Actress Minka Kelly wears a fishtail braid in a messy style.

How to Spice Up a Fishtail Braid

by Pamela Simmons

Fishtail braids are a somewhat more sophisticated version of your average braid. Unlike a standard braid, fishtail braids contain four strands -- rather than three -- woven around each other to create a wider plait. Add an extra something to give your creative fishtail style even more oomph.

1. Nailing the Fishtail

First things first, learn how to create a fishtail braid. Start by pulling your hair into a ponytail, then split it into two sections. Take a small section from the outer edge of your right section and weave it over the larger section directly next to it. Your smaller section should now be in between your two larger sections. Repeat this on the left. Your two smaller sections should now both be in the center. Cross your small right section over your small left section, pulling both smaller sections into their opposite larger sections. You should again have just two large sections. Repeat these steps and continue braiding until you reach the end of your hair. Once you've finished, if you'd like, snip off the elastic -- use a hair tie you're not too attached to -- to create a looser, more carefree look.

2. Pigtails

Instead of sporting one fishtail braid, wear two. Just part your hair down the center to form two halves. Pull each half into a ponytail at the nape of the neck, securing with elastic. Fishtail braid to the ends of each ponytail and secure each with an additional elastic.

3. Milkmaid Braids

Milkmaid braids, worn on the crown of your head like a head band, get an extra shot of texture when done in a fishtail version. Start with two low, braided ponytails, then pull each up and over your head and pin them in place. The finished look resembles a romantic braided crown.

4. Make it Messy

Style your hair in an intentionally messy -- but chic -- way. Start your look with unwashed hair. If your hair is already washed, apply a bit of texturizing spray to rough up the strands. Pull your hair to one side at the nape of the neck and start your fishtail braid, braiding loosely and securing with elastic at the ends. Once you've created your braid, gently tug on random sections to loosen them and create a messier look. If a few face-framing pieces up front fall out, let them -- this look isn't meant to be polished.

5. Combine French and Fishtail Braids

Make a girly French braid edgy by combining it with a fishtail. Create a side part in your hair. Starting at your part, French braid your hair down to the nape of your neck. Once you reach your nape, fishtail braid the rest of the way and secure your hair with elastic.

About the Author

Pamela Simmons has been writing professionally since 2009. Her articles on fashion, beauty and other topics have appeared on Denim Therapy and other websites. Simmons serves as an editor and public relations manager for CHIC.TV. She holds a Bachelor of Science in international affairs from Georgia Tech and a Master of Business Administration from Mercer University.

Photo Credits

  • Valerie Macon/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images