Whether you need a casual and chic hairstyle for summer workdays or you’re a stylist who’s mastering their skills for festival season, fishtail braids are an unrivaled option. However, creating a fishtail braid can be intimidating — especially if you’ve struggled with any braiding techniques in the past. Luckily, from preparing the hair to finishing the braid with finesse, it can be an easy process if you have the expertise… And you’re about to!
1. Create a Clean and Dry Base
Before beginning any beautiful braid, it’s essential to prepare with clean, dry hair. Not only will this help to prevent any tangles and knots from forming during the braiding process but will encourage body and volume and ensure that no exposed roots (because there are a lot of them when it comes to braided styles) look greasy!
2. Create the Perfect Texture
When it comes to fine or thin hair, it can be difficult to create a fishtail braid that stays in place. When it comes to curly hair, it can be difficult to work with sections in order to create a fishtail braid in the first place. It’s easy to see, then, why specialized salon hair styling products are an essential part of the look! To add texture to fine or thin hair, for example, using a texturizing spray or dry shampoo before braiding will give the hair more grip and make it easier to create a secure braid — so look into the right products and finish preparing the hair for this style by taking it from “clean” to “compatible”!
If you’re working with particularly fine, thin or short hair, extensions can also be used to create the volume and length needed for a full fishtail. With that said, extensions can be helpful for ALL hair types — especially when it comes to creating more intricate looks that incorporate different colors and textures!
3. Divide the Hair Into Sections
Divide the hair into two equal sections. To do this, you’ll want to separate and brush thoroughly, and you’ll likely want to utilize some professional hair styling products for sculpting or professional hair care products for softness (as well as a couple of clips) to keep these separated sections polished and manageable as you begin splitting them further and working with them. If you want the fishtail braid to be more voluminous, you can tease the hair at this point before dividing it into its sections.
4. Begin Braiding
To start a fishtail braid, begin by taking a small strip of hair from the outer edge of one section and cross it over to the other section. Then, take a small strip of hair from the outer edge of the OTHER section and cross it over to the first section. Continue alternating between these two sections, taking small strips of hair and crossing them over to their opposite sides, working downward until you reach the bottom of the hair (or wherever you choose to end the braid). As you braid, you’ll want to make sure that you’re taking consistently sized strips each time to create a uniform and balanced braid.
If you’re struggling, consider working with smaller strips of hair, and remember to keep good tension on your strips as you braid to keep the braid secure and stop it from unraveling!
5. Secure the Braid
A tight weave will ensure that your fishtail stays secure as long as it’s tied off at the bottom (which we all know needs to be done), but securing your braid with a couple of hidden clear elastics along the way will REALLY hold it in place and is always a good idea — especially if you plan to create a more casual look by pulling on the braid to spread it after it’s secured!
Clear or regular hair ties will work on the bottom of the braid as well, as they will allow the intricacy of the braid to shine the way that it should. From here, a quality salon hairspray will work wonders on the front line to keep the braid in place and prevent flyaways! With all of the tension, tugging, tight elastics and potentially drying sprays, though, you’ll want to remember to revive the hair afterward with some unrivaled care products!
Fishtail braids make a great base for accessories, and a great focal point for accents. As far as accessories go, pieces like flower crowns or individual flowers scattered throughout the braid, charms attached on the braid and chains flowing over the crown leading to the braid can work as well to amplify the look as they do secure it. As far as accents go, things like shimmer sprays all over the hair, glitters spread strategically, tinsels braided into the look and colored highlights falling out of the braid and woven through it will all make a major impact!
7. Practice Different Variations
There are many different variations of the fishtail braid that you can try, so if you’re struggling with the standard fishtail, then be sure to consider playing with another style. This may help you master the technique, which you can then transfer back to the standard style or one of the many other options!