How to Soften and Stretch Braids (and fishtails!)


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If you search for braid inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram, I’m sure you’ll stumble across a really wide, thick looking braid or fishtail in about .001 seconds. I love that this is where the trend is going because I love lived in, soft, romantic hair. And tight, perfect braids are a thing of the past (unless you are a little girl, in which case you can do whatever you want with your hair because you’re adorable).

Getting the look of wide and stretched out braids is incredibly simple. And once you see how easy it is, you’ll be able to transform your braids into the ones you see all over Pinterest and Instagram, I’m sure of it!

Texture spray (or powder if you prefer) is SO VITAL to softening out the braid without pulling it out completely. Here is a post all about texture sprays, including a few of my favorites.

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Tag your photos on Instagram with #smallthingshair so I can see your soft braids!

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Comments (37)

  1. Posted July 27, 2015

    My hair is really fine and about shoulder length. . I use a Redkin product for volume. Would you recommend the products in the video on top of the Redkin?

  2. Linda says
    Posted July 27, 2015

    Hi Kate! Love your blog! I would like to see a haircurling tutorial with the hairlength you have now!

    • Kate says
      Posted July 27, 2015

      It wouldn’t be much different than my lived in waves tutorial !

  3. Sarah S says
    Posted July 27, 2015

    I’m so so excited to figure this one out! Thanks!

  4. Heidi says
    Posted July 27, 2015

    So pretty! I’ve been loving the look of braids lately but wasn’t sure how to make them look good with my fine hair, so this tutorial is perfect for me. Thanks for sharing these tips!

  5. Claudine says
    Posted July 27, 2015

    Hi Kate! I’ve discovered your blog in the past 3 days, and been experimenting with the loose curls and hairdos that you posted and having so much fun! I loved that I could see the evolution from your short, layered, more teased looks with bangs, to a longer, softer and more romantic style. You’ve inspired me, and I am now letting my hair grow. My question is: could you show us how you cut your longer bangs? I noticed that you still have “some” layers that I think are needed for the styles to work. Thank you so much!

  6. Shannon says
    Posted July 27, 2015

    Absolutely love this! Your color looks amazing btw! Is there any toner you recommend for at home highlights on dark hair that look orange?

  7. Kim says
    Posted July 27, 2015

    this is a great post! Your hair looks gorgeous and I loved the tips!

    Kim .. Weekend OOTD & cut your own hair!

  8. Posted July 27, 2015

    Kate , thanks again for another informative and fun:) video !!!!
    I can’t wait to try this look on my daughters and my hair .

  9. Katie says
    Posted July 27, 2015

    Seriously, you make it look so easy! I lost nearly about a third of my hair between my two pregnancies and ended up with limp hair with some bald spots. But your techniques and product recommendations have made it so much easier for me to feel confident in my abilities and the overall look of my hair. I struggled with figuring out how to get lush looking braids, even when I streched them, but adding the texture spray was the exact recommendation.

  10. Ary says
    Posted July 27, 2015

    Hi Kate! I have naturally curly hair so I usually avoid products that add extra texture and volume, since I’ve already got it. Would you recommend adding some texturizing spray to the hair I am going to braid before I braid it?

  11. Brittany says
    Posted July 27, 2015


    I was wondering if you could do an updated products list now that you have longer hair? Have you changed products any or do you mainly use the same things? Thanks!!


  12. Kristi says
    Posted July 27, 2015

    I love this look. Thanks for sharing yet another great tutorial, Kate!

    Kristi | Be Loverly

  13. Afton says
    Posted July 27, 2015

    Hi Kate! This is so pretty! Loving your hair and style these days!!! What polish are your wearing in this tutorial?!

  14. Erika says
    Posted July 27, 2015

    Ha – sitting at my desk with a tight, old school French braid and LOVING that all my hair is completely off my face 🙂 😉

  15. Chelcey says
    Posted July 27, 2015

    Such a great tutorial! I recently got a set of Bellami extensions (best. things. ever.) and I’ve been playing around with some thick braids. Separating them always adds the messy textured look that I prefer! Thanks, lady!

    Chelcey |

  16. Posted July 27, 2015

    You look gorgeous! I love this braid!

    Her Heartland Soul

  17. Lauren says
    Posted July 27, 2015

    This is beautiful <3

  18. Evelina says
    Posted July 27, 2015

    I think where I am going wrong is not adding the texture spray. I don’t know where to buy it! Would dry shampoo work in a pinch?

  19. katie says
    Posted July 27, 2015

    Hey Kate awesome braid. 2 questions…where is your tan t-shirt from and how exactly did you pin it with the Bobby pins? I can never get mine to stay even though I use good pins and keep kinked side next to scalp. Thanks!

  20. Posted July 27, 2015

    Oh, I’ll have to try this but I don’t think it will work with my fishing wire coarse hair. I foresee lots of sticky-outies but I’ll try!

  21. Posted July 28, 2015

    Lovely blog! beautiful style of doing braid,really helpful for those women who wants quick and beautiful hair style.

  22. Chelsey says
    Posted July 28, 2015

    I love your hair color and length right now!

  23. Natalie says
    Posted July 28, 2015

    Hi Kate, thanks so much for this post! I was getting the flyaways spiking out my braids, but this tutorial really helped!


  24. Heather says
    Posted July 28, 2015

    Can’t wait to try this! Where is the best place to get the texture sprays from? I feel like target is my only realm of knowledge in hair care products haha…I haven’t ventured into Ulta or would you suggest a salon? Thanks!

  25. Grace says
    Posted July 28, 2015

    Hi there. I have naturally curly hair but my curls are pretty loose not as tight as they were when I was younger do you think I could do a similar style with my curly hair? Or what would you suggest for curly hair? Thanks!

  26. Posted July 28, 2015

    I am so glad I came across this post. I have been trying to make my curly, short hair braid well, but instead it just looks frizzy! I’m going to have to give your way a try!

  27. Kelly says
    Posted July 30, 2015

    I have always wondered how people made their braids look so romantic and soft. Thank you for the super easy to follow tutorial. Worked like a charm, perfect for keeping my long bangs off my face in this sticky weather!

  28. Sophie says
    Posted August 6, 2015

    Love the love but I tried it with my daughters hair and just can get it to stay. When I try to soften it up it comes out.

  29. Posted August 17, 2017

    This paragraph is genuinely a pleasant one it assists new internet visitors, who are wishing in favor of blogging.

  30. Meenu says
    Posted February 11, 2019

    Absolutely love this! Your color looks amazing btw!