The effortless messy fishtail braid

Learn how to master the style that can be worn day or night

marie claire Contributor / February 08 2017

Fishtail braids made it big a few years back, and if you’re worried about it going out of fashion any time soon, let us put those fears to rest: the style is here to stay. 

“We will be seeing a lot more of this textured fishtail style,” says hairstylist Renya Xydis. 

While any hair type can pull off this look, it must be noted, “The more hair you have, the bigger the wow factor,” explains hairstylist and RAW salon owner Anthony Nader. “If you have fine hair, use a dry shampoo or texturising spray on your roots and massage through the mid-lengths to add volume.”


Add grip to your hair

This style looks better on day-old hair. To give strands extra grip (plus volume and texture, if you need it), mist a dry shampoo or texturising spray throughout.


Split your ponytail in two

Gather hair in a loose pony at the nape of the neck, and split the tail into two sections.

fishtail braid Split ponytail in two


Split each half into smaller sections

“Use your finger to separate a small section of hair from the outer edge (near the elastic) and cross it over to the opposite side,” explains Xydis. Repeat with a small section from the other side.

fishtail braid how to


Keep going

Continue overlapping pieces from both sides of the ponytail, all the way down to the ends. Maintain looseness and embrace any strands that come loose.

fishtail braid steps
TOP TIP: Don’t worry if your braid is looking too tight, you can always loosen it up with your fingertips later.


Take away the structure

Remove the elastic from the base of the pony and let your hair fall out as it may. Use your fingers to gently mess up the braid if you want more texture.

Tool kit:

Lady Jayne My Style Elastomer Bands
Fudge Matt Mineral Texture Aerosol Rock Spray
Pantene Pro-V Dry Shampoo Volume Booster

Main image credit: Getty

Illustrations by: Ann Do

A beauty editor and vitamin C fanatic who has worked across a range of print and digital publications, including Stellar, marie claire, Gritty Pretty and Badlands Journal.