If you’ve never learned how to create a fishtail braid, you’re not alone. It’s a lesser-known art form that’s nevertheless super simple—and so pretty, too. In the spirit of changing things up for the New Year, we’re going to teach you this new ‘do. And don’t worry: if you can create a normal braid, you’ll be fishtail-ing in no time. There’s nothing to it, except to know how.
Maybe the best thing about braids is that they don’t demand anything except your hands, a hairbrush, and a hair tie or two. For a fishtail braid, you’ll want to have at least one disposable hair tie on hand since you’ll need to cut it out of your tresses to complete the look.
Step 1: Pull your hair into a low (center or side) ponytail and fasten with a disposable tie. We’ll call this hair tie #1.
Step 2: Split your ponytail into two equal sections, just as you would to make a normal braid except with two sections, not three. We’ll call them sections A and B.
Step 3: Take a small piece from the top of section A and cross it over to section B. Then pull a piece from B and cross it over to section A.
Step 4: Continue pulling and crossing pieces from side to side, tightening the braid as you go. Try to make your crossover pieces the same size, or the braid will look lumpy in the end.
Step 5. When you reach the bottom, fasten with hair tie #2.
Step 6. Using scissors, carefully snip hair tie #1 out of your braid so that it rests gracefully at your nape.
That’s it, you’re done! To polish the look or give your braid a bit more attitude, see the styling tips in our guide.