The beauty of a fishtail plait

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A fishtail plait looks amazing when done well, and can be worn for the smartest or most casual of occasions. With a little know how it’s fairly straightforward to achieve the style, and you can create a number of variations for different looks. So, what about the history of fishtail plaits? How you do them, and how can they be worn? Here’s your inside track.

History of the fishtail plait

The fishtail plait is more commonly known as a French braid but, interestingly, it is believed to have originated from North Africa. Rather than being created in France, it’s generally accepted that the style was first worn over 6,000 years ago in the Algerian mountains. So, as well as being one of the chicest of hairstyles, it’s also one of the oldest. Variations of the original style have developed over the years, and one of the most recognizable is what we now know as the fishtail plait, originally named the Grecian braid in the 19th Century.

How to do a fishtail plait

The fishtail plait step by step varies slightly from the classic French braid in that the hair is divided into two sections rather than three. Below are basic instructions for a simple fishtail plait, but you can adapt them with a few twists:

  • Firstly, separate the hair into two sections and hold one in each hand.
  • Take a strand of hair from one side (maximum of half an inch) and pull it across the same section.
  • Tuck the strand underneath the section on the other side.
  • Give the two sections a gentle tug to tighten the strands connection, keeping the hands high up for maximum tightness.
  • Next, take another thin strand from the opposite section, pull it across and underneath the other section – i.e. repeat the process on the other side.
  • Alternate sides as you go down your hair and leave at least an inch at the bottom to secure the plait.
  • Use thinner strands as you go down to get the thick to thin look of a classic fishtail plait.
  • Leave one strand free to wrap around the hair band if you want a natural-looking finish.
  • Give the plait a gentle stretch for a tousled look, or leave it tight for a sleeker finish.

How to wear the fishtail plait

One of the great things about fishtail plaits is the different ways you can wear them. Varying the texture is one option, from the ultra-sleek tight plait to a casual loose style. You can also vary their height, from the traditional high version to the more flowing effect you can get by starting the braids a little lower down. In fact, a fishtail plait is so versatile that it can be adapted for all occasions, whether it’s for a casual day out with friends or for your wedding day. Down the middle versus on the side, thin twists versus thick ones, and one big plait versus multiple micro plaits — there are so many ways to wear them!

This is one of the most stylish and timeless hairstyles, so now that you know a little more about these timeless braids, why not give them a try!

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