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Braided styles have been around for thousands of years, all the way back to the ancients of Greece and Rome. While the combinations and interpretations of braids have changed over the years, the actual methods of weaving hair aren’t really all that different.
Among these braids is the fishtail, which gets its name from the resemblance to scales in a fish’s tail. A slightly more complicated weave using four working sections, fishtails tend to be tighter and more secure than a traditional braid or French braid while also bringing a funky look to your style.
Fishtail braids lend themselves to a French style, as the style of weave mimics the pick-up method using when French braiding. You can either fishtail braid all the way through your French braid, or start with a conventional French braid and switch over to the fishtail for the bottom half. Either way, you’ll be left with a look you can use for any occasion. From the gym to your wedding day, a French fishtail braid has your back and will stay put, not to mention look completely fabulous!
Best Fishtail French Braid Hairstyles and Inspiration
Not all fishtail braids need to be tightly woven, as you can see here. The looser style of fishtail is great if you don’t want an uptight look, and going for a slacker weave makes the braid appear to be wider. With the beautiful green and blue tones of the hair, this fishtail braid is fun and subtle way to achieve a mermaid look for every day.
This fun and funky look is the perfect blend of form and function. The fishtail braids look incredible, particularly where the two weave together, but they also serve the great purpose of pulling all the hair back securely. On the bottom, regular Dutch braids help to support the fishtails and bring the look together.
Half and Half
French fishtail braids make this simple style come alive, appearing almost to flip inside out at the change over from French to normal fishtails. Keeping the braids tight helps to maintain clean lines throughout the look, the curve of the braid contrasting nicely against the straight hair. Adding the pink bow makes the style pop, but you could just as easily finish with a hair wrap for a simple finish.
Almost an optical illusion, this style appears to begin twice as it curves around the head. Beginning at the top, the French braid method is only used for a few of the strands before continuing in a regular fishtail braid. Right at the ear, pieces come in again in the French style for just a couple passes before finishing with a normal fishtail. This start-stop technique breaks up the style to make it visually interesting while still holding everything in place.
Fishtail braids are a fun twist on the typical waterfall braid look, especially in a half-up style such as this one. Every few passes, a piece of hair outside the braid comes in to make a half-French design that fits with the half-up style. If you want to get big volume with your fishtail braid, strategically tug certain strands of the hair to widen the braid and give it that extra umph.
There’s something sweet and simple about a braid that travels across the head and over the shoulder. Many of our favorite heroines sport this look, from Elsa to Katniss, so it isn’t surprising that younger fashionistas want to try it out! Here, a regular French braid serves to wrap the hair from one side of the head to the other, and the fishtail braid comes at the end. Keeping the fishtail braid tight helps to make the look cohesive and fits with the overall style.
Snake, uh, Fishtail
Fishtail braids are ideal for long hair, as they tend to hold better than a conventional braid. By the nature of long hair, the French fishtail braid eventually gives way to one long braid down the back. Starting the French fishtail in the middle of the head versus at the very top keeps the look smooth from the front, while tugging the braid gives volume at the back.
Simple and Clean
There’s nothing wrong with just going for a basic look! A plain French fishtail braid makes for a great everyday look, and is perfect if you’re just trying to get your kiddos out the door…but still looking presentable. If you’re quick with your braiding, a French fishtail is a fun way to make it look like you spent ages on your little one’s hair when it only took you minutes!
Volume is the Name of the Game
The French part of this look is the star of the show, with the twisting and tugging bringing maximum volume to the style! To get this look, you want to use all your tricks, from layering the fishtail in just the right way to the pull technique to pump it up. You could finish with the braid, as seen here, or you could wrap the leftover hair underneath in a twist or bun for a fancier style.
Part of the Whole
French fishtail braids make a beautiful piece of a large style, especially if you are looking for something formal. Here, the fishtails work almost in place of a clip or comb, pulling the hair in tighter and solidifying the bump. Perfect for a wedding or an event like homecoming, this style will certainly help you stand out!
Sleek and Smooth
For those blessed with smooth, straight hair, a tight French fishtail braid is a thing of beauty. While those of us with more curl or volume can get an amazing fishtail look, it won’t come close to the perfect weave seen in this look. The gorgeous blonde highlights of the model come through also, as the plaiting of the braid layers them together.
