How to Soften and Stretch Braids (and fishtails!)

Philosophy’s TSV on QVC

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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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Lindsey Powell says · 07.27.15

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?

Linda says · 07.27.15

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

Kate says · 07.27.15

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

Sarah S says · 07.27.15

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

Heidi says · 07.27.15

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!

Claudine says · 07.27.15

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!

Shannon says · 07.27.15

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

Kim says · 07.27.15

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

Kim .. Weekend OOTD & cut your own hair!

leticia justus says · 07.27.15

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

Katie says · 07.27.15

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.

Ary says · 07.27.15

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?

Brittany says · 07.27.15


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!!


Kristi says · 07.27.15

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

Kristi | Be Loverly

Afton says · 07.27.15

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

Erika says · 07.27.15

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

Chelcey says · 07.27.15

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 |

Erin @ Her Heartland Soul says · 07.27.15

You look gorgeous! I love this braid!

Her Heartland Soul

Lauren says · 07.27.15

This is beautiful <3

Evelina says · 07.27.15

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?

katie says · 07.27.15

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!

Kristin S says · 07.27.15

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!

aesthetics medispa says · 07.28.15

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

Chelsey says · 07.28.15

I love your hair color and length right now!

Natalie says · 07.28.15

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


Heather says · 07.28.15

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!

Grace says · 07.28.15

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!

Hailey~FurnishMyWay says · 07.28.15

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!

Kelly says · 07.30.15

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!

Sophie says · 08.06.15

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.

Med Pure CBD Oil Review says · 08.17.17

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Meenu says · 02.11.19

Absolutely love this! Your color looks amazing btw!