Senegalese Twists/Twist Out (Two-in-One!)

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As my hair is fine and not tightly curled, I have problems with maintaining two strand twists as they tend to unravel at the roots and the ends. Last year, in my search for ways to address this problem so that I could wear twists, I came across a blog wherein a young woman explained the Senegalese twist technique. I decided to give it a whirl. Little did I know that the technique would not only enable me to maintain decent twists for a week, but the release would result in a second style. What’s better than a two-in-one?!?!

So, without further ado, here’s the bulleted tutorial with some pictorial and video assistance;-).

Senegalese Twists

  • Shampoo and/or co-wash hair and deep condition. Section hair into 4 sections and clip 3 sections out of the way.
  • Apply leave-in conditioner and styler to first section (optional: oil scalp).
  • Use a rat-tail comb to section hair for a twist. You can section in a square/grid method or with half-circles.
  • To create the twist, separate the section of hair into two pieces. Twist EACH piece, SEPARATELY, in one direction, close to the scalp. Then, take the two pieces and twist them together in the opposite direction. Before twisting each section together, continue to twist the individual sections in the opposite direction of the twist.  This creates a rope like effect and a tighter twist (see the video below).
  • Repeat until entire head is twisted, re-wetting hair as needed with water and/or leave-in conditioner).
  • Seal ends with oil/butter. Optional:  Set hair on rollers and allow twists to air dry or use bonnet dryer on low/medium heat.
  • Once dry, release and style as you please. Because my hair is fine and my twists are “scalpy,” I styled in an updo.

Maintenance: At some point during the first week, I did wet my whole head in the shower in an attempt to make the twists “plump.” It worked a little, but not enough for me to wear my hair down. I oiled my scalp, moisturized and sealed my ends with JBCO every couple of days.  I wore my hair like this for 10 days.

Senegalese Twist-Out

  • Carefully release twists allowing each section to remain intact. Hair will look “piecey.”
  • Spray released twists with a moisture spritz (I used 4 oz of distilled water, 4 oz aloe vera gel – the food quality kind, 2 oz DevaCare One conditioner, 1 tbsp of JBCO and a drop or two of lavender essential oil) and seal ends with oil/butter of your choice.
The separated twists should “plump” so that they look like long finger coils/locks. I was so pleased when I got this second style.  I only was able to wear it four additional days, but think I could have gotten another two out of it if I hadn’t gotten so spritz happy=).

Disclaimer:
If you decide to do this style and keep it in as long as I did, you must have patience, be gentle and prepare for a long detangling session. I typically shed a lot of hair and had a very large hairball after detangling. However, as I hadn’t done my hair for two weeks and the strands were shed and not breaking, I didn’t freak out.

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25 responses »

  1. This was done on your hair only? I love this look but I just don’t think my hair is full enough. It would look way too scalpy. I’m going to try to create something worth photographing this week. Looking at you and Curly Nikki can be discouraging but I’m learning to work with what I’ve got.

  2. I like this look on you but I don’t think I’d like it on me. I’m a little scalpy too. But the biggest concern is the twists look like they take FOREVR to do. I suppose I could do them a little bigger?

  3. V, yes, this was done on my own hair. I’m looking forward to seeing your pics!! And, goodness, please don’t be discouraged! That’s the exact opposite of our intent (yes, I’m speaking for Nikki too;-)!

    Michelle, it took about 2 hours, but that’s partly because I had to figure out how to do the twists. So, there was a lot of starting to take out and start again. The thing is, I didn’t have to do my hair for 2 weeks! I’ll admit though, I haven’t done it since!! I’m thinking I might revisit some lazy weekend though. In regard to whether you can do it, as you can see, I was pretty scalpy too, That’s why I put it in updo or I wore it in a ponytail or a bun. You could definitely do them bigger if you wanted to give them a shot.

    • Hi Barbara,

      Do you mean for the Senegalese Twists? No, you don’t have to use weave. This is my hair only. I didn’t use braiding hair. I just chose this video because I haven’t found one that shows the Senegalese twist technique without added hair. Just wanted you to be able to see how the sections are twisted one way, then twisted together in the opposite direction. Hope that helps!

  4. I LOVE Sengalese Twists but have never done them on my real hair. How do you prevent your hair from curling up when twisting? My few practice twists ended up coiling…

    • Hi Ayeshia, Thank you!! My hair isn’t that super curly, so I have more of a problem keeping the twists in then them coiling up on themselves. However, what I saw someone do was do the twists on a straightened hair (a light blow out should be fine). She then secured the ends with hair elastics and wet her hair. That made the twists plump beautifully. Maybe that would work for you? If I find the link to that post, I’ll add it for you.

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  6. This is basically how I already do my two-strand twists. Heh! All this time, I was really on to somethig…who knew?!

    I start the twists like you describe…I take a small section and divide it in two; I kinda twist/coil each of those two pieces separately, then I twist the two together. The only difference is, I don’t twist them in the opposite direction. (Note to self: experiement!) I usually get 1 week with my twists, but when I used a new twist cream (I think it’s called Natural Roots Twist Cream?), I got 2 weeks. Then I usually wear it in a twist out for about a week…and if I’m really trying to stretch things, I separate the twists even further and get another few days out of it. (Can you say “So very lazy…uh…I mean, creative”?) I’ll wet my hair over the course of the 2 to 3 weeks, condition once or twice a week and moisturize as needed. It usually takes me about 3 to 4 hours to put my twists in, but like you said…a couple of hours up front for 2 to 3 weeks of not having to do anything to my hair…so worth it!

  7. i have a question, since you did this on your own hair, were you able to wash it at all without it gettting frizzy. I’m interested in doing on my own hair (sans weave like you) and don’t wanna do all that work for it get yucky with wet frizz (cuz who needs that).

    Thanks

    • Reese, I wet it in the shower, but I didn’t wash it. And, my hair gets frizzy easily, but it was far better with these twists than normal twists b/c of the reverse twisting, I think. I think if your hair is prone to frizzing, if you wash it, you’ll frizz. If it’s not prone to frizz, then you may be okay. I’ve seen people secure them with elastics to keep the contained in order to reduce friction and loosening during washing, so that may help too. HTH!

  8. Did you use anything in particular to make sure your ends didnt come undone? I have such a hard time with flat twists because they will not hold. Thats why I always use rollers on the ends because my end are sometimes straight. Your pictures are GORGEOUS and they motivate me to try the style. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Hi Margaret. No, I didn’t use anything in particular. I used the products I listed in the post. It’s been so long, I don’t really remember what they were either!! LOL!! And, my ends definitely would unravel and I would have to re-twist every couple of days. However, there is this product, Sof n’ Free Nothing But Mold and Hold Wax that you may want to try to help with hold. It’s pretty cheap and can be found at Sally’s. One thing though, it has silicones (dimethicone, I think). So, if you co-wash only, you’ll need to use a shampoo (can be sulfate free, but needs coco betaine or something like that) to remove it. Thank you so much!!!

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