How to do a Fishtail Side Braid

THIS ISLAND LIFE X HAIR ROMANCE | How to do a fishtail side braid

There aren’t many other hairstyles that epitomise summer as well as a fishtail braid. So to help perfect the look, I called on the legend that is Hair Romance. A guru in hair and all-round amazing person, Christina from Hair Romance has generously put together a tutorial to teach us all how to do a fishtail braid. But not just any fishtail braid – low, messy and on the side – this fishtail braid is as beachy as it gets. Follow her step-by-step tutorial and capture summer in a hairstyle.

Photography by Christina from Hair Romance.

THIS ISLAND LIFE X HAIR ROMANCE | How to do a fishtail side braid

The secret to doing the perfect fishtail braid in your own hair is a little unexpected. It all starts with a ponytail and you’ll need a pair of scissors and two small clear hair elastics.

Fishtail side braid tutorial

Fishtail braids look complicated but they’re easier to style than French braids. Instead of three sections, you’re only working with two sections of hair.

  1. Use a small clear hair elastic to secure your hair in a side ponytail.
  2. Split your ponytail in two. Hold one side in each hand and keep these separate as you braid.
  3. Cross a small section from the left to the right. Take a small piece of hair from the left side of the left ponytail and cross it over to join the right ponytail.
  4. Repeat on the right. Take a small piece of hair from the right side of the right ponytail and cross it over to join the left ponytail.
  5. Then continue to repeat this process all the way down. Each time, cross a small piece of hair from one ponytail to the other side. As you move down the ponytail they cross over, forming the fishtail braid.
  6. Tie the end and stretch your braid out. Secure the end of your fishtail braid with a small, clear elastic. Gently pull at the sides of the braid to stretch it out. This makes your hair look thicker and fuller, and emphasises the shape of the braid.
  7. Now cut away the first elastic. Carefully take your scissors and snip the elastic holding your ponytail so that you’re left with the perfect fishtail braid. Works every time.

Fishtail side braid styling tips

  • Remember that the smaller the sections you cross over, the more intricate your braid will look.
  • You can speed up the process by taking larger sections of hair, but the smaller sections create the classic fishtail braid look.
  • Once you’re more practiced, you can skip the first step of adding the hair elastic. I still find it a must to keep this braid in place, especially if you have layers cut in your hair.

Once you’ve mastered the fishtail braid, your can use it to style headband braids or fishtail buns.

THIS ISLAND LIFE X HAIR ROMANCE | How to do a fishtail side braid


As the founder of THIS ISLAND LIFE, Laura is an expert on all things summer. When she's not at home in Sydney, she's chasing the warm-weather to exotic destinations across the globe.

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