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Brandon Goodwin / TODAY.com
This is what a $50 ponytail, courtesy of New York's John Barrett Salon, looks like.
TODAY staff
updated 8/13/2012 11:56:18 AM ET 2012-08-13T15:56:18

“Fifty dollars for a ponytail? I could just buy a new head of hair for that kind of money.”

It’d be an understatement to say I doubted the premise of a salon that specialized in the esteemed art of gathering hair in a rubber band. Didn’t we already master that skill in middle school? What, are hair bands suddenly expensive? And what’s next, the headband salon?

The John Barrett Salon at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City — which introduced us last year to the “braid bar” — just opened a “ponytail bar” this month. The salon offers clients a wide array of fancy hairdos, everything from high to low to sideswept to Brigitte Bardot-inspired styles for a flat fee of $50. No washing or cutting. Just straight-up ponys. That’s it, folks.

“[The ponytail] is such a classic style, we've been seeing everyone wear them on the red carpet and fashion runways,” John Barrett, owner of John Barrett Salon, told TODAY.com. “It was a no brainer to offer ponytails to our clients.”

But is it worth the cost?

We here at TODAY.com decided to investigate.

Armed with my unwashed, angel hair pasta-thin hair, I set out to try out (and debunk) the buzzed-about services. As soon as I sat down, I was presented with a menu of over 30 celebrity-inspired hairdos, ranging from Gwyneth Paltrow to Blake Lively, who, as my stylist informed me, possesses the most requested style at the establishment.

Rina Raphael / TODAY.com
The John Barrett salon menu showcases a variety of ponytail styles worn by celebrities. I was trying to be Miranda Kerr on the bottom left hand corner.

I settled on Miranda Kerr’s retro, effortlessly sexy ponytail. Girl has a Victoria’s Secret contract, cute baby, and gets to cuddle with Orlando Bloom. (“I’ll have whatever she’s having.”)

A few spritzes, some bobby pins here and there, two tight bands and voila! Within just 10 minutes, I was sporting a full and elegant Oscar-worthy hairstyle. To me, this was one of the more appealing aspects: I wasn’t forced to spend an hour getting my hair done and stressing over what topic to next discuss with a hairstylist. I was in, out and ready to pretend I was the long lost member of The Supremes.

But others, however, think $50 is too much to spend a suds-free service. A few of my friends nodded in disbelief, lamenting “you didn’t even get your hair washed.” But I’m a big girl. I know how to wash my hair! I can do that easily at home. But I can’t make my hair do gravity-defying gymnastics. For that, I’d easily pay. And hey, if you went to a normal salon and asked for an updo, they’d likely charge in the same range.

Getty Images file
High vs. low: Ponytails are everywhere, as demonstrated by Zooey Deschanel and Kim Kardashian.

“To critics, I say this isn't ‘just a ponytail’”, Barrett said in defense of his salon’s on-the-go services. “It's a marriage of couture and education — each ponytail is fashioned to the client, and although it looks simple, it demands a certain skill. It's not a ponytail you're going to wear to the gym or grocery store — we know you can do that yourself. This is a ponytail for a night out, a special event, a big business meeting - something where you want to wow.”

After wearing my ponytail out and about — and having numerous friends and strangers comment on how awesome it looked (“you look like you actually have hair!”) — I’m afraid I agree: A good ponytail does take a certain skill, and one that I’m willing to pay for. And, it seems, so will others.

"The response has been amazing," Barrett said. "We have been getting a lot of appointments in such a quick amount of time since our launch."

What do you think? Would you ever pay $50 for a ponytail? (And do you think mine is a mild case of Stockholm syndrome?)

Rina Raphael is a TODAY editor hoping for buns to become the new ponytail, which were the new braids, which were the new bangs. (Anyone else exhausted keeping up?)

More from TODAY Beauty:
Born with just two fingers, mom finds beauty in imperfection
8 weird-but-cool uses for your beauty products
Entrepreneur: It’s OK to mix professionalism, pretty makeup

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Photos: The best of bold brows

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  1. Face-framing eyebrows

    Strong brows seem to be everywhere these days, from the catwalk to Hollywood's finest. Check out our brow bar of looks that really make a statement.

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    Actress Angelina Jolie's thicker-than-usual eyebrows are perfectly groomed for her appearance at this year's Academy Awards. (Ethan Miller / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Miranda Kerr

    Miranda Kerr's crystal-encrusted brows stole the show at Chanel's Fall/Winter 2012 show in Paris in March. (Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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    At London's Fashion Week in February, it was hard to find a model who didn't have full eyebrows. Here a model walks the runway during Antonio Berardi's London show. (Stuart Wilson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. David Koma

    This model's dark lipstick matches her face-framing eyebrows during the David Koma show at London's Fashion Week in February. (Facundo Arrizabalaga / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Camilla Belle

    Actress Camilla Belle's swept back hairdo and pastel frock highlight her dark, prominent brow at the Art of Elysium Gala at Union Station in January in Los Angeles. (John Shearer / Getty Images for Art of Elysium) Back to slideshow navigation
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    Actress Jennifer Connelly's full brows are so popular that one fan created a "Jennifer Connelly's Eyebrows" Facebook page. (Jemal Countess / WireImage) Back to slideshow navigation
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  15. Gwen Stefani

    Singer Gwen Stefani , pictured at the 20th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation's Oscar Viewing Party, isn't afraid to keep her eyebrows darker than her hair color. (Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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