Pompadour and Circumstance

John Barrett Salon's fishtail braid updo how-to

Fishtails are often considered the hot mess of hairdos. And while we love ’em, we’re always seeking something more polished come holiday party season. Isabel Guillen of John Barrett Salon’s new ponytail bar in New York showed us a fresh take on the not-so-classic fishtail.

fishtail braid!

1. Gather hair at center of your crown.

2. Create a French fishtail braid by first dividing hair into two sections and crossing small, equal pieces from the outside of one side to the inside of the other side. On the second crossover, start to pick up additional sections of hair and continue crossing over, like you would in a traditional French braid.

3. Stop gathering from the root at the edge of your crown, completing the braid by using only the hair you’ve already picked up, so that it hangs loose. Secure with a clear elastic.

4. Using your thumbs, rub and press hanging braid section to create uneven bunches from section to section and give braid additional texture.

5. Smooth hairline edges with a styling balm or spray. (Guillen recommends spraying directly onto palms then smoothing over in light strokes.)

6. Divide remaining bottom half of hair into two even sections, parting down the middle of your head. Gather each and repeat steps one through four, securing each with a clear elastic. 

7. Starting with first (middle, top) braid, secure braids to head using hairpins in a coiled snake pattern. Continue pinning and wrapping all braids into one center coil. (Stylist trick: Pin a sparkly necklace, bracelet, or headband next to one of the braids and coil along with the rest of the braids to up your shine quotient.) 

For more information and how-to videos, go to johnbarrett.com. Then flip, twist, and tuck through a beauty chest’s worth of holiday hair accessories.

Photos: Tiffany Davis / DailyCandy