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Creating A Two Strand Overlap Braid With Fishtail Bottom


This beautiful and very romantic braid looks difficult, but with some practice and patience, you can master it in plenty of time for your prom, wedding or special event.

It is helpful to remember that braiding is just a simple process of folding sections of hair over each other.

This soft braided style works best on completely dry hair that is all one length. It also works best on shoulder length or longer hair.

Because this is such a beautiful braid, you may want to dress it up with a simple tiara, headband or other hair adornments that draw attention to the braid.

Jeweled hair pins and barrettes added at the nape of the neck and at the end of the Fishtail braid also lends a classy touch.

This braid also works beautifully with well placed pearls, flowers, jeweled combs or other hair jewels. You can add the jewels in many different places. You can add a simple tiara to your crown and then do the braid at the back.

You can also add the hair ties at the beginning of the fishtail braid or at the end of it. Be creative and you can create all sorts of different looks.

It is very import to be sure that you brush and completely detangle your hair before you start working on the braid.

This braid is a lot more difficult to accomplish if your hair has tangles or knots. It is important to continue using your fingers to pick up equal amounts of hair sections and form an X configuration.

If your hair is not smooth, it will be difficult to pick up the next strand. Hair will tend to tangle and get in the way.


Since the Two Strand Overlap works best on dry hair, you may decide to shampoo your hair several hours before you add the braid. It is important to note that the braid works best on hair that is not too soft or fluffy.

It is best to avoid using a lot of conditioner after you shampoo to keep hair detangled and conditioned, without being too silky.

If your hair will allow it, use a shampoo that will give your hair more volume rather than softness. Sometimes the Two Strand braid works best after the hair has been set on large heated rollers to give the hair "texture" and volume.

You will need to experiment to determine whether how hair works best in the Two Strand.

You may find that you do well with your regular shampoo and conditioner. Or you may find that you should use a more texturizing formula to give your hair more staying power.

While this is a soft and romantic braid, you want to make sure that the strands hold in place.

You may want to experiment with different volume shampoos like Phytotherathrie Volume or Volume Mousse Shampoo.

You may also want to experiment with different setting gels such as Mine Gel/Mousse or PhytoFix Gel

Blow Drying

If you normally air dry your hair, you may want to blow dry it right before you create the Two Strand to make sure that your hair is completely dry.

Dry your hair upside down to give it maximum fullness. Use a slow, cool or cold setting to plump up the hair.

Be sure to use a good heat protection product and apply some Phytodefrisant or Mine Smooth Sailing to smooth and defrizz curly or wavy hair.

Styling Instructions Steps:

Remember to smooth the hair as you make each new cross. When you pick up hair from one side of your head, make sure you move it to the side opposite from the one you picked up on.

  1. Take a small triangular section of hair from the very front or crown section of the hair. If you have bangs start the braiding behind the bangs and not at the bangs. Any styling you want to do to your bangs can be done at the end after the braiding is finished.
  2. Divide the small triangular section of hair into two separate, but equal strands.
  3. Cross the right strand over the left strand.
  4. Place both of the strands in the right hand with the index finger in between, palm up.
  5. Pick up a 1" section on the left. Starting at your hairline, continue across the top of your head and end in the middle by your right hand. If you are not sure what 1" of hair is, use a ruler to measure and get an idea of this thickness.
  6. Cross this section over the left strand and add to the right strand. You are actually making a big X in your hair.
  7. Put both strand in the left hand with the index finger in-between, palm up, as shown.
  8. Pick up a 1" section on the right side. Starting at the hairline, continue across the head and end in the middle by your left hand.
  9. Cross the section over the right strand and add it to the left strand. Once again you are making a giant X.
  10. Put both strand in the right hand with your index finger in-between, palm up.
  11. Continue making the X configuration in your hair until you reach the nape of your neck. Tie the braid off with a "hair friendly" elastic covered tie in the same color as your hair or add a jeweled hair tie.

After you have tied off the braid at the nape of the neck, make a Fishtail braid in the hair that is left over at the nape of the neck.

Creating The FishTail Braid

  1. Divide the remaining hair into two sections.
  2. Take a small section from behind the left side section of the hair.
  3. Give it to the right side.
  4. While holding the ponytail securely with the left thumb, and allowing the right side to hang free, take a small section from behind the right side.
  5. Give it to the left side.
  6. While holding the right side securely with your right thumb, continue making the braid until you reach the very end of the leftover hair. Secure with a "hair-friendly" hair tie that will not rip or damage your hair in any way.

Option #1 - Extra Fullness

While you are making the Two Strand Overlap braid you have the option to keep your hands elevated at the crown level while you are doing this braid.

Once you are finished but before you put a "hair-friendly" hair tie in your hair, let your hands relax to the nape area and allow the braid to slide down softly. This creates fullness behind the ears and in the back of the braid.

Option #2 - Tucked Fishtail

After you have braided the remaining hair into the Fishtail you can tuck it up and under the Two Strand Overlap and pin the braid.

Use hair pins that are smooth and will not damage the hair in any way. When possible, use pins that match your hair color to blend in with the style.

Option #3 - Loose Fishtail

After you have braided the remaining hair into the Fishtail you can let it just hand down from the Two Strand Overlap and add another jeweled hair tie to the very tip of the Fishtail braid.


With a little practice you can credit this gorgeous braid yourself. It can be dressed up, dressed down or adorned with hair jewelry, flowers, pearls or crystals.

Let your imagination run wild and create a stunning look that will garner you lots of admiration.

If you want to talk more about this or other hair care articles on or anywhere else, please post a message on's Hair Talk Forums.

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