When trying to decide on the perfect twist braids, the options seem limitless. From Senegalese twists to Havana twists, how can you possibly pick just one? If you just can’t decide which style is perfect for you, we’ve taken some of the guess work out of it. We’ve rounded up six of our absolute favorite styles to give you some major inspiration.
Before we give you our favorite styles, we’re going to explain exactly how to care for your twists—whatever style you choose. The only thing more important than your style looking flawless is making sure your hair remains healthy.
Caring for Twists
As with any protective style, proper care begins from the moment you sit down in your stylist’s seat. To ensure that your style isn’t wreaking havoc on your locks, make sure your stylist doesn’t install your twists too tightly. Any style that puts excessive amounts of pressure on your scalp puts you at risk of developing traction alopecia, a form of hair loss that can be caused by pulling associated with tight styles.
Continuously styling your hair in ways that require pulling—particularly around your hairline—can cause scarring and potentially permanent hair loss. Don’t hesitate to speak up if you feel like your hair is being pulled too tightly. While you may love the look and low-maintenance upkeep of twists, be sure to give your hair breaks in between each installation.
Like most protective styles, twist braids can last several weeks with the proper care and maintenance. Protective styles may relieve you of having to style your hair every day, but that doesn’t mean you can slack off on your regular hair care routine. If you plan on keeping your twists in for longer than a week, you’ll need to maintain your regular hair care regimen and wash your hair while it remains twisted. Shampoo your hair the way you normally would, making sure to be gentle so as not to disturb your style too much. Follow your shampoo with a hydrating conditioner to make sure your hair looks and feels moisturized.
Once you’ve washed and conditioned your hair, you’ll need to make sure you completely dry it. If you’ve added extra hair to your style, you may want to use a blow dryer or hooded dryer to make sure your mane is 100 percent dry. If you leave your hair damp, you run the risk of developing dandruff, fungus, or even mildew.
If you don’t have time to wash and condition your hair regularly, invest in a good astringent—we recommend witch hazel. It can help remove dirt and buildup, keeping your scalp healthy between washes. Apply the astringent with cotton swabs to ensure every nook and cranny of your scalp is left feeling clean.
Senegalese twists are a rope twist style of African braiding that’s similar to box braids. Whereas box braids call for the traditional three strand braid, Senegalese twists are created with a two-strand twist. Like box braids, Senegalese twists can be worn short or long, thick or thin depending on your preference.
Havana twists are very similar to Senegalese twists, which are usually styled with smooth synthetic hair to create sleek twists. In contrast, Havana twists are typically styled with fluffier synthetic hair—often called “Havana hair”— for a more voluminous appearance. Despite its appearance, Havana hair is typically heavier than most synthetic hair types. Because of this, many stylists recommend keeping Havana twists short to avoid unnecessary tension on your hair and scalp.
Like Havana twists, Marley twists take their name from the type of hair used to create the style. Like Havana hair, Marley hair has fluffier, more voluminous appearance than other synthetic hair types. Because this hair is so lightweight, Marley twists are perfect for those concerned about unnecessary stress on their tresses.
Kinky twists are a two strand twist style similar to Senegalese. Unlike Senegalese twists—which are often styled with smooth synthetic hair to create a sleek appearance—your stylist will use hair that is closest to your natural texture to give twists a more natural look. The true trademark of a kinky twist is the curled ends. After each individual twist is complete, your stylist will curl the ends for the final look.
Nubian twists are a style in which the hair is twisted using added hair that comes in a very tightly coiled pattern, mimicking what some call a Z-shaped curl. Because of how tightly coiled the curl is, the hair is prone to shrinking. If you’re looking for long, princess-like tresses, Nubian twists are not the style for you. Although Nubian twists are often compared to kinky twists, the former involve hair that's already coiled. There's no need to curl the ends of the twists to complete the look.
Nubian twists are great for anyone with a very tightly coiled natural curl pattern who is transitioning from natural to relaxed hair. Because the added hair is similar to your natural curl pattern, it’ll create you a really natural look and give your ‘do some much needed style while you deal with two different hair textures.
Like many other styles of twists, yarn twists get their name from the type of hair required for the look. Although yarn isn’t technically hair, you can install it as you would any other synthetic style. It’s available in dozens of colors, making it the perfect ‘do for anyone looking to channel their inner unicorn.
Yarn twists have many benefits including being very cost effective, as yarn is usually cheaper and more readily available than synthetic or human hair. They’re also perfect for anyone with fragile hair prone to breakage, because wool is such a light material the weight doesn’t add any extra stress to your locks. But beware—not all yarn is created equal. Be sure to only use acrylic yarn. Any other yarn will become tangled in your locks.