Don't sweat the technique—getting a sky-high pineapple ponytail like Rihanna's should be as effortless as it looks. "I've done this look for Rihanna a few times, it's our go-to," says hairstylist Yusef Williams. "She loves it because it's very free like her, and it should feel pretty natural and easy." Williams emphasizes that this is a style best catered to the curly and wavy hair crowd, as you don't have to manipulate it into the right shape as much, and the look works on a variety of lengths, provided that you can get your layers into a ponytail without any strands falling out. Begin by gathering your hair into a ponytail that sits high on your crown, and once you've anchored it into place with an elastic, take individual pieces from the ponytail and begin pinning them forward to create your desired shape.
"All of the hair goes into the ponytail, but when you usually create one, all of the hair kind of falls behind you," he explains. "Instead of creating a ponytail and just letting it hang, I just grab the hair and pull pieces of it into the ponytail to create the foundation. Then, I pull a few curls to sprout out of the top." You can loosen up a few curls to frame the face, but make sure not to go too hard on the products. One of the biggest mistakes, according to Williams, is when too many things are used beforehand, which can make the style look contrived. "On Rihanna, I used an olive oil shea butter to smooth out the perimeter, then I used L'Oreal Elnett hairspray ($15; walmart.com) to secure the ponytail," he tells us. "That was pretty much it. Add in a few pins, then use a little shine spray on the ends."