4 Ways to a Do a Fishtail Braid at Home in 2020

The plait is much easier than you think.

side fishtail braid final

There’s no question about it: The braid is definitely a go-to hairstyle for many people, especially when you have no idea how to style your hair for the day. With a lot of extra time on our hands, it’s the perfect time to finally tackle those hairstyles we’ve been eyeing for months, but haven’t gotten around to actually trying out. Today, we want to give props to the chic side fishtail braid, which in our opinions, like with the half-updo and 1990s bob, has definitely reached cult status.

And because we want to share the love, we’ve put together four simple, step-by-step tutorials to creating fishtail side braid styles that anyone can follow. Let’s all ace this stunning hairstyle, together once and for all!

Read on to learn more about how to create a fishtail braid on the side on your hair in different ways:

Look 1: Side Fishtail Braid Bun


Start with clean hair.

Updos have more traction when done on freshly-washed hair. Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner that also imparts some bounce, like Suave Professionals Sea Mineral Infusion Moisturizing Body Shampoo and Conditionerand blow-dry till 90 percent dry. Don’t forget to use some TRESemmé Thermal Creations Instant Heat Tamer Spray before styling.

blonde woman creates side fishtail braid hairstyles on clean hair

Make a side ponytail.

Create a low side ponytail so you can create your fishtail braid to the side. Secure your hair with an elastic or hair tie.

blonde woman creates side fishtail braid hairstyles with a side ponytail

Split your pony in half.

Divide your side ponytail into two parts as you would when beginning a regular fishtail braid.

blonde woman creating side fishtail braid

Begin your side fishtail braid.

Proceed to fishtail: Take one small lock from the outsidemost of Section A and cross it over and incorporate it into Section B. Then take one small lock from the outside  most of Section B and cross it over and incorporate it into Section A.

blonde woman creates fishtail side braid hairstyle and begins braiding

Continue until the end.

Proceed to fishtail braid until you reach the end of your ponytail. Secure the ends with an invisible or clear hair tie.

blonde woman creates side fishtail braid bun hairstyles and continues braiding

Make a bun with your pony.

Gently pull your fishtail braid apart to stretch and create a messy side fishtail braid. Coil your fishtailed pony around its own base to create a low bun.

blonde woman creates side fishtail bun hairstyles and makes a bun

Create a neat chignon.

Make a full circle with your fishtailed pony and secure at the overlap with some bobby pins, tucking them away from sight.

blonde woman creates side bun hairstyles and creates a chignon


The style is complete and you’re all set!

side fishtail braid with bun on blonde hair

Look 2: Side Fishtail Braid Pony for Long Hair


Start with clean, freshly washed hair.

Prep hair for your side fishtail braid by washing with a system that strengthens and adds softness to strands. We like the fullness and smoothness we get from Nexxus Frizz Defy Active Frizz Control Shampoo and Conditioner. Rinse thoroughly, and follow up with a thermal protectant, such as TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Protection Spray, before blowdrying with a paddle brush.

creating a side fishtail braid: start by brushing hair

Split hair in half.

Brush hair over one shoulder, effectively creating a side part. Then split all your hair into two thick sections.

create a side fishtail braid by splitting your hair in half

Pinch off a small strip from the inner section.

Take a small strip of hair from your inner section (or the section nearest your neck) and cross it over to join your outer thick section ad continue your side fishtail braid.

side fishtail braid: create 3 sections of your hair

Incorporate it into the opposite section.

Incorporate the thin inner strip into the thick outer section. Smooth down.

create a side fishtail braid continue to braid

Repeat on outer section.

Repeat the same process on the outer section, which has your fringe/hairline pieces. Take a thin strip of hair on the outermost side of that section, and cross it inwards and over towards the entire opposite section.

side fishtail braid repeat on the outer section

Incorporate into the inner section.

Grasp the new strip and smooth it down in the opposite section.

how to create a chic side fishtail braid

Repeat the process.

Repeat steps three to six, where you take the outermost strip of section A and cross it over to join the entire section B, followed by the outermost strip of section B crossed over to join the entire section A. You will eventually see a herringbone pattern emerge from the base of your plait.

side fishtail braid repeat the process

Braid till the ends.

Continue your plait till you reach the ends. Secure with a neutral-colored hair tie or a bright or metallic ribbon, for a festive touch.

side fishtail braid continue the process

Pancake your plait.

Pancake, or tug, the sides of each chain so it fattens out for a trendier look. You can also take this opportunity to even out any lopsided chains or create a messy side fishtail braid.

how to side fishtail braid: pancake your plait

Finish with hairspray.

For a clean look without any halo frizz, finish with a frizz-controlling hairspray, like TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Frizz-Free Hold Hairspray. Hold the nozzle around 12″ away, or until your arm forms a capital letter L. You’re all set!

how to side fishtail braid final look

Once more, with feeling:

side fishtail braid gif
The fishtail, in fast-forward. Photo credit: Verity Jane Smith

Look 3: Side Fishtail Braid for Medium Length Hair


Refresh hair with a dry shampoo.

If you’re creating this side fishtail style on second or third-day hair, refresh hair first with a dry shampoo like Dove Refresh and Care Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo.

side fishtail braid apply dry shampoo

Braid hair.

Gather hair to the side and begin to create your fishtail braid using the same method mentioned in the previous style.

side fishtail braid plait hair

Set with hairspray.

Lock your side fishtail in with a firm hold hairspray like TRESemmé TRES Two Freeze Hold Hairspray.

side fishtail braid set with hairspray

Final style.

Now you know how to do a side fishtail braid for medium length hair!

side fishtail braid final look

Look 4: Side Fishtail Braid for Short/Medium Hair 

1. Revive sands.

Refresh your strands by using dry shampoo for additional volume. We love Dove Care Between Washes Clarifying Dry Shampoo. This is a great dry shampoo to use because it instantly absorbs excess oil. Just hold the can 8-12 inches away from your head and spritz the product into your roots. gently massage the dry shampoo in and then brush out for maximum volume.

2. Gather hair to one side and section off.

After your hair is volumized, gather all of your hair to either the left or right side of your head, whichever you prefer. Next, section off your hair into two big sections to begin your braid.

3. Begin braiding.

To start the fishtail braid, take a piece of hair on the outside of the section closest to the back of your head and cross it over to the front section. Next, take a piece of hair from the outside of the front section (closest to your face) and cross that over to the back section. Repeat this process until you reach the ends of your hair.

4. Secure ends!

side fishtail braid
Finished fishtail braid!

When you reach your ends, secure your braid in place with a clear elastic. To make sure your braid stays in all day, spritz it with TRESemmé Compressed Micro Mist Smooth Hold Level 2 Hair Spray.

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