ESC: Nikki Reed

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Trust: It looks way harder than it is.

Celebrities like Blake Lively, Nikki Reed and Nicole Kidman may have worn intricate fishtail braids on the red carpet, but the plait is perfectly appropriate for a casual event or even at the gym. Consider it a flattering hairstyle for pretty much any occasion and anyone…except those who can't do the braid.

No judgment here, but should you want to take your classic plait to the next level, we broke down the essential steps to creating a red-carpet-worthy fishtail braid. Basically, instead of weaving three strands together, like with a traditional braid, you're weaving the outer strands of two sections inward. Sound complicated? Just follow the steps below.

ESC: E!ssentials, Fishtail Braid

Step 1: Spray hair with texturizing spray, like Moroccanoil Dry Texture Spray, to create volume and grip (so strands don't slip out of the braid).

ESC: E!ssentials, Fishtail Braid

Step 2: Part hair in two even sections, right down the middle. Tip: Use the pointy end of a rat-tail comb to create a straight part. 

ESC: E!ssentials, Fishtail Braid

Step 3: Take a small piece of hair from the outer-right section. Hold the previous two sections separately with the left hand. 

ESC: E!ssentials, Fishtail Braid

Step 4: Bring the outer-right piece over the right section and gather with left section. 

ESC: E!ssentials, Fishtail Braid

Step 5: Take the small piece of hair from the outer-left half (same amount as step 3). Hold the two halves of hair separately, with one hand. 

ESC: E!ssentials, Fishtail Braid

Step 6: Bring the outer-left piece over the left half (including the piece you just added to it) to the other side. 

ESC: E!ssentials, Fishtail Braid

Step 7: Repeat steps 3 to 6, over and over, alternating sides until you reach hair ends. Tip: Use your middle and ring fingers to hold the braid in place as you weave pieces over each other. It may be tricky at first but after 4 to 5 crisscrosses, hair will begin to hold on its own. 

ESC: E!ssentials, Fishtail Braid

Step 8: Keep braiding down. Note: The smaller the strands, the more intricate the plait. 

ESC: E!ssentials, Fishtail Braid

Step 9: Once you braid down far enough, move your tail over shoulder and position your arms down for easy weaving. 

ESC: E!ssentials, Fishtail Braid

Step 10: Secure with an elastic at hair ends. 

ESC: E!ssentials, Fishtail Braid

Step 11: Pull braids apart ever so slightly for more volume. You don't want your braids to be too tight, after all.

Optional: Take a towel and gently rub it up the braid to create fly-aways for that relaxed, lived-in look. 

Easy-peasy, right?

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