Red Carpet Hair Hits And Misses

Kelly Atterton's 3 steps to the perfect ponytail.

When I learned the subject of the elimination challenge -- to create a red carpet hairstyle -- I got nervous. Though the term refers to special occasion hair at its very best (like Charlie's gorgeous screen-goddess waves and Gail's inspired updo), inevitably, at any event, there will always be hairstyles that should have stayed in the limo. (Celebs, relax -- I won't name names!) And it turned out I was right to be worried: Overly elaborate updos (Nicole's "Asian bridezilla" style), pageant hair (Matthew's limp curls), and what-was-she-thinking wild styles (Paulo's spooky, teased creation) maybe shouldn't have seen the light of day.

THE ALLURE ADVANTAGE You know the fussy, overcurled 'do you created for your prom? Yeah. Now that you're all grown up, your special occasions are probably a lot more sophisticated, and your hair should be, too. One of Allure's favorites is the low ponytail. If you're thinking "Ponytail?! That's too casual!" I have two words for you: Grace Kelly. Her interpretation of the low ponytail was sleek, not like what you'd wear for Pilates. Here, some pointers:

Step One. Begin with clean, straight hair. After misting the hair with a lightweight shine spray, brush it through from root to tip with a paddle brush. Use a snag-free elastic to secure the ponytail just above the nape of your neck.

Step Two. Now this is the fancy part! Pull a small section of hair from underneath the ponytail (about the width of a pencil), and lightly coat that piece with just a smidge of pomade. Wrap the hair around the elastic band as many times as you can, and then use a bobby pin to attach the end to the underside of the elastic.

Step Three. As a finishing touch, curl the ponytail. Divide into three separate sections. Mist each with hairspray before wrapping it around a one-inch barrel curling iron, hold for 15 seconds, and unroll. Do this for the remaining sections, then twirl the entire ponytail around three fingers and watch as it magically forms one curl. If you feel like you can't wear this style to a special event, at least heed Jaclyn's warning from the end of the show -- stop playing it safe!

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