How to do a fishtail braid

How to Do a Fishtail Braid: Step by Step Guide

It’s surprisingly easy, once you get the hang of it

Beauty Crew Beauty Editor / June 25 2019

When it comes to styling your own hair at home, there are some hairstyles that are low commitment and technically easy (such as pulling your hair back into a low ponytail), and there are others that are high commitment and require more skill (like curling your hair with a straightener or styling an intricate updo). As for a fishtail braid, this hairstyle sits in the mid-range for difficulty, but looks super impressive with its fishbone effect, which contributes to its popularity both on the red carpet and IRL.

A fishtail braid is a little different to a regular braid and French braid. A normal braid involves having three sections of hair wrapped around each other in order and is quite simple in its appearance (and a cinch for beginners to master). A French braid is created just like a normal braid but with new sections of hair added as you go down the plait; it can be tricky to do yourself, but the end result is cool and versatile (just check out these variations of the classic French braid). A fishtail plait involves four sections of hair and creates a more detailed look. With a little practice, we think you’d be surprised to find that a fishtail is actually pretty doable, if you’ve got the right technique down-pat.

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to do a fishtail braid on yourself.


You’ll need two different kinds of hair ties for this look - a bigger snagless elastic for your ponytail (we went with Lady Jayne Elastics, Snagless, Thick, Blonde 10 Pack, but if you have dark hair, go for a brunette variant), and a smaller transparent hair tie for the base of your braid (try Scunci Clear Polybands). You might also want to run a paddle brush through your hair to detangle your locks before you start.


Tie it back

Tie your hair back into a ponytail, then divide your hair into two sections.


Get it started

Take a smaller piece from the outside of one section, pull it across then add it to the opposite section.


Repeat again

Do the same for the other side.


Continue the braid

Keep going all the way down, grabbing a new outer section each time. Don’t forget to pull tight.


Tie the end


Secure the end of your ponytail with a hair tie. Leave it for a sophisticated finish, or add texture by gently pulling sections loose (think Blake Lively’s fishtail braid).

And you’re done!

That’s how to do a fishtail braid in just a few steps.



If you’re someone with short hair, follow these steps to achieving this pretty updo.

What’s your favourite kind of braid to do on yourself, and why? Let us know in the comments below.

Image credits: Sevak Babakhani

Hair & makeup credit: Isabella Schimid

Iantha is BEAUTYcrew's Beauty Editor, and has been part of the team since the site launched in 2016. Besides pinky-nude nail polish and wispy false lashes, she has a healthy obsession with face masks and skin care ingredients. Her previous work can be found in Virgin Australia Voyeur, Women's Health, and SHOP Til You Drop.