Braids are so versatile and a mainstay in hot temperatures because there are so many styles to try: clean and crisp boxer braids, a twisted-rope braid, a sporty ponytail braid, a crown braid or a long and loose fishtail braid—the possibilities are endless.
No matter which of these easy braid hairstyles you go for, braids are a great idea when the mercury rises because they get the hair off the back of your neck and you can achieve the look fast, at home, without the use of hot tools (a welcome respite from the blistering heat of curling irons, flat irons and blow-dryers). And if you braid your wet hair straight out of the shower, you get the added bonus of a wavy look when you eventually take your braid out.
Feel clueless on how to French-braid your own hair? With a little practice, it’s a cinch to learn. This fishtail-braid tutorial will get you that dream mermaid-inspired look. FYI: A fishtail braid is similar to a French braid; the only difference is that once it’s completed, it appears to divide the hair into only two sections instead of three.
Step 1. Start with dirty hair. It might sound counterintuitive, but squeaky-clean hair has too much “slip” and the braid will not hold as well. Cool braid hairstyles look best on hair that hasn’t been freshly washed, so plan to style your braid two or three days after washing so your hair has some grit. If you want to add extra grip before you start styling, try a texturizing beach spray like L’Oréal Paris Stylista #BeachWaves Texturizing Mist.
Step 2. Gather your hair into a low side ponytail and sling it over one shoulder. Secure it with a clear elastic at the nape of your neck. This will keep everything in place as you begin to braid.
Step 3. Divide the ponytail into two equal-sized parts. (Unlike a traditional braid, where you start with three, you start with only two sections for the fishtail braid.)
Step 4. Separate a small half-inch section of hair from the outside of each part of the ponytail.
Step 5. Now that you have four sections (two larger and two small outside sections), take the first outside section of the right ponytail and cross it with the opposite larger section (right over left). Do the same on the other side: a small section from the outer left over the larger right section. This might sound tricky at first, but with a little practice (and by looking in the mirror!), you’ll get the hang of it. It might take you a little longer to nail the look on the first few tries, but soon you’ll be a braiding master.
Step 6. Repeat this pattern until you get to the ends of your hair. It shouldn’t be pulled too tight or precise; the whole idea of this long braid hairstyle is that it’s loose and casual.
Step 7. Secure the ends with a clear elastic. Once that’s secured, go back through the length of your braid and gently pull at the sides to create a fuller look.
Step 8. For the final step, you’ll need to go back to the braid’s starting point (at the neck) and carefully snip away the clear elastic with small scissors; this will make the braid look fuller at its base. As a finishing step, you’ll need the best hairspray to lock in your style. Try L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Hairspra. It will help prevent flyaways and lock out humidity so that your braid won’t get frizzy. If your ends are looking parched, rub some smoothing serum between your hands and then distribute it on the ends only so they look shinier and healthier. Try L’Oréal Paris Stylista #Sleek Smoothing Serum
Now that you’ve aced how to do a fishtail braid, think about other ways you can switch it up. A fishtail braid updo is a cute, easy hairstyle to wear to a virtual happy hour. With a deep side part, you can start the braiding along the hairline and then secure everything into a bun in the back.