Adorable, practical, and fun, fishtail braids make the perfect pigtail style. Not only do they look amazing, but fishtails are more likely to stay put than other types of braids. If you have an active little one, you’ll be grateful for the time you spent on this look since you won’t have to fix it every ten minutes!
Fishtails with a Twist
French fishtail braids are an incredible part of this twisted look, bringing an element of texture and elegance. Fishtail braids lend themselves to this sort of weave, as the pulling and layering to make the braids overlaps. That means you’ll have more hair to pull from, keeping the braids separate while creating your overall look. Finishing in a twist adds to the elegant nature of the style.
To the Side
Fishtail braids are amazingly strong, holding hair in place in what may seem to be impossible ways. In this instance, a French fishtail braid brings stability to this cool side braid. You can leave the rest of the braid out, as seen here, or you can wrap the braid back around for a low up-do.
Braid and Crown
Combining different styles together, this look begins with the one French fishtail braid in the center, meeting up with the crown braid wrapping around the head. The curving braid turns into one long braid over the shoulder, incorporating the center braid into the style. Leaving a couple of pieces out in the front provides a frame for the face to balance the braid.
Three fishtails braids work together to make this look, along with a different style called a bubble braid. To create this style, first split the hair as if to create pigtails. On the left side, do a regular French fishtail braid, bringing the end to meet up with the other side. On the right, divide the hair into two sections. You’ll create two French fishtails, joining them together right at the ear. From there, you can finish with the bubble braid for the creative twist on the style.
French Fishtail Twist
A truly classic look, a French twist gets an upgrade with the fishtail weave. The best part about this style is that it is super easy to accomplish! All you have to do is a normal French fishtail, completing the braid all the way to the end of the hair. From there, wrap and pin the hair to form the twist. Yup, that’s all there is to it!
Braided crowns are a great way to do an up-do on the go. Particularly with these cute bangs, the braided crown just makes the look pop! For this crown look, begin with two fishtail pigtails. Then, wrap the braids over the top of the head, pinning as needed. Be sure to tuck in the ends of the braids to neaten up the style.
Bun for Days
There’s nothing quite like a large bun to make an impression. This bun really packs a punch, wrapping across the back of the neck to mimic the wrap of the fishtail braid. Meanwhile, the braid itself brings a contrast of texture and breaks up the look.
Twist and Shout
Bring together all types of braids with this amazing and complex up-do. Several different French fishtails wrap together to bring height and layers within the look. Additionally, a combination of tugging techniques and tight braiding make the fishtail braids stand out in different ways.
A cool “faux braid” look, the pull-through braid is a great way to get volume into your look. With this style, the pull-through changes over to a fishtail, switching up both the look and the texture of the braid. Awesome pink streaks in the hair make this a unique and eye catching hairstyle.
Down the Side
While it may appear that this is all one braid, it is actually a fun visual illusion. The first French fishtail braid begins alongside the face, forming a frame and setting up the style. When you reach the nape of the neck, tie off your first braid and bring the rest of the hair over to meet up with that braid’s end. Using all the remaining hair, continue in the fishtail style until the braid is complete.
French fishtail braids are only one of the braid types you’ll find in a boho braided look. Bohemian styles are known for their eclecticism and natural touches, which this look shows off perfectly. Combining multiple types of braids, this mashup of styles creates a fun textural contrast. The wreath of flowers and ribbons adds just the right finishing touch to round off this boho chic look.
Smooth Front, Fishtail Back
Adding a French fishtail braid is a great way to lift a classic half up look. In this case, by starting the fishtail a bit further back, you allow some of the hair to remain out and smooth in the front, forming a frame around the face. The French fishtail braid also brings a funky quality and detail to a style that would otherwise be pretty plain.
Fishtail braids are a great addition to any up do, particularly to create a point of separation within the look. Here, a curly bun is the focal point of the style, twisting and wrapping around on itself. The fishtail braid mimics the curve of the wrap, and also separates the curly section from the smooth bump of the upper part of the do.
