Toddlers, Tiaras, and ‘Tails: What You Need to Know About Toddler Hair

You’ve waited and waited. And finally, your toddler girl has enough hair to style!

Perhaps you put one of those big baby bows on her head so people would stop asking you if you had a boy. But now, you can leave those floppy things behind and step up to real hairstyles for toddlers.

Lil girl ponytail styles are the easiest to do at this point. I remember looking for easy little girl ponytail hairstyles when my eldest’s hair started getting long enough to style.

I was so excited. I really was. I searched the markets while we were in China to find cute toddler ponytail holders, barrettes, clips…you name it! And you know what?

She’d just yank it right out of her hair.


But soon, she stopped this habit of wrecking all my hard hair work and would leave it alone. I can’t give you a timeframe for this, but I can tell you…try to style your toddler’s hair and if she undoes it, maybe spend a little less time and use fewer accessories until she’s more ready for it.

Today, I want to talk about toddler ponytail styles because they’re pretty much the easiest thing to do with those little bits of hair. I’ll explain more below, so keep reading!

Are ponytails bad for toddlers?

Ponytails aren’t necessarily bad for toddlers. But they’re not good for daily use. With little ones, toddler hair is more fragile. You’ll need to handle it with care. My friend Daysha, a stylist and mom to 3 adorable little girls, also says black toddler ponytail styles can be problematic for this tender hair growth.

Little girl playing with water in an inflatable pool

So, black, white, or otherwise, handle all toddler hair with care. I know it’s tempting with all those videos of cute hairstyles out there. But take it from someone who tried it with her eldest…

  1. They will yank it out.
  2. That is if they actually sit through the entire process.
  3. Some of the accessories can be choking hazards.
  4. Repeated styling can damage the hair.
  5. It will give them something else to whine about.

Let me further elaborate here with the whining. Because some hairstyles pull at the scalp, it stresses the hair follicles and can impact hair growth. But your child is likely to complain if the style is too tight. So, in addition to potential hair loss, wacky hair growth, and breakage, it may lead to headaches.

And toddlers with headaches are no fun. That’s especially true if you have a headache yourself (I speak from experience).

Toddler styles and accessories to avoid

While a simple ponytail on your toddler’s hair every other day isn’t a big deal (as long as you use gentle hair accessories and don’t pull the hair too tight), there are a few more things to know about what to avoid.


With black hair, Daysha says lots of moms try extensions. Kid ponytails with a weave aren’t a good idea, though, because they add stress to the crown and hairline. If done right, it can look great, but you should consult an expert like Daysha to use lightweight extensions that won’t pull and cause discomfort that leads to headaches or breakage of the hair.

Toddler ponytails with beads

Regardless of ethnicity, beads should be used carefully. Beads woven into the hair look gorgeous, as do those toddler hair accessories with beads on them. But they can pose a bit of a danger in the way of head trauma. Beads woven into hair will certainly be hard to get out for toddlers to swallow accidentally, but the ones on hair accessories allow for easier access. It’s wise to wait until your child is just a bit older to add toddler ponytails with beads.

Tight styles

Toddler girl hairstyles with multiple ponytails look adorable, but they can cause damage all around the head when you do them too tightly. This is true for ponytails and those precious puffs. It’s not that you can’t put a tight style in, but try not to pull it too tight. And NEVER do the same style too many days in a row. This will thin the edges of the hair, so switch it up. I should mention this also applies to French braids… don’t do anything too tight!


When it comes to lil girl ponytail styles, barrettes are often a bad idea in toddlers and babies. They will pull at them, whether they like the barrettes or not. It’s just how toddlers roll. You can certainly try them while taking care not to put them in a place that can pull at the hair and cause breakage. But if your toddler keeps yanking them out, it’s best to tuck the barrettes away until she’s a bit bigger and ready for them.


Headbands are adorable with toddler ponytails! The only problem is that some are too tight and can pull strands along the hairline. The hair along the edges that frame your daughter’s beautiful face is finer and much more fragile. If you really want to use headbands to help keep errant hairs out of her face and/or complete that cute toddler ponytail hairstyle, look for one that is made for her age range.

Rubber bands

Don’t ever use rubber bands in your hair! I mean this for all kinds of hair too. Your hair, their hair, coarse hair, thin hair…you name it. They pull and tug, and it’s too easy for hair to get tangled around them. You have to cut the rubber bands out of the hair to avoid damage. Just try to get a toddler to sit still for that one…eek!

