Small tweak, big difference: the ponytail

With transitioning, sometimes the difference between passing and being clocked comes down to something really minor. Today’s example is very much one of those. What is this magic bullet? The way you style a ponytail.

I was hanging out with a friend earlier and made a slight suggestion about the way she styles her hair. Honestly I was surprised at the difference it made. She’s quite a sporty, active woman, and likes to have her hair out of her face. Typically, she pulls it back to a ponytail at the nape of her neck, leaving it parted in the middle.

A lot of women, trans and cis, wear their hair like this. So what’s the problem?

Well, it’s a minor tweak but when men with long hair wear their hair in ponytails, this is how they tend to style it. If you have a masculine hairline and bone structure in your face, then wearing your hair like this will emphasise it. So to improve how well you pass, I recommend styling it slightly differently.

The typical, feminine way of doing a ponytail, and the way that works better for trans women, is to brush your hair back, pulling it into a ponytail at least halfway up the back of your skull, or higher. Basically, the higher the pony, the more feminine the look. You want the hair to be pulling straight back from the crown, not swept downwards with the parting.

Before you do this, though, be aware of your hair line. If you have an ‘M’ or square-shaped hairline, then this will affect how you style your hair. If you have a more masculine hairline, leave the front strands of your hair to hang down, thus disguising the hairline shape. Start brushing backwards from a point slightly further back on your head.

Alternatively, if you really can’t stand having hair in your face, then pull your hair back into a ponytail, and then take your fingers up to your hairline, on either side of your face, and loosen the hair slightly at this point, so it is a bit less sleek, and therefore helps to disguise the hair line a little more.

The difference this makes is striking – pulling your hair backwards like this helps to open out your face a bit more and create a ‘lifted’ impression, which is overall more feminine. Plus, it’s a more feminine ponytail style, rather than the more masculine/androgynous down-swept style, and those little tweaks are all you need to make a big difference.

If you think I might be able to help you achieve your transition goals, please contact me to set up an initial consultation.

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