18 fishtail hairstyles you’ll want to try

Tried of Dutch, French, and mermaid plaits? Then take a peek at the fishtail hair looks that will capture all the attention!  

Being total plaiting enthusiasts, we’ve tried just about every fishtail hairstyle under the sun! You could say this labels us as an authority on how to create fishtail hair – well if the shoe fits.

And to prove our credentials, we’ve pulled together our favourite fishbone plait hairstyles, guaranteed to elevate just about any hair look or ensemble you’ll be rocking this season. But before we get started, what actually is a fishtail braid?

Fish plaits as they are sometimes called, are similar to a basic 3-strand braid, however, you only divide your hair into 2 sections. You then take small chunks from your original sections and weave under (or over) each other until you create the fishtail effect. Watch our video tutorial to perfect this braided style.

3 types of fishtail braids

Classic fishtail braids

Half-up, half-down fishtail braids

Fishtail braid updos

1. Small fishtail

Fishtail braids: Woman with honey blonde hair in a fishtail hairstyle
Go for subtle with this fishtail hair ‘do. Credit: Instagram.com/emmachenartistry

Often we think of fishtail braids as a long, full braid, but this lovely ‘do shows that you can also just braid a small section of your hair and still achieve striking results. This is one for those who are time poor, but still want to be hairstyle rich! Credit: @emmachenartistry

Style tip: For added body, we suggest pancaking your braid by gently tugging to separate your plait.

2. Messy braids

Fishtail braids: Woman with long dark blonde highlighted hair in a fishtail hairstyle updo.
Rock this relaxed look and get creative with your braids. Credit: Instagram.com/sabrinadijkman

The beauty of braids is that, sometimes, the messier they are the more intricate your hair will look.

This ‘do combines various styles of braiding, starting with two fish plaits on either side, which then merge with multiple smaller braids, culminating in one large beautiful braid! Keep things wispy and relaxed for this one. Credit: @sabrinadijkman

Editor’s tip: Make braiding easy by using the Toni&Guy Flexible Hold Braid Balm. This handbag must-have is great for helping create and maintain your braided styles.

3. Fishtail hairstyle with flowers

Fishtail braid: Woman with long blonde hair styled in a fishtail braid with baby's breathe flowers sitting in a white room.
Add flowers to your fishtail hairstyle for an enchanting finish! Credit: Instagram.com/byana_yt

This hairstyle is so enchanting yet so easy to pull off! Perfect for festivals, weddings and summer parties, this ‘do will have you looking like a fairy princess in no time.

Sweep your locks to one side and start your fishbone plait on the side, rather than in the centre of your head. Add in sprigs of fresh florals to complete this magical look. Credit: @byana_yt

4. French plait + fishtail hair combo

Fishtail braids:: Woman with long dark hair in a fishtail hairstyle
Combine a French plait and fishtail hair for an incredibly pretty look. Credit: Instagram.com/bernice_braydenlove

Incase you haven’t noticed, we’re big fans of intermingling different braid styles, so go ahead and let your creative braiding juices run wild! We think that this lovely loose French plait, which transitions into a pretty and neat fishtail, looks oh-so gorgeous! Credit: @bernice_braydenlove

Editor’s tip: Have you got thin or fine hair that doesn’t have enough grip to braid properly? Don’t fret: all it takes is a couple of spritzes of the VO5 Volume Dry Shampoo before styling. Now you’re ready to weave as many fishtail plaits as you wish!

5. Rainbow fishtail braid

Fishtail braids: Woman with blonde colourful hair with a fishtail hairstyle and flowers in her hair
Get your fishtail hairstyle festival ready with this look! Credit: Instagram.com/hairbyjessicaybarra

Sporting rainbow hair? Then it’s your duty to show off all those dreamy colours to the world with this stunning look. Get creative with your braids so that you truly showcase your magical locks. Throw on a flower crown for that Coachella vibe! Credit: @hairbyjessicaybarra

6. Stacked braids

Fishtail braids: Woman with unicorn pink hair with several braids and flowers in her hair.
What’s better than one fishtail braid? Two? Credit: Instagram.com/sarennastyles

Not satisfied with a classic and simple fishtail plait? Then why not show off your braiding skills with multiple intricately weaved variations.

With her pastel hue and delicate flower accessories, we think this braided style is another one to add to the festival hair line-up. Credit: @sarennastyles

7. Adorn your fishtail hair

Fishtail braids: Woman with dark brown hair in a long fishtail hairstyle with a gold leaf hair clip.
Accessorize your fishbone plait with a pretty hair clip. Credit: Instagram.com/mekosmanes

As if a fishtail hairstyle wasn’t pretty enough, add in a stunning hair clip and you’ll totally upgrade that look from pretty, to pretty fabulous! We love how this hair slide totally accentuates all that’s lovely about fishtail hair. #nailedit. Credit: @mekosmanes

8. Fishtail crown braid

Fishtail braids: Woman with long ombre brown and blonde wavy hair styled with a fishtail crown braid
Make like a princess with this crown fishtail plait hairstyle!

Perfect for those who love wearing their hair down, yet also want something practical and secure, this ethereal-looking plait adds tonnes of depth and interest to any look.

