembayeva created for the 2016 U.S. Open. So we went straight to Stunning Braids author and hairstylist Monaè Everett to show us how to get the look in this edition of Copy That.

Watch the video and follow along as Everett breaks down the simple steps to rock this braided ponytail on and off the tennis court. Then scroll down below for product suggestions and more tips.

Step-by-step instructions:

1. Part hair horizontally at the front with a rat-tail comb.

2. Create a “V” part at the center, starting at the hairline. Then part that section into three for cornrows.

3. Apply Redken Outshine 01 Anti-Frizz Polishing Milk to hair before braiding to achieve a firm grip and control frizz.

4. Start cornrow braiding with a very small plait in the middle and feed in hair as you work your way down into a full braid.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the left and right braids.

6. Gently pull braids apart to widen.

7. Use Lottabody Coconut & Shea Oils Control Me Edge Gel to slick back hairline.

8. Gather braids into topknot.

9. Brush bottom section and pull into a ponytail. Pro tip: Use a rat-tail comb for extra sleekness.

10. Undo topknot and combine braids into pony.

11. Secure with a hair elastic, wrap a small section of hair around to conceal, and pin.

12. Braid ponytail and secure end with an elastic. Pro tip: If your hair is full of loose layers, use a bit of hair gel like the Julien Farel Sculpting Gel or polishing milk to keep ends from sticking out.

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