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12 Fishtail Braids To Help You Channel Your Inner Mermaid

brunette woman and blonde woman with fishtail braids

These days, everybody wants to be a mermaid. Chalk it up to the glittery clamshell bras or the iridescent tails, but we’re inclined to think the mermaid trend ultimately boils down to the good hair.

Whether they’re falling in love on land or wooing sailors in the deeps, mermaids always seem to make time for hair care. Their blonde, red, and dark brown hair is inarguably luxurious! With that in mind, we’d like to introduce the fishtail braid. It’s the closest you’re going to get to fishy fantasy without getting in the water.

If you’ve always wanted to make a splash, try these two-strand fishtail braid ideas on for size.

The Best Fishtail Braid Ideas To Try Now

Mermaid Fishtail Braid


We’ll start with the easiest braid of the bunch. Although the mermaid fishtail may sound like some kind of reflective cardboard getup you’d buy from a costume store, it’s actually a gorgeous braid style.

Start at the base of your neck, hair evenly divided into two sections. Take a small strand from the left half of the hair and pull it over to the right. Then, repeat the process with a piece of hair from your right strand.

Braid until there’s no more hair left, then finish off the look with a no-show hair elastic. For best results, you’ll want to pull the plait as tight as possible before pancaking the braid.

Inverse Fishtail Braid


If you can create a lovely fishtail braid, you’re certainly capable of managing the inverse version. Start in the same way, dividing your hair into two sections. Instead of crossing your small strands over, you’ll feed them under the plait.

Starting on the left side, pass a piece of hair to your right hand. Then, repeat the step by passing a strand of hair from your right to your left—always going under. Hold the braid tightly and focus on choosing small sections. That’s how you’ll separate a Pinterest-worthy fishtail from its fellows.

Fishtail Braid Ponytail


Here’s a style that’s beloved by all your favorite celebrities. The fishtail braid ponytail is versatile, especially if you have long layers and find that standard styles usually don’t last all day. Start by combing your hair from roots to ends, ensuring there are no tangles.

Next, shape a high ponytail at the back of your head and tie it off with an elastic that matches your hair color. Divide your tail in two, using the same braiding technique to pass small strands between your pieces of hair. When you’ve reached the end of the tail, secure the style with another hair elastic. The longer the loose ends of your ponytail, the more polished the style will look.

Fishtail Braid Half Ponytail


To begin this look, you’ll want to create volume at the crown of your head. Using a brush, backcomb your hair and hairspray it to ensure you don’t have a deflating balloon situation halfway through the night.

Once your bump is in place, smooth over it and create a loose half ponytail hairstyle. Divide your strands in half and fishtail braid until you run out of hair, tying the style off with a hair elastic. If this look doesn’t feel secure enough to you, feel free to put a hair elastic in before you begin braiding.

Fishtail Braid Headband


If you’re feeling ambitious, we’ve got a more complicated fishtail braid for you to try. Be warned, though—you’ll need a few practice runs in front of a mirror before taking this look out into the real world. Start with a deep, very straight part.

Choosing two medium-sized strands from your hairline. Begin with a regular fishtail braid, crossing your strands over several times. Then, you’ll begin adding small pieces of hair from the plait—you’ll be picking them up, just like you would for a French braid. Continue braiding until you’ve reached just above your ear.

Fishtail Braid Crown


This style may look complicated, we’re pleased to announce it’s actually very devil-may-care. Follow our tutorial for fishtail braid pigtails, continuing each braid until the very end of your lengths. Secure each side with a no-show elastic.

Starting with your left-hand braid, wrap it up and over the top of your head. Pin it into place, then start on the other braid. Wrap it just behind the first one, pinning the whole style until it’s stable. For a festival-inspired take on the style, pull out face-framing strands along your hairline. Don’t be afraid to clip in extensions or weave a colorful ribbon through your hair.

Fishtail Braid Pigtails


You’ve tried box braids and braided pigtails, but have you given the fishtail braided pigtails a shot? Start with a very straight part from your hairline to neck, dividing your mane into two sections. Tie off one, and begin braiding the other.

Following our headband braid tutorial, you’ll want to add small strands to the braid as you go. Cross over (never under), tightening the braid as much as possible. When you reach your neck, tie off the plait and start on the other side.

When both braids are finally complete, tie them off and pancake the braids as much as you’d like.

Inverse Fishtail Braid Ponytail


If you’ve gotten this far, you’re a fishtail braiding genius. For our final style, we’re taking it a little simpler with a braid that just barely qualifies as a ponytail

The illusion here is that this entire braid was done in one go. Instead, it relies on a number of hidden ponytails to ensure an uninterrupted fishtail appearance. Start at the crown of your head, creating a small ponytail with hair at the top of the head.

From here, inverse fishtail braid down until you reach a new section of hair and repeat the ponytail-making process. Add the hair from your second ponytail into the first braid and continue working your way down your scalp. If you don’t get this one the first time, don’t give up! Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to braiding.

Twisted Fishtail Braid


A slight upgrade on the standard fishtail braided ponytail, this twisted approach makes the most of super long hair by ensuring every inch makes a statement. Just start by twisting a section of hair away from your face, pinning the loose spiral in place before tying off your ponytail and beginning to finish your ‘do. 

Triple Fishtail Braid


Once you’ve mastered the fishtail braid, you may find yourself with a bit of a braiding ego. It’s nothing to be ashamed of! Show off your hard-won braiding finesse with this three fishtail braid updo, which will require extensions for added length and thickness. The trick here is that both the braids on the sides are standard fishtails, while the center braid is inverse.

Need an extra touch before you’re satisfied with your work? Add fresh flowers or greenery (even a hair clip would do!) and show off your art.

Fishtail Braid Updo


There’s no rule saying that the braid has to be the focal point of every look! We’re all for versatility, so casually let everyone know how good you are at fishtails by including a small one in your next chignon or at-home updo. It’ll help add a touch of edginess and a bohemian vibe to any style you try!

Pinned Fishtail Braids


Not getting along with the hair around your face? Trying to stretch your blowout for one more day? We feel you. Make the most of your mane by trying these matching pinned fishtail braids, which should take you less than ten minutes to finish off. After creating a sharp center part, braid way from your face and pin your braids in place.

Interested in getting a fishtail braid professionally styled? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.

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