Hairstyle tutorial – French fishtail braid chignon

by Hair Romance on January 22, 2013 · 20 comments

in Tutorials

Hair Romance - French fishtail braided chignon tutorial

A new hairstyle tutorial for you, with an interesting twist on the fishtail braid. Sometimes referred to as a seashell braid, this curving fishtail does have a shell-like quality and it’s a beautiful upstyle for day or night.

You can learn the basic fishtail braid technique here and see below for the step-by-step tutorial for this braided upstyle.

Hairstyle tutorial – French fishtail braid chignon

Hair Romance - French fishtail braided chignon hairstyle tutorial

How to get the look

Step 1 - Brush your hair back to remove any knots.

Step 2 - Make a short part on the right side and take a section of hair to begin your braid.

Step 3 - Make a French fishtail braid from the top right to the bottom left of your hair. French fishtail braids use the same technique as a regular fishtail but you add in extra hair from each side as you braid. Pick up a small section of hair from the left and cross it into your right hand. Pick up a small section of hair on your right side and cross it over into your left hand. Repeat this as your braid diagonally down your head.

Tip: For fishtail braids, I find it helpful to think of them as two ponytails. Hold one ponytail in each hand and then you cross little pieces over from one side to the other, always keeping one ponytail in the palm of your hand.

Step 4 - When your braid reached behind your left ear, start to curve it around and braid along your lower hairline. Continue into a regular side fishtail braid until all your hair is braided. Secure the end with an elastic.

Tip: Use a small clear elastic as it won’t show when you create the chignon.

Step 5 - Twist the braid up and around into a spiral bun. Pin in place with bobby pins.

Hair Romance - French fishtail braided chignon hairstyle

Style tips

This hairstyle is best for long hair without too many layers. Try and keep each section you add in small and even. This will emphasise the seashell shape.

My version is a little messy, but I like it that way. When doing this on your own hair you have to go by feel so it can be tricky to keep it even. You will achieve a much neater result on someone else’s hair.

Hair Romance - French fishtail braided chignon

Where would you wear this fishtail chignon hairstyle?

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

masterofboots January 22, 2013 at 11:58 am

Lovely! This style works well for any occasion too.
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Hair Romance January 22, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Thank you! Xx


Rachel January 22, 2013 at 7:11 pm

So pretty! I’m always jealous of people who can get this sort of style to work, because my layers basically exclude me from any fancy braiding :( I love that you paired this with edgy jewellery, too. Such a little detail, but it looks great!
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Hair Romance January 23, 2013 at 7:11 am

Thanks Rachel! I was thinking about how this could work for layers and if you could do two French fishtail braids next to each other curving around. If you made a zig-zag part line between them it would look as if they joined. I want to try this (when I get my colour done!) and I’ll let you know how it goes x


Sarah January 23, 2013 at 12:31 am

This is so gorgeous – I love the French fishtail, but mine always seem to fall when I do it on my hair. I have very straight and fine hair, and even if I start the fishtail at the hairline, by the time I’m done, the whole braid has scrunched down at the bottom of my head – any tips to prevent this? Do I just need to use some product or tease my hair? Thanks!


Hair Romance January 23, 2013 at 7:19 am

Hi Sarah, try adding mousse to your hair and blowdrying it in to add some texture. If you hair is soft and fine you will need to add some “grip” to keep the braid from slipping.


apoorva salian January 23, 2013 at 9:50 pm

ausiee style


Özge January 29, 2013 at 4:04 am

I’m in love with this hairstyle! ♥ I will try this with my sisters hair at a wedding. I think it will look great with a flower in color of her dress :)


Hair Romance January 29, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Thank you so much Ozge! I think a flower with this would look stunning x


Helena March 8, 2013 at 7:12 am

I think It would look nice if it was left as a braid before putting it up as well :)


Hair Romance March 9, 2013 at 10:04 am

Great idea, Thanks Helena x


Alyssa November 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Dear Hair Romance,
My mom is a hairdresser and she is trying to do this hairstyle on me. She is having trouble with the rolled look of the braid. She says that since I have a “TON” of hair, the braid shouldn’t look as flat as it does. Is there some trick to getting the rolled look? Also my mom is wondering if it has the rolled look because you are doing it on yourself. Do you get the same look if someone else does it for you? She says that it looks really pretty as it is, but she likes the texture and dimension that the rolled look gives. I would appreciate any help that you can give me.


Hair Romance November 11, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Hi Alyssa! I angle the braid around then tuck the end under and curl the braid around into the bun. You can see my hair isn’t that long before I twist it into the bun so if your hair is a lot longer than mine, the bun will be a lot bigger. To counteract this, you could curve the fishtail braid around your head a little higher. This would leave more space underneath for a wider bun. Another tip, if you have a lot of hair, try and add in more at the start of the braid, so there is less to add in where it curves and at the end. This will make the braid sit flatter. Good luck! Christina x


Alyssa November 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm

The bun itself is fine what she is having trouble with is where the braid sits out from my head on the right side; it sort of rolls towards the left side. Sorry I must have explained it in a confusing way. It’s like it’s too flat farther down the braid; it doesn’t have a rolling look to the braid itself. Your braid looks like a fishtail French roll our braid looks like a flat fishtail; it doesn’t have the rolling seashell look yours has. Thank you for your help.


Hair Romance November 12, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Ah I see Alyssa, ok, what you need to do is visualise the line you want your braid to follow before you begin. Then as you start curving the braid you need to keep the tension on the hair on the right side (the inside of the curve) and then the left side can be a little looser to create that softer curve on the outside. Then follow your lower hairline from the middle of your neck to the right until all your hair is added into the braid. Hope this helps, good luck! x


Alyssa November 13, 2013 at 5:34 am

She figured it out. She said that she was taking to big of pieces for the braid, also she got the right look when she picked up the pieces on the right side of the braid in a more vertical fashion. Now she said that she needs to pin the braid with bobby pins as she goes, because I have curly hair that is layered. So just in case anyone with layered hair want to do this hairstyle. My mom is a hairdresser, and she said if you bobby pin the braid as you go then it will hold. Thank you Christina x for all of your help.

Jasmine January 30, 2014 at 4:54 pm

I love this look, and I’m going to try it one day for one of the balls we have at my dancing. Honestly, I think this could be considered artwork in itself! Beautiful!


Hair Romance January 30, 2014 at 6:13 pm

thank you so much Jasmine! I’d love to see a picture if you try it in your hair x


JASMINE REED June 2, 2014 at 1:24 pm

I love this hair style !


Hair Romance November 13, 2013 at 9:14 am

Thank you for the tips Alyssa! So glad you figured it out xx


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