Braiding is one of the prettiest and easiest hairstyles to learn, and when you step into fishtail braid territory, we promise the intricate style only looks intimidating. “Fishtail braiding is all about repetition and is easy to do at home,” says Aussie celebrity stylist Sarah Potempa. Before getting into the braiding process, Potempa recommends prepping hair by applying Aussie You Can Shine Smoothing Gel for a polished and clean look or Total Miracle 7N1 Dry Shampoo for a loose, textured look. Here, she gives us a play-by-play for mastering the art of a fishtail braid, plus nine other iterations to inspire ways of wearing it. Be sure to follow her on Instagram for tons of braid inspiration as she takes on #365daysofbraids.
- Begin by dividing hair into two sections.
- Take a small piece of hair from the back of the left section of hair, bring over the left section and add to the right section.
- Repeat on the other side, taking a small piece of hair from the back of the right section, bringing it over the right section and adding to the left.
- Continue doing this motion all the way down the braid, taking a new small piece of hair each time.
- Secure the ends with an elastic.
Fishtail Crown Braid
Crown braids are ideal for long hair and although they take a little bit more time to whip up, the look is beautifully romantic. This specific fishtail gets the Dutch treatment and there’s a video tutorial from the master herself.
Mini Fishtail Braids
This playful take on a side fishtail is so easy and a total conversation starter (everyone thinks it’s tougher to create than it looks). Simply braid a small section, secure it with a small, clear elastic and repeat two to four times, depending on your hair’s length.
Messy Fishtail Braid Bun
Got third-day hair and don’t feel like washing it? No problem — this simple and undone chignon has you covered. Just section hair into two pieces on either side of your head (like pigtails), braid away, secure each with an elastic and then twist one into the shape of a bun and do the same with the second braid, and just overlap it with the first.
Half-Up Fishtail Braid
Embrace a center part and wear half of your hair down by opting for this understated style that connects two thin fishtails from either side of your head in the back. It’s reminiscent of that really cute bobby pin style we loved so much last fall, but with a braided update.
Fishtail Braid-Wrapped Bun
Accessorize a ballerina bun by wrapping a skinny fishtail (or two) around the base for a touch of elegance. To achieve this, gather hair into a ponytail and separate a small section of hair to braid. Then tie the loose strands into a bun and wrap your leftover fishtail strand around and secure in the back with a bobby pin.
Double Fishtail Braid
If you’re in a time crunch and want a pretty, effortless style, create two fishtail braids next to one another separately and join them together halfway to create a single ending point and secure with an elastic. Just make sure to start the secondary braid slightly beneath where the first one (along the hairline below) starts, so it looks more seamless. The best part is that this can work on any hair length, as long as it’s at least chin-length.
Fishtail Braid Side Updo
Whether you’re going to a wedding or wanting to dress up your look for an evening out, a fishtail can easily transform into an elegant updo. It can also look as sleek or messy as you’d like — just add styling products accordingly. Braid hair to one side and once it’s complete, pull the actual braid so that it is wide and loosened up before twisting it into a bun and pinning it.
Fishtail Braid Pony
Update a traditional ponytail by weaving a fishtail on one side of your head into the tail that begins as a cornrow. Pull on the braid to give it a textured and messy look that will complement a wavy mane.
Simple Side Fishtail Braid
Add a pop of color to a simple side plait by adding in a thin, neon strand that begins at the root. Use one for a subtle hint of color or a handful for a statement-making effect.