Sure, there may be a standard set of instructions for actually constructing a fishtail braid, but how you wear one—high ponytail, low ponytail, as a headband, etc—is up to you. If you’re still stumped on how to do a fishtail braid, we’ll quickly catch you up: the process involves splitting the hair you want braided with that style into two separate sections. Next, you take one tiny piece from the back of the first section and pass it over to the other. Repeat this step, alternating sections, until you’re at the ends of your hair and are on the hunt for a clear elastic to tie it all off. There are TONS of tutorials you can follow to get it right—we won’t lie, watching it via video is key. After you’ve sharpened the skill, you need to put it to the test.
This fishtail braid can be worn a variety of ways, making it a favorite in our book of Instagram-worthy summer ‘dos. We rounded up a few of our favorites ways worn by real girls below.
Fasten your hair in a high ponytail and create a fishtail braid in the actual “ponytail” section of the look. If you want a tight braid that won’t become loose or fall apart (something fishtail braids often do), this is a solid option more control while you’re crafting it.
Halo braids aren’t always focused on getting all your hair off your neck. Take a section of your hair, fishtail it, and pin it up so it looks like a beach-worthy crown.
Keep it simple and to the side, starting with a regular braid and switching your technique to a fishtail. It’ll also help keep the look tighter and more put-together up top towards the nape of the neck.]
A more defined fishtail shape is as easy as passing smaller strands of hair back and forth, as opposed to larger sections. We love how this braid is totally focused at the back of the head, tied off higher on the ponytail, and a little wider. You can do that to any braid by gently pulling it apart.
Start off French braiding your hair and tuck in a pretty, boho hair accessory, similar to this look above, before you start your fishtail braid. If you want to extra length for a dramatic look, try clip-in extensions before braiding.
A loose, messy version of this braid can be sleek, too. Take a look at this look above for inspo and slick down any fly-aways with a dry oil. You can even combine a thinner, pancaked fishtail braid into a low ponytail for just the tiniest accent.
A voluminous high ponytail filled with tousled waves looks so whimsical with a fishtail braid peeking through.
Forget braiding all the way down your ponytail. Create a mini fishtail (check out the above for inspiration!) and secure the braid with a bobby pin sticking vertically into the ‘do instead of an elastic. You can continue braiding with a different technique or curl the ends for a feminine vibe.