Never learned how to fishtail braid? You’re not alone. And this ethereal, intricate-looking ‘do might look intimidating. But it’s important to remember that braiding is probably the simplest hair skill to master. All you really need is a pair of hands and a hair tie — no hot tools or hair products necessary.
These fishtail braid instructions are easy to understand, and you only have to follow five simple steps. Plus, we’ve included clear, close-up photos so there’s no need to pause and rewind.
Time to break out the elastics, stretch out your fingers and get ready to unleash your inner hair stylist. Keep clicking to see exactly how to fishtail braid.
How to Do a Fishtail Braid, Step 1: Create a Ponytail To begin, gather your hair into a ponytail at the nape of your neck. Use a throwaway elastic — one that you can snip away with scissors at the end.
How to Do a Fishtail Braid, Step 2: Divide Your Ponytail Next, split your ponytail evenly into two sections. Unlike the classic plait, a fishtail braid only requires two sections.
How to Do a Fishtail Braid, Step 3: Begin Weaving Use your finger to separate a small section of your hair from the outer edge near the elastic and cross it over to the opposite side (overlapping just like you would if you were doing a standard braid). Re-grip your hair to tighten plait, still holding two sections. Repeat with a small section from the other side.
How to Do a Fishtail Braid, Step 4: Maintain Evenness Continue overlapping pieces from both sides of your ponytail, all the way down to your ends. Be sure to pull small sections from underneath to cross over, and try to grab the same size (about a half inch) sections from each side.
How to Do a Fishtail Braid, Step 5: Finish Your Look Once you’ve woven your hair down to the ends, secure the fishtail braid with another elastic. Then, use scissors to carefully cut out the elastic at the base of your ponytail. Finish your fishtail braid by gently tugging on your braid with your fingers to loosen it for an effortless look.
Recap: How to Fishtail Braid in 5 Easy Steps Use this one-page guide as your quick and easy cheatsheet on how to do a fishtail braid:
1. Create a ponytail. Split the ponytail into two even sections.
2. Pull a half-inch strand of hair from the outside of the left section. Cross it over to the right side.
3. Now pull a half-inch strand of hair from the outside of the right section. Cross this piece over to the left side.
4. Continue steps 2 through 3 all the way down to the end of your pony. Secure your braid with an elastic. Remove the elastic at the base of your neck by carefully cutting it off with scissors.
5. Finish your braid by gently tugging it along the sides. This will loosen the braid to make it look perfectly undone.