How do you put a ponytail on a toddler?

lil girl ponytail on the making

So by now, you might be wondering how to put a ponytail on a toddler. Aside from toddler ponytail holders and a brush, what else do you need? It’s different than putting a ponytail in your hair.

No matter how long or short, curly or straight your child’s hair is, these tips will help you get a ponytail in place!

  • Find the natural growth pattern

Toddler hair grows in unusual ways sometimes. So, take a look at this natural growth pattern. Find the place where her hair is the thickest. It may be on top of her head or at the back of her head. Wherever it is, that’s the sweet spot for toddler ponytails.

  • Use the right hair products

A soft-bristled baby hairbrush is an excellent choice though I like this set here that gives you a comb, soft brush, and wet brush to make life a whole lot easier. Additionally, you’ll need some sort of band or scrunchie to hold the ponytail in place. I’ll have some toddler ponytail holder suggestions listed for you below.

  • Find a spot to style her hair

My eldest would bound off in a flash when I’d try to brush her hair. That was before I ever had a chance to put it in a ponytail. I’d grab the brush, and she’d be gone. She’d hide under the table, and when I’d find her, she’d run off to another spot.


Anyway, I found my best success for brushing her hair, and eventually styling it was getting her into an area that restricted her from escape. I’d give her something to entertain her too. She would sit still if I gave her some of those board books to look at. You can try that too, or give her a favorite toy to play with while she sits still.

I’d have her sit in my lap, but you can sit your child anywhere that is comfortable. Those are the key aspects here – no escape, comfortable seats, and entertainment. This will make it much more likely for your child to sit still without wiggling and jiggling.

  • Brush and swoop

Once your child is sufficiently entertained and seated, grab the brush and brush her hair with one hand. With the other hand, swoop in to gather the hair. Don’t worry about those shorter hairs that are still growing out. Only gather up the longest pieces of her hair. You’ll want to smooth out the bumps with the brush.

  • Wrap it

Once the hair is gathered and smoothed, use your chosen toddler ponytail holders to secure it. Depending on your child’s hair texture and thickness, you may need to wrap it 3 or 4 times.

  • For toddler girl hairstyle with multiple ponytails

When my eldest would sit still more and look forward to me styling her hair, I’d do pigtails (that’s 2 ponytails on either side of the head), or I’d do a double-pony where I’d gather a top section of hair and secure it, then gather the hair below into a ponytail and secure it to the other ponytail.

As her hair got longer, I’d section off the ponytails to give them an almost-braided look. Daysha would put multiple ponytails around her daughters’ heads too, but not until they would sit still for it. She said it was all she could do to get any of them to sit in place for just one ponytail.

If you want to try these styles, go with a ponytail first and see how it works out. Some girls love to have their hair styled from the get-go, while others just won’t have any of it. Be patient and try not to worry. They will soon come to you and ask you to put their hair up.

And in the case of my youngest, she’s doing her own hair! I was shocked one morning to find her already dressed up and with her hair completely done. I assumed her sister fixed her hair, but my eldest was just as astonished. My little one had done it herself, though she definitely wants Mommy to do it when it comes to braids and other styles.

Hair accessories for ponytails for toddlers

For black toddler ponytail hairstyles and everyone else alike, the best toddler ponytail holders are the kind that won’t tug and tear at hair. Goody’s Ouchless bands are an excellent choice because they come in tons of colors, plus they give you a ton of them, so it’s no big thing if you lose them.

And lose them you will, for they seem to be like socks. I can buy a giant thing of them (socks too), and I swear they’re gone within a month. “Girls, where are those hair ties?” “I can’t find any, Mommy!” Sigh.

These seamless baby hair ties are another option for a thicker look. And I love the pom-poms. I personally waited until my girls were a bit bigger before using these. When I used them on my eldest, my little one kept trying to yank them out of her hair.

If you want to add barrettes, try something that is wrapped, so there’s no metal or roughness to tear at the hair. These barrettes are just adorable!

And if your toddler has thicker or longer hair, you can go with a classic…the scrunchie! Scrunchies are my favorite thing to put in my girls’ hair even now because they don’t tug and rip at the hair. These velvet scrunchies will be gentle.

Basically, whatever you put into your child’s hair should not tug, pull, or tear the hair. You should never style too tightly or do the same styles every day. By keeping that in mind, you’ll have a better time styling your toddler’s hair.

Don’t force a style because you like it either. If your toddler doesn’t like having a ponytail, she may want something else. One of my personal favorites is the half-up ‘do. It’s something my youngest still loves, while my eldest favors keeping her long hair down and flowing. Good luck!

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