How to Style a Fishtail Braid

DIY Fishtail BraidEvery time I wear a fishtail braid I get stopped with, “How did you do that?” And I reply, “I braided it.” And the response is always, “But. How? That looks really hard.”

It’s actually really easy. And a totally chic way to control your hair.

Before I went to the Hangout Festival this summer, I knew I’d have to rock some kind of braid. South Alabama humidity plus salty beach air plus dancing and sweating in the heat for 12 hours a day is a recipe for unintentional 1980′s glamour volume.

Fishtail Braid at Hangout Festival

Yes, that’s a wolf-print bandanna.

Unlike buns or ponytails, your hair isn’t moving in a fishtail braid, so it’s dance proof and offers the opportunity for embellishments that won’t fall out. I’ve seen girls braid feathers or a string of beads into their fishtail braid. And how will we ever forget that messy fishtail braid that Blake Lively embellished with a gold flower barrette at The Green Lantern premiere in 2011? It is the stuff of Pinterest legend.

Others dye or hair chalk pieces and then braid their hair. I love this look, so after hair chalking my friend Ashley’s hair, we did a fishtail braid. Check it out and learn how to braid a fishtail in the steps below.

What’s your favorite braid? French? Waterfall? Dutch? Comment with other styles you’d like me to show.


Step 1

 Open GalleryPonytail for Fishtail BraidGather your hair into a ponytail. It’s easier to learn how to do this with a side braid because you can see it in a mirror. Secure with elastic.

Step 2

 Open GalleryPonytail for Fishtail Braid Split in Two PiecesDivide the ponytail into two equal pieces.

Step 3

 Open GalleryFishtail Braid Cross LeftTake one small piece from the left section of hair and cross it over to join with right section of hair.

Step 4

 Open GalleryFishtail Braid Cross RightTake one small piece (equal in size to the piece you already transferred) from the right section of hair and cross it over to join the left section of hair.

Step 5

 Open GalleryBraiding a Fishtail BraidRepeat steps 3 and 4 and tighten the braid as you go so the “scales” stay tight and uniform. Be aware of how much hair you take from each side and try to keep it as even as possible so the braid doesn’t get lopsided.

Step 6

 Open GalleryFishtail BraidSecure the end of the braid with an elastic band.

Step 7

 Open GalleryHair Chalked Fishtail Braid
Spray with hairspray to prevent frizzies and layered hair from escaping the braid. For a messy, boho-chic fishtail braid, carefully cut the elastic band at the top. Move the braid around, shake it and adjust pieces so it doesn’t look completely perfect.


  • Two hair elastics
  • Hairspray
About Deanne Revel 


I manage social media for, and When I'm not instagramming and pinning, I'm dancing at Zumba and failing at the shimmy. I love vanilla chai, ...

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2 Responses

  1. Hi! Thanks for this wonderful advice. Actually, I know how to "fish tail" but it really looks messy. Thanks for making this!

  2. Amanda says:

    Hi! Thanks for this wonderful advice. Actually, I know how to "fish tail" but it really looks messy. Thanks for making this!

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