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When it comes to hair, you’ve probably realized there are a lot of names for the same thing. Setting spray and hairspray probably come to mind, but there’s also polish and lacquer, and even bun versus the way fancier-sounding chignon. Braids also carry different monikers, depending on who you’re talking to—which is what brings us to our current plaited obsession, the herringbone braid. Don’t let that name throw you for a vocabulary loop: as we found out, it’s actually the same. Exact. Thing. As a fishtail braid. Um, what?
Yep! “It’s a reference to the fabric pattern herringbone, which got it’s name from the pattern resembling the skeleton of the Herring fish,” says Julie Parks, Drybar West Coast Lead Educator.
And just as you would expect, when it comes to how to do a herringbone braid, it’s the exact same process as getting a fishtail plait. We got the incredibly 5-minute step-by-step from Julie, so you’ll be an expert in no time. To make it easier, Parks says your hair should be dry and as close as possible to one-length—lots of layers and angles tend to fall out. It also works on straight and curly hair, but it’s best if your locks have some type of grip to them.
Here’s how to do a herringbone braid.
This look can be worn in the back or on the side, but if you’re a beginner, a side-braid is an easier option. Brush all your hair, create your part, and pull it all over to one side.
Next, Parks says to split the hair into two vertical sections. You’re going to want to make sure you have the same amount of hair in each section.
This is where it might get a little tricky, but it’s all in how you hold the strands in your hands. “Take a small piece from the outside of one of the sections and add it to the other section, repeat on the other side,” says Parks.
“Alternate from side to side, taking about the same size pieces each time until you get to the end of the hair,” she notes. You’ll continue this all the way down the braid—and you’ll start to notice the very distinct fishtail pattern coming the surface.
When you get to the very bottom of the braid, tie it off with an elastic. You can use a clear elastic to make it less visible, or even wrap a strand around the hair tie to hide it completely.
“After braid is complete, secure with an elasticand gently pull braid apart with fingers for a looser, more textured (and trendy!) look,” notes Parks.
And voila! You’re now a master of the herringbone braid (or whatever you’d like to call it).