While this half-up fishtail hairstyle looks great with all hair hues, it looks especially stunning with ombre, balayage, or highlighted manes. Just look at how each coloured strand pops!

Editor’s tip: If you want that lived-in tousled look, spritz damp or dry hair with TONI&GUY Sea Salt Texturising Spray. This fan fave sea salt spray will create defined and textured waves to your mane.

9. Half-up, half-down fishtail braid

Fishtail braids: Woman with long brown hair in a fishtail braid half-up look
Go fairytale princess with a half-up, half-down braid.

Can’t decide between wearing your hair in a pretty updo or leaving it down? Well, now you don’t have to!

Suitable for straightwavy or even curly hair, this half-up fishtail hairstyle is by far one of our all-time favourite ‘dos! And don’t worry about any unexpected photo opportunities, because you’ll be looking totally on point from all angles.

10. The fairytale worthy ‘do

Fishtail braids: Woman with blonde hair styled with multiple braids
Try multiple fish plaits for a truly unique look! Credit: Instagram.com/kelseesbeautybar

This stunning style is the stuff of fairytale princesses! We love the varying sizes of fishtail braids that wrap over one another, creating an almost crown-like effect. Keep the rest of your tresses textured and wavy, for a romantic twist on the look. Credit: @kelseesbeautybar

11. 2-strand fishtail hair

Fishtail braids: Woman with her blonde hair half up with a fishtail hairstyle
Keep things simple with this look. Credit: Instagram.com/iselinakslen

If you struggle to work with 3 pieces of hair to create a standard fishtail plait, fret not, as there is a simple alternative: the 2-strand fishtail weave.Credit: @iselinakslen

12. Halo braid

Fishtail braids: Woman with dark brown hair in halo fishtail braid.
We can see your halo. Credit: Instagram.com/jodycallanhair

We love the impact a halo braid can make. Everyone will rave about how much they love the style and how difficult it must be to do, but between us, a fishtail halo braid is far easier to create than you might think. Credit: @jodycallanhair

Next read: Find out how to master the halo braid with our video tutorial.

13. Fishtail braided side bun

Fishtail braids: Woman with blonde hair and a fishtail plait in a bun wearing a black lace dress.
Give an easy fishtail braid side bun a whirl!

Want a hairstyle that looks just as good from the back as it does from the front? Then come a little closer and let us tell you exactly what you need: a fishbone plait side bun!

Next read: Follow our step-by-step guide to get the look.

14. Formal fishtail updo

Fishtail braids: Woman with blonde highlighted hair in fishtail braids updo.
Give your wedding updo a fishtail makeover. Credit: Instagram.com/theupdogirl

We don’t know about you but this fishtail hairstyle is making us dream of summer weddings. The mix of bigger and smaller weaved braids and loose tendrils make this the perfect hairstyle for any bride-to-be. Credit: @theupdogirl

Editor’s tip: Ensure all your hard work stays put with a firm hold hairspray.

We love the fast-drying VO5 Invisible Firm Hold Hairspray which not only works to secure your updo but with it’ll help to fight frizz too.

15. Fishbone plait updo

Fishtail braids: Woman with brown hair with peach balayage styled in a fishtail hairstyle updo
This pretty updo is sure to turn heads! Credit: Instagram.com/hairbyshannonmarie

This is an updo with a difference and we can almost guarantee people will be asking whether you did it yourself!

Simply put your hair in a ponytail, braid the length into a fishbone plait, then wrap your braid over itself, flat against your head. Secure your braid with bobby pins and you’re done! So simple, but simply stunning. Credit: @hairbyshannonmarie

16. The undone updo

Fishtail braids: Woman with white blonde hair in fishtail bun updo.
We love this undone messy fishtail hairstyle. Credit: Instagram.com/evbeauty.co

The best thing about a fishtail hairstyle is that even if you create a really loose braid, it will still look super stylish!

Take this look for example: pulling the partially woven strands into a relaxed bun really adds a dose of glam. Credit: @evbeauty.co

17. Fishtail accent

Fishtail braids: Woman with golden blonde highlighted hair in a ponytail with a fishtail braid accent.
Give your ponytail an update with a fish plait. Credit: Instagram.com/jodycallanhair

Attached to your ponytail but looking for a fresh new way to style it? Enter this fishtail and ponytail combo. The simple accent braid totally transforms this look from drab to fab! Credit: @jodycallanhair

Editor’s tip: Give your tresses a high shine finish with a few spritzes of TONI&GUY Finishing Shine Spray. This superfine mist gives your hair brilliant shine and polish, while helping to control static. It’s a win-win!

18. The faux fishtail

Fishtail braids: Woman with long grey hair in a fishtail hairstyle
Rock thick, full locks with a stunning fishbone plait. Credit: Instagram.com/citiesbesthairartists

So this sneaky little ‘do is masquerading as fishtail hair, and it certainly looks strikingly similar. Rustle up as many hairbands as you can find and secure the top section of your hair with one of the bands.

Split your hair into two sections and loop until they form a bow. Use another hair band to secure, then repeat all the way down your hair until you have this amazing style. Credit: @citiesbesthairartists






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