French and Fishtail
Not all French fishtail styles are “fishtailed” all the way through. In this look, the braid begins as a conventional French braid, switching over to the fishtail at the base of the head. This is a fun way to bring two weaves together in a simple style.
Your little one will love the look and feel of this amazing fishtail braid! For a simple look, you don’t have to begin the braid at the top of the head, but rather pull your pieces from the side. This causes less pressure and pulling on the head, which make the style more comfortable for your kiddo.
Similar to our previous style, you can also choose to start the braid from any point on the head. With this look, the braid begins off to the side, creating a curved asymmetric look. Especially if you or your mini-me has a natural side part, this can be a good way to follow that part and still make your style look amazing!
A cool way to do your French braid, layer your pieces when bringing them into the braid. That way, you get this gorgeous overlapping effect within the French braid. Finishing with a fishtail makes sense here, as it mimics the layering of the hair sections in the French braid.
Using a stop-start method, this funky look brings together three different braids into one cohesive style. The first braid begins at the top of the head, using a French fishtail for the first few weaves. Then, continue with a regular fishtail braid until you reach the middle of the head. From there, pull in more hair from the side to French braid again. After a few more wraps, continue with this braid on its own. Repeat the process to finish!
Braid and tuck
Perfectly practical, this gorgeous French fishtail creates smooth layers in a stunning workday style. The braid really is the star of the show, making the red and blonde highlights of the model shine. You could tuck the braid underneath and pin, as seen here, or you could leave the braid out and long down your back. If you still want your hair up, you can do a bun on the outside as well.
Thick and Full
If you have thick hair, you know the pain of trying to get your hair to stay put. Never fear, the French fishtail is here! With a French fishtail braid, your style will stay in its plait, actually working with your thick hair to make the braid look full. Here, the fishtail braid brings to life the highlights of the model, another benefit to the style.
Incredible Look? Check. Easy to accomplish? Check. French fishtail? You know it! To get create this style simply pretend you are doing a pigtail style – just use all of the hair! Bring the left sections all of the way over, keeping the right side tight. Continue the braid itself down along the same curve, swinging it over the shoulder for a fabulous and carefree design.
Twist and Weave
It’s all about the technique with this French fishtail style. To get this deep crease, you need to twist the hair sections as you bring them into the fishtail, which also gives you the distinct layering effect alongside the braid. Tugging the braid a bit near the transition off the head creates a cool size difference as well as nice shape to the braid.
Putting the fishtail braid only in the bun creates a nice visual difference between the smooth top of the head and the bun itself. Start your fishtail braid at the base of the head, either securing it in a hair tie first or leaving it free, and then you can wrap that braid around to form the bun. Pull a few pieces out here and there to form a wispy frame around the face, and you’ll be on your way!
A gorgeous black and white photo, this braided style will make you think of childhood days gone by. The simplicity of the French braid transitioning into the fishtail reminds us of the whimsy of our younger days, as well as the playfulness that comes along with this hairstyle. Keep the braid plain, as pictured, or add a ribbon at the changeover to break up the style.
Mixing it Up
This cool style brings together several braids to form one amazing design. Tugged Dutch braids provide volume and style, while the bubble braid adds the fun. Leaving some of the hair free under the bubble braids allows them to stand out while bringing a sense of smoothness to the overall style. Finally, the fishtail braid gives the final punch that makes the whole look work.
Most braided crowns have the appearance of almost emerging from the hair, as if it is there all the time. However, in this look, the fishtail crown seems to have been set upon the model’s head in an amazing visual contrast. Especially given the straight nature of the hair underneath, such a plump and perfect fishtail braid really stands out.
Straight and True
The smooth top is a nice complement to the French fishtail braid as it moves down the back. Perfectly plaited, the French method transitions nicely to the regular braid keeping with the classic nature of the style. If you’re looking for the quintessential fishtail braid, you’ve found it!
You couldn’t ask for a more versatile style than a French fishtail. Whatever the occasion, you’ll be sure to rock an amazing look that won’t budge. Test your French fishtail at the gym, work, a night out, or a dance party – not only will it transition nicely, but you’ll love every single one of your looks!
No matter how you wear your hair, we promise that your French fishtail won’t let you down.