With the growing popularity of natural hairstyles, braids have once again become a go-to option for many women. Most braided styles were born out of distinct African countries, cultures, and tribes, and styles often reflect this in their names. The Senegalese twist, also known as the rope braid, is a popular braid which can protect your hair from heat damage and over-styling. We teach you how to do Senegalese twists and keep your hair happy, healthy, and stylish.
what is the senegalese twist
A Senegalese twist is a type of braid most often achieved by weaving hair extensions into your existing hair, then braiding your hair by twisting it in tight ropes before sealing the extensions at the bottom with heat. The Senegalese twist offers you an easy, versatile hairstyle which can last you anywhere between 4-16 weeks with proper care.
Doing the Senegalese twist normally takes between 6-8 hours and can take longer if it’s your first time doing it yourself. However, there are ways you can save yourself time when doing the twist, which include buying pre-twisted extensions or doing larger twists.
HOW TO DO senEgalese TWISTS
Here’s our step-by-step approach to achieving the perfect Senegalese twists.
Start With a Good Base
You should always begin any styling project with a clean, moisturized head of hair. Maybe your hair has had a rough few months and isn’t looking its best: give it the best chance at recovery by thoroughly washing it, allowing it to dry completely, and applying a sleek, non-greasy moisturizing cream to the base of each braid section before twisting. Your properly prepped natural hair will ensure that the twists will look better longer, so don’t skip this step!
Choose Your Extensions
Most women choose to incorporate weave into their Senegalese twist style to achieve length and to enable them to securely seal the artificial hair ends once the styling process is finished. Kanekelon hair is the common choice for Senegalese twists due to its smoother texture; depending on the length you want and the thickness of your twists, you’ll probably need to purchase 6-8 packs of hair.
If you’re looking to save time, you can purchase packs of pre-twisted hair and simple crochet braid them into your own hair.
Practice Your Twisting Method
To attach extensions, take a one-inch section of natural hair and split it in two. Lay a piece of hair extension across the natural hair and begin twisting the left and right sections together, left counterclockwise, right clockwise. Once you have twisted the extension into your natural hair, continue twisting the two extension sections around each other until you reach the end.
Practice your twists as needed before completing your entire head, making sure that the twists are secure but not too tight. If you have sensitive hair, you may way to try attaching your hair extensions with a rubber band instead of twisting them into your natural hair.
Once you have mastered how to do Senegalese twists, repeat the twisting process and complete the rest of your head. Pay attention to the spacing between each twist–you shouldn’t have enormous gaps between them, but the twists should also not be so close together than your sections of natural hair are too thin to support their weight comfortably.
If you’re attempting thicker twists, make sure that you start with a slightly thicker section of natural hair. You will probably find that thicker twists take a shorter amount of time and fewer packs of hair extensions, which means they could be a perfect option for your first time doing Senegalese twists.
Don’t Twist Too Tightly
Be careful not to twist too tightly as you work on your Senegalese twists. Your twists should be secure, but not causing your scalp to itch or your head to hurt. This is a sign that you’ve twisted them too tightly, which can put excessive pressure on your natural hair and lead to breakage over time.
Care for Your Baby Hairs
Separate your baby hairs before you start twisting around the front of your head. These hairs are too fine to hold the weight of extensions and are prone to breakage. Instead of twisting, care for your baby hairs as normal and style them to complement your Senegalese twists.
Seal the Ends
Once you’ve finished your twists, you have two options for sealing the ends of your extensions to ensure that your twists last without unraveling. The first is with the burning method, which uses a lighter to melt each set of ends together. The second option is dipping sections of twists into extremely hot water for a few seconds. The hot water method also melts the ends together, but results in more flexible ends and a decreased risk of fire.
Accessorize As Desired
Once your twists are finished and sealed, you can wear them as they are or accessorize them with different hairstyles or decorative cuffs, beads, and clips. Wear your hair up or down and attach accessories at any point along the length of your twists for added interest and change up your look as desired.
Don’t Forget Maintenance
You might have a hairstyle that will last you a few weeks, but you shouldn’t neglect your regular hair care routine. Prevent drying and breakage by using a hydrating shampoo and moisturizing products on the roots, mid-lengths, and ends of your twists.
Depending on the quality of your Senegalese twist job, how well you care for your hair, and how quickly your hair grows out, your twists should stay securely attached and looking smooth for at least a month, if not longer. When you notice the twists becoming fuzzy, beginning to unravel, or growing out, it’s time to remove them and start the process again.
If you’re careful to properly care for your extensions, you may be able to trim the sealed ends, wash them well, and use them again for your next set of Senegalese twists. Now that you know how to do Senegalese twists, you’re ready care for your natural hair by rocking this protective and versatile style.