How to Fishtail Braid: A Beginner’s Guide

If you’re looking for a versatile and stylish braiding technique, the fishtail braid is definitely worth considering. This trendy hairstyle is easy to learn and can be worn in a variety of ways, making it perfect for any occasion. In this article, we’ll walk you through exactly how to fishtail braid step-by-step, providing plenty of examples, comparisons, and advice along the way.

What is a Fishtail Braid?

Essentially, a fishtail braid is a variation on the classic three-strand braid that uses two sections of hair instead of three. By weaving these two sections back and forth over each other, you create a beautiful braided look that resembles the scales of a fish – hence the name “fishtail”.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Fishtail Braid

Now that you have a basic understanding of what a fishtail braid is, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to actually create one:

Step 1: Prepare Your Hair

For a traditional fishtail braid, you’ll need to start with dry, brushed hair. If your hair is prone to tangling, you may want to use a detangling spray or conditioner beforehand. If you’re looking for a more textured or bohemian look, you can also try creating a fishtail braid with slightly dirty hair.

Step 2: Divide Your Hair

Next, divide your hair into two equal sections. You can use a comb or your fingers to do this – whichever you find easiest.

Step 3: Begin Braiding

  • Take a small strand of hair from the outer edge of the left section and cross it over to the right section.
  • Then, take a small strand from the outer edge of the right section and cross it over to the left section.
  • Keep in mind that you’re essentially moving small strands from one side to the other.

Step 4: Continue Braiding

Repeat this process, alternating between crossing strands from the left section to the right section and vice versa. As you braid, try to keep your sections as even as possible. You can use a hair tie or clip to hold your hair in place if needed.

Step 5: Secure Your Braid

Once you’ve reached the end of your hair, secure the braid with a hair tie or elastic band. You can also gently tug on the strands to loosen them up and give your fishtail braid a more relaxed, bohemian look.

8 Pretty Fishtail Braid Hairstyles You Should Try

Classic Fishtail Braid

  • Simply create a classic fishtail braid down the back of your head.
  • This timeless look works well for casual and formal occasions alike.

Side Fishtail Braid

  • Shift the fishtail braid to one side of your head for an asymmetrical and stylish appearance.
  • You can choose to wear it on either the left or right side, depending on your preference.

Double Fishtail Braids

  • Create two fishtail braids on either side of your head.
  • This look is great for adding a playful and youthful touch to your style.

Fishtail Crown Braid

  • Make a fishtail braid on one side of your head, and then wrap it over the top of your head like a crown.
  • Secure it with bobby pins to create a beautiful crown-like effect.

Fishtail Bun

  • Begin by creating a fishtail braid and secure it with an elastic band.
  • Then, wrap the braid into a bun and secure it with bobby pins.
  • This elegant updo is perfect for formal events.

Messy Fishtail Braid

  • Loosen up the fishtail braid by gently pulling on the strands to create a relaxed, messy look.
  • This style is ideal for a carefree and bohemian vibe.

Half-Up Fishtail Braid

  • Gather the top half of your hair and create a fishtail braid.
  • Leave the rest of your hair down for a stylish half-up, half-down look.

Fishtail Ponytail

  • Gather your hair into a high or mid-height ponytail.
  • Create a fishtail braid with the ponytail, and secure it with an elastic band.
  • This look combines the chicness of a ponytail with the intricacy of a fishtail braid.

Fishtail Braid vs. Other Braiding Techniques

While the fishtail braid is certainly a beautiful hairstyle, there are many other braiding techniques out there to choose from. Here are a few comparisons between the fishtail braid and some other popular braiding styles:

Fishtail Braid vs. French Braid

The French braid is another classic braiding technique that involves weaving hair into a tight, three-strand braid that starts at the crown of the head. While both styles can be elegant and stylish, the French braid is typically a bit more complex and time-consuming to create. The fishtail braid, on the other hand, is relatively easy to learn and can be done quickly once you get the hang of it.

Fishtail Braid vs. Dutch Braid

The Dutch braid is similar to the French braid, but instead of weaving the hair over the middle strand, you weave it underneath. This creates a raised, 3D effect that looks stunning. While the Dutch braid is a bit more challenging than the fishtail braid, it can be a great option for those with thicker hair or who want a more intricate braiding style.

Fishtail Braid vs. Rope Braid

The rope braid involves twisting two sections of hair around each other to create a braided look. While this technique can be easier and faster than the fishtail braid, it doesn’t quite have the same unique, textured appearance. Additionally, the fishtail braid tends to hold up better throughout the day, making it a great choice for active individuals or those with busy schedules.


  • Practice Makes Perfect: Like any hairstyle, fishtail braiding takes practice to master. Don’t get discouraged if your first few attempts don’t turn out perfectly – keep at it and you’ll get the hang of it in no time.
  • Use Hair Products: If you have fine or slippery hair, you may want to use a bit of hairspray, texturizing spray, or mousse before you start braiding. This can help give your hair more grip and hold your braid in place.
  • Experiment with Accessories: Fishtail braids look great on their own, but they can also be dressed up with all sorts of accessories. Try adding a flower crown, headband, or decorative hairpin to take your braid to the next level.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Get Creative: While the traditional fishtail braid is stunning on its own, there are countless ways to put your own spin on this classic style. Try experimenting with different braiding techniques, adding in twists or knots, or even combining multiple braids for a unique look.
  • Take Care of Your Hair: Finally, be sure to take good care of your hair to keep it healthy and looking its best. This means avoiding heat styling as much as possible, using a nourishing shampoo and conditioner, and getting regular trims to prevent split ends.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of fishtail braiding in no time!


  1. Is fishtail braiding suitable for all hair types? Yes! Fishtail braiding can be done on all hair types, including curly, straight, thick, and fine.
  2. How long does it take to fishtail braid hair? The amount of time it takes to fishtail braid your hair will depend on the length and thickness of your hair, as well as your level of experience. With practice, you should be able to complete a basic fishtail braid in just a few minutes.
  3. Can you fishtail braid your own hair? Yes! While it may take a bit of practice to get the hang of it, fishtail braiding your own hair is definitely possible.
  4. Is it necessary to use hair ties or clips when fishtail braiding? While not strictly necessary, using hair ties or clips can help keep your sections neat and tidy while you’re braiding. This can make the process easier and help ensure that your final look turns out even.
  5. How do I prevent my fishtail braid from unraveling throughout the day? To help prevent your fishtail braid from unraveling, you can try spraying it with hairspray or using a bit of texturizing powder before you start braiding. Additionally, tying off the end of your braid with a clear elastic band can help keep it in place all day long.

Final Takeaway

Overall, fishtail braiding is a fun and stylish hairstyle that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re going for a classic look or want to add some bohemian flair to your style, the fishtail braid is a versatile and easy-to-learn technique that’s sure to impress. So why not give it a try today and see what beautiful braided looks you can create?