fishtail braid
Image: Moskalenko Yuliya / Shutterstock

With its almost ethereal effect, it’s almost intimidating to learn how to fishtail braid. But really, it takes a little less than reading this whole article for you to copy the whole look. It is not clear when this type of hairstyle was developed, but it seems to originate from the French Braid in the late 19th Century.

But there’s a little bit of difference because the French braid makes use of three sections of the hair tied together, whereas, leaning how to fishtail braid requires two sections.

The beauty of the braid is its intricacy. It might look that you spent a lot of hours doing your hair when it takes only minutes in actuality with only a single hair tie as an accessory.

There are many variations of the braid that have been used by women throughout history. Among the list is the Dutch braid (also known as the reverse French braid), the upside down braid, the milkmaid braid, the crown braid, rope braid, dual texture, halo braid, the waterfall, chain link, spiral, lobster, boho, and the skeleton braid.

In fact, when you get right down to it, there are countless ways to braid your hair. Only our imagination is the limit. For this article, we are focusing on how to fishtail braid in six simple steps.

So without further ado, let’s learn how to do the ‘do:

Step 1:

If this is your first time, secure your hair with elastic to make a ponytail right on the level of your nape. Part your hair vertically into two sections across the middle. Grab one piece with your left and the other with your right.

Step 2:

Take a smaller segment of hair from outside of the right section.

Step 3:

Using this small cluster, you pull it across the top of the right main section and tuck it under the main left section of your ponytail. Pull to tighten.

Step 4:

You repeat this process on the left side of the ponytail. Take a smaller clump and pull it across the left main section to be tucked under the right ponytail. Pull to tighten.

Step 5:

Just repeat the process over and over again. As the hair overlaps, you will start to see the fishtail braid reveal itself. Make sure to tug to tighten every time you finish one section of the braid.

Step 6:

When you only have one or two inches of hair at the bottom, stop. This is where you tie the hair to secure the fishtail braid. Cut the elastic at the top of the braid and let your hair fall.

It doesn’t matter if the fishtail braid itself is not straight. In fact, the opposite is equally true. Professional stylists even pull some of the strands that have been secured by the braid in order to achieve that “unkempt look” or the “just woke up” look.

It’s better if you practice on somebody else so you will really understand how to fishtail braid. Once you get a hang of the process, you can do this on your own in literally minutes.