Young woman with herringbone braid
Hair Styling | Braided hair

Braiding Instructions: How to Style Herringbone Braids

Herringbone braids are a stand-out style – and so easy to do! We show you how it’s done, step-by-step, and what variations there are – from classic to hip, as a small detail or elaborate whole-head style

Right, left, right, left: Most women learn to braid as a child. But if you want to level up your braiding skills, you should try a herringbone braid. With a little practice, it’s just as quick to do as a classic braid, but the result? Much, much more spectacular!


The herringbone braid owes its name to its herringbone look: Its pattern is reminiscent of the backbone of a fish. The only prerequisites for braiding a herringbone braid: medium thick, mid-length or longer hair – and some braiding skill. The latter is taken care of with our step-by-step guide. Lucky for us that the herringbone braid looks way more complicated than it is to style. Let’s dive in!

Herringbone braids: What you’ll need

Prepare the following things before you get started on your herringbone braid:


  • A brush: The brush helps untangle the hair before braiding. It’ll also get hair where you want it to be. Use an antistatic brush to prevent static charge and flyaways.
  • A hair tie: Keep one or more hair ties to hand to keep your hair secure and stop your braid from coming undone. To secure the end of a braid, small, transparent hair elastics are best. These are almost invisible, giving the impression that the herringbone braid is holding itself together.
  • Bobby pins: These small pins will hold elaborate braid styles really well, and virtually disappear into the hair. Match the bobby pin color to your hair color to make them even less noticeable. Tips: Position the wavy side of the pin down, against your head, for better grip. And spray your bobby pins with some hairspray before use for even better hold.
  • Hairspray: Finishing with hairspray ensures that your herringbone braid will last all day (or night).

Herringbone braid instructions

A little hint in advance: Don’t wash your hair right before plaiting it into a herringbone braid. ‘Day old’ hair has more grip, braiding is easier and the hairstyle holds much better. Tip: Can’t do without your daily shampoo? You can also use volume powder or dry shampoo to add texture before braiding.


  1. Create a parting depending on how you would like to wear the braid later. For example, a side parting will enable you to wear the braid over your shoulder.
  2. Tie hair loosely with a hair tie. Tip: It’s easiest to braid with your hair forwards over your shoulder.
  3. Divide hair with your fingers into two main sections of equal size and hold them both with one hand.
  4. Now, take a thin strand from the outside of the left main part, and bring it over to the inside of the right main part. The narrower the split strands are, the more delicate the herringbone braid will look. However, to achieve a consistent result, the strands should always be about the same width.
  5. Repeat the process on the other side: Take a thin strand from the outside of the right main part and bring it over to the inside of the left main part.
  6. Continue like this, and your herringbone braid will gradually emerge. Make sure you braid as tightly as possible, so that the pattern is clearly visible.
  7. Secure the end of the braid with a transparent hair tie and carefully remove the hair tie used at the start. For a more natural, undone look, carefully pluck out individual strands from the braid. Well done! Your herringbone braid is complete.

Variations of the herringbone braid

Have you got the basic technique down? Want to expand your repertoire? The herringbone braid is a core braiding technique, and once you’ve mastered it, you can create many stylish looks. Here, we show you both opulent and simple styles using the herringbone technique. With a little practice, you’re guaranteed to get these! Herringbone braids come in many different variations: From classic to hip, as a small detail or elaborate whole-head style. Here are three popular versions for you to try – step-by-step guides to get the look.

Herringbone braid: Minimalist evening hairstyle

Ponytail meets herringbone braid: Here two trends are combined into a sophisticated overall style. This hairstyle shows how a herringbone braid can add an eye-catching detail to a simple ponytail.

  1. Brush your hair and secure in a ponytail at the nape of your neck.
  2. Start creating your herringbone braid right at the hair tie. Divide the braid into two equal strands. Separate a small strand from the outer edge of the right part, and bring it over to the inside of the left section. Repeat the other way around: Divide a strand from outer edge of the left part, and bring it over to the inside of the right section.
  3. Secure your fishbone braid with an invisible hair tie (in the color of your hair, or transparent) and spray the entire hairstyle with glossy hair lacquer.


Casual half-back herringbone braid

Want to try the latest braided hairstyle trend, but prefer to wear your hair out? The solution: A mix of both! In this half-back style, just two side parts which normally surround your face are styled back and braided individually, and then together, into a herringbone braid. Here’s your step-by-step guide:


  1. Start by working some dry shampoo into your hair for more grip, easier braiding, and better hold.
  2. On each side of your head, gather up a section of hair about three fingers in width.
  3. Now herringbone braid one of these two parts (as described above) until about halfway down its length. Pin it with a bobby pin for the time being so it doesn’t unravel while you work on the other side. Braid your hair likewise on the other side section.
  4. Bring the open ends of these two braided sections together, and plait these together into one single braid.
  5. Secure the end of this braid with a fine hair tie. Pull gently at your braid to pluck a few strands loose for a romantic effect.

Messy style herringbone braid

Young woman with messy style herringbone braid

Classic, full herringbone braids have been given an undone makeover: Hair is braided loosely in two wide sections. Then, pull both braids apart a little – the look you’re going for is imperfect, so it’s OK if a few hairs fall out of the braids. All you need is hair past shoulder length – or a boost from clip-in extensions.

  1. Create a center part and divide the hair in half.
  2. Braid each side herringbone style, and secure each braid with a hair tie.
  3. Sprinkle some volume powder on both braids and knead it in. The braids will look fuller, and while working the powder in, a few hairs will come loose – giving you that desirable messy look.
  4. Finally, position one of the two braids over your shoulder – and your trend style is ready!