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How to Fishtail your own Hair to the side

Updated on September 13, 2014
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I am an African Woman and almost always have my hair in weaves and braids. I am an enthusiast and write about it.

Braids are fun and beautifull!

Braiding lets you vary your look and gives your hair a rest from constant brushing and tugging every morning to get a decent hairstyle in place. The most common braid involve three strands and get get boring after a while.

Fishtail braids are a twist on your usual three strand braids and they are lovely and classic. There is a great tutorial online on how to fishtail your own hair.

Once you have the basics down, the challenge is how to incorporate your own style. One of the easiest ways is to fishtail your own hair to the side.

Fishtail braids are not difficult to learn and a lot of variety can be incorporated by varying the tension and the direction of the braids.

How to Fishtail your own hair to the side

Steps to Fishtail Braids

  1. Part your hair at the side you choose. It doesn't matter which one. Continue the parting down the scalp till the nape of the neck.
  2. Take sections of hair one inch at a time. The size of the sections is an important aspect of getting an even fishtail braid hairstyle.
  3. If you are right handed, start from the right ( and vice versa)
  4. Holding the entire right section in your right hand and left section in your left hand, take a one inch section from the outside of the left half using the right hand, pull it over the entire left section and hold it in your right hand.
  5. Repeat the same with the left hand until you get to the nape of your hair.
  6. Secure with an elastic hair band


Side Fishtail Braids

Lovely example of how to fishtail your hair to one side
Lovely example of how to fishtail your hair to one side

What you need for Fishtail Braids

  • Hair - at least medium length, reaching down to your shoulders.
  • Products - Conditioners and creams for braids.
  • Mirrors - since this a DIY project, arrange two mirrors so you can see almost all your hair at once.
  • Your imagination - I cant hep with that.


This statue currently at Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Denon wing, ground floor, depicts a Lagid queen with braids
This statue currently at Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, Denon wing, ground floor, depicts a Lagid queen with braids | Source
Intricate Fishtail braids
Intricate Fishtail braids | Source

History of Fishtail Braids

Fishtail braid are believed to have originated from ancient Greece. In fact another name for them is Grecian braids. Many statues are adorned with braids.(Or maybe they were just easier to carve)

In the 19th century, the style became popular in France and was referred to as tresse francaise. The basics of the style have remained the same.

The picture below is from a presentation by the Fairfield University on how to braid your hair like a Greek goddess.

They took their inspiration from the females depicted on the Parthenon sculpture.

Tips for an elegant Fishtail braid

For a tighter more intricate braid hairstyle, take smaller strands at a time.

You can get a loose braid with free tendrils in three ways

  1. Start braiding halfway down the parting, this way there is some unbraided hair at the beginning.
  2. Use larger strands when braiding.
  3. At the end of the fishtail braid, try to pull the braids slightly apart all the way down the line.

If your hair is long, once you complete the braid, you can twist it around into a bun or leave as a loose hanging ponytail.

For an evening look, making loose fishtail braids and then rolling the braid into a bun produces a sexy and sassy hairstyle. Best of all it can be done at home easily.


The fishtail braid is a great way of pulling hair away from your face without being severe.

It is more feminine that the ponytail or bun, and yet gives you the freedom to move without worrying about getting disheveled.

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