How to Do a Fishtail Braid: An Essential Hair Stylist Guide

How to Do a Fishtail Braid: An Essential Hair Stylist Guide

How to Do a Fishtail Braid: An Essential Hair Stylist Guide

Most hairstylists consider fishtail braids as one of the most advanced types of braids. But if you get it right, it can go with any outfit and occasion. In this guide, we'll show you how to do the perfect fishtail braid.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Do Fishtail Braid

Fishtail braiding became popular years ago. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create a regular fishtail braid:

Step 1: Brush Your Hair


woman brushing hair in front of mirror
Credit: Envato Elements/ msvyatkovska

Brush your hair to remove any tangles. Smooth, tangle-free hair is easier to braid and will make your fishtail look neater.

Step 2: Divide Your Hair


woman sectioning hair
Credit: Envato Elements/ maksymiv

Split your hair into two even sections. Unlike a normal braid that requires three sections, a fishtail only needs two.

Step 3: Begin the Braiding Process


woman braiding hair into a fishtail braid
Credit: Poor Little It Girl

Take a small strand of hair from the outer edge of the right section. Cross it over to the left section. Then, take a small strand from the outer edge of the left section and cross it over to the right section. Keep the strands thin to create a more intricate braid.

Step 4: Continue Crossing Over


woman braiding hair into french braid
Credit: Envato Elements/ vadymvdrobot

Repeat this process, alternating sides and pulling small pieces from the outside of one section to the inside of the other. Keep the tension consistent for a tight, even braid.

Step 5: Secure the Braid


beautiful woman with a french braid
Credit: Envato Elements/ LightFieldStudios

Continue braiding until you reach the ends of your hair. Secure the braid with thin hair elastics. If you have thin or fine hair, make multiple grounds. For a messy fishtail braid or tousled braid, gently tug at the edges of the braid to loosen it slightly. Use a few bobby pins to clip back any flyaways.

Step 6: Optional Finishing Touches


beautiful woman with hat in a french braid
Credit: Envato Elements/ shotprime

If you have flyaways or loose strands, use a small amount of hairspray or hair gel to smooth them down. You can also add hair accessories like ribbons or clips for a decorative touch.

Tips to Keep in Mind When Doing a Fishtail Braid

When creating a fishtail braid, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind:

  • Use dry shampoo if your hair is too slippery to braid.
  • Use a sturdy hair tie to secure your braid, especially if you have thick or heavy hair. This prevents the braid from unraveling.
  • If your hair is particularly frizzy or dry, apply some leave-in conditioner before you start braiding. This will help smooth your hair and make it easier to manage while braiding.
  • Try braiding in front of a mirror to check if both sides are even.


How long does my hair need to be to make a fishtail braid?

At least shoulder-length. Longer hair will make braiding easier and the finished braid more dramatic.

Can I fishtail braid my hair if it's layered?

Yes, you can braid layered hair but expect a few strands to poke out due to the different lengths. This can actually add a nice, textured look to the braid.

Can I sleep with a fishtail braid?

Yes, you can. Just make sure it’s not too tight to avoid discomfort.

How can I make my fishtail braid look fuller?

After finishing the braid, gently tug at its sides to loosen it slightly. This technique is called 'pancaking' and makes the braid appear fuller and more voluminous.


We've covered everything you need to know to master the fishtail braid, from step-by-step instructions to tips and tricks for perfecting your technique. With a bit of practice, you'll be able to create beautiful, intricate braids that are perfect for any occasion. And once you've got enough practice, you can do different fishtail braid variations like the faux fishtail braid, french fishtail braid, and Dutch fishtail braid.

Are you looking for a strong hair tie to secure your fishtail braid? Check out Burlybands. Whether you want to do a Dutch braid, french braid, or a fishtail braid, Burlybands provide a strong hold without slipping or breaking. Ideal for all hair types from fine to thick hair. Shop with us today.

Back to blog

Table of Contents


Stay up-to-date with Burlybands. Receive exclusive offers. Join the family

1 of 3