Pigtail offset describes how far the pigtail protrudes from the bearer's head. It is defined as the distance from the head surface to the pigtail baseline at the point where the baseline orientation first coincides with the tangent to the head surface (see fig. a). The offset is expressed as a percentage of the width of the pigtailed girl's head.

fig. a: offset

Offset values are influenced by factors like pigtail length, hair rigidity, bundled fraction and the choice of pigtail holder.

The offset value plays an important role in determining the overall attraction exerted by the pigtails. The pigtail's bouncing motion demands a minimum offset value of about 10%. Extremely high offset values tend to look a bit ridiculous.

high offset
fig. c: high offset
low offset
fig. b: low offset

In the case of very short pigtails, the slope of the pigtail baseline is never equal to that of the head surface (see fig. b). However, by extrapolating the pigtail curve along an imaginary line, one could find a point on that line which would define the offset. Offset values like these are referred to as 'virtual offset' values. Fig. d shows an example of a set of pigtails with virtual offset.

virtual offset
fig. d: virtual offset

Virtual offset values tend to be higher than 'real' offsets. Since pigtails with virtual offset also have large spring buffers, in theory their bouncing capacity is large. However, the bounce frequency of such pigtails is rather high, due to their limited mass, thus reducing the bouncing motion to a low amplitude vibration.