9 Fishtail Braid Looks You Can Do On Yourself

Popular Styles

9 Fishtail Braids To Help You Channel Your Inner Mermaid

28 August 2017
long blonde fishtail braid
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Emily Arata

Senior Editor, Hair.com

As an employee of L’Oréal, Emily works with celebrity stylists to make finding the right cut, color, or style easier than ever before. She's previously written for Allure, Elite Daily, and First We Feast.

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 haircare. Their manes are 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 this two-strand braid on for size.

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 pieces. 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 Pony

Here’s a style that’s beloved by all your favorite celebrities. The fishtail braid pony 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 hairband. The longer the loose ends of your ponytail, the more polished the style will look

Fishtail Braid Half Pony

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. Divide your strands in half and fishtail braid until you run out of hair, tying the style off with a hairband. 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 Pigtails

For a summer day out or a casual work environment, fishtail pigtails are an easy way to dress up a laid-back style—particularly if you’re wrangling long locks or wear extensions. Divide your hair in a straight line down the back of your head, clipping one side up while you work on the other.

Starting with your left side, tightly fishtail braid one half of the head (be sure to leave a few inches of loose ends). Braid the other side of your hair, finishing with a no-show elastic. Pancake each of your braids and free a few face-framing pieces. These certainly aren’t the middle school pigtails you remember

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.

Inverted Fishtail Pigtail Bun

You’ve tried box braids and braided pigtails, but have you given the inverted pigtail bun 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 under (never over), 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, bring your ends together and twist them to form a ballerina bun shape. Pin the bun where appropriate, and pancake the braids as much as you’d like.

Ponytail with Fishtail Braid Accent

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 ponytail that just barely qualifies as a braid.

Start with our fishtail headband braid, stopping just above your ear. From here, create a ponytail at the back of your head or base of your neck. For an extra-polished look, flatiron any waves out of your tail.

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