6 Twisted Hairstyle Ideas for Anyone with Natural Hair

Twisted Hairstyles for Natural Hair

Since going natural, I find that I tend to go through hairstyle phases — particularly if I’m wearing a protective style.

Sometimes, I’ll braid my hair on and off for a few months then I might do a cornrow hairstyle or a weave. However, recently, I’ve seen some great twisted hairstyles for natural hair, and I feel inspired to switch up my routine. And turns out, they may actually be the better option when it comes to protective styles.

"Twisted styles place less tension on the hair and scalp,” says celebrity hairstylist Larry Sims — who has created looks on a number of stars, including Alicia Keys, Kiki Layne, and Tika Sumpter.

“Twisted hairstyles help in the pursuit of a healthy natural hair journey as they are easy on edges and aid length retention,” Kemi Lewis, founder of KLS Natural Beauty Bar (the first all-natural hair salon in Lagos, Nigeria) and KLS Natural Hair Academy, a renowned virtual training school that teaches on creative natural hair styling, maintenance and growth, adds. “Twisted hairstyles are also perfect for natural hair as they ensure you have access to your hair to moisturize when needed and they are easy to take out, so breakage is minimized,” adds Lewis.

So if you're ready to dive in, Sims and Lewis are here to share how to create some of their favorite twisted hairstyles on natural hair. Discover their tips, ahead.

Large Single Twists

To create this twisted hairstyle for Alicia Keys' So Done music video, Sims started off by parting the hair diagonally at the nape of the neck and split the hair evenly down the middle horizontally.

“Next, I made triangle shapes throughout the head and smoothed sections of the hair into small ponytails using Flawless by Gabrielle Union Defining Curl Hair Cream,” explains Sims. “I then got a medium-sized amount of pre-stretched braiding hair and placed a small bobby pin in the middle to split the hair into two bundles. I always recommend using pre-stretched braiding hair as it is lighter on the head.”

Following this, Sims pinned the braiding hair to the natural hair ponytails, split the natural hair evenly and double strand-twisted the hair together clockwise. “After the whole head is twisted, I dip the ends of the twists in freshly boiled water to soften and seal. I finish off the look by spraying Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray on the twists for extra security and a flawless finish.”

Key Products

Dan niing 24'' Pre-stretched Braiding Hair, $13; amazon.com

Flawless by Gabrielle Union Defining Curl Hair Cream, $10; amazon.com

Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray, $12; amazon.com

Twisted Updo

“For any flat twist style, make sure you start with hair that is clean, conditioned, and moisturized so it is ready to withstand the manipulation of putting it into a hairstyle,” says Lewis. “Flat twist updo’s on natural hair are best done on hair that has been properly detangled and stretched out (not flat ironed) either with a blow dryer or another stretching method like banding or African Threading.”

To create this twisted updo, Lewis starts by sectioning the hair from ear to ear for the flat twists in the back, and then parts the hair at the front into two equal sides and one top section. “I create about 1-inch vertical sections in the back, apply a little As I Am Doublebutter Cream to the hair and start flat twisting upwards. You can make your flat twists as loose or as tight as your hair density will allow,” explains Lewis. “Once that is done, I separate the hair into 0.5-inch sections on either side of the head, apply Keracare Edge Tamer to the edges and a little As I Am Doublebutter Cream to the hair, then I flat twist the sides upwards, going towards the crown, to meet where the flat twists in the back end.”

To finish off the look, Lewis uses a tail comb to separate the hair at the front into small diamond sections and twists the hair using the two-strand method. “Using the two-strand twist method at the front helps to create a full look. You can leave the twists loose or pin them together in a swirl.”

Key Products

As I Am Doublebutter Cream, $13; target.com

Keracare Edge Tamer, $13; amazon.com

Two-Strand Twist-Out

To replicate this two-strand twist-out Sims created on Sanaa Lathan, start by cleansing and conditioning your hair. Next, Sims recommends prepping the hair by spraying it with Flawless by Gabrielle Union Shine Enhancing Heat Protection Spray and applying Flawless by Gabrielle Union Defining Curl Cream.

“Following this, I section the hair in quarter inches and proceed to two-strand twist the hair,” he explains. Once all the hair is twisted, sit under a hooded dryer for 30 minutes, until the hair is dry. The key to this look, is to thoroughly dry the hair when setting it, so the curls are more defined. If you don’t sit under a hooded dryer, it’s best to air dry for two days before untwisting. I finish the look by using Flawless By Gabrielle Union Restoring Exotic Oil treatment and pull out the twists from root-to mid-strand with the end of a Rat Tail comb, to create the shape and volume of the hair.”

Key Products

Flawless by Gabrielle Union Hydrating Detangling Shampoo, $10; amazon.com

Flawless by Gabrielle Union 3 Minute Restoring Conditioner, $10; amazon.com

Flawless by Gabrielle Union Defining Curl Hair Cream, $10; amazon.com

Flawless by Gabrielle Union Restoring Exotic Hair Oil Treatment, $10; amazon.com

Flawless by Gabrielle Union Shine Enhancing Heat Protection Spray, $10; amazon.com

VIDEO: Niecy Nash’s New Braids Go All the Way Down to Her Butt

Flat Twist Updo With Swirled Top

To create this look, Lewis starts by separating the hair into two sections, from ear-to-ear.

“I created 1-inch vertical sections in the back, applied a little Keracare Natural Textures Twist and Define Cream to the hair, and flat twisted the sections upwards. Ensure your flat twists are firm and lay flat on the scalp. At the end of the flat twists, create a little plait or use a small black rubber band to secure the twists so they do not unravel, and then leave the ends untwisted,” explains Lewis. “Once the back is twisted, repeat the same in front, remembering to apply edge tamer and cream to the hair, and then flat twist that section going towards your crown.”

Lewis then takes all the ends of the hair left on top and creates loose chunky twists, ensuring the ends are twisted tighter. “To finish, I loosely tuck the ends of each twist into the crown and secure them with a [bobby] pin.”

Key Products

Keracare Natural Textures Twist and Define Cream, $12; amazon.com

Keracare Edge Tamer, $13; amazon.com

Single Twist Marcel Wave

Kiki Layne Hair Style

“To create this look, I started off by double twisting Kiki Layne’s natural hair with pre-stretched braiding hair,” explains Sims.

Once he completed a whole head of single twists, the hairstylist took the heavier side of Layne’s twists, starting from the arch of her eyebrow, and created a marcel wave. “For each direction of the wave, I pinned the twists with open face hair pins, then I gathered the rest of the twists at her nape in a low chignon,” he shares.

Key Products

Pre-stretched Braiding Hair Extensions, $17; amazon.com

Flawless by Gabrielle Union Defining Curl Hair Cream, $10; amazon.com

Flawless by Gabrielle Union Scalp Soothing Tonic, $10; amazon.com

Flat Twist Updo

“I start off this style by sectioning the hair from ear-to-ear for the flat twists in the back and then create three sections with the hair left in front; two equal sides and one top section,” says Lewis.

She then applies As I Am Doublebutter Cream to the hair and parts the back vertically into one-inch sections before flat twisting the hair upwards, towards the center.

“For the sides, apply Keracare Edge Tamer to the edges, and a little As I Am Doublebutter Cream to the hair, then I flat twist the sections towards the crown to meet where the flat twists at the back end.”

For the front section, Lewis creates flat twists slightly larger and looser than the twists at the back and on the sides. She then plaits all the ends together and tucks them into the crown of the head, using a pin to secure them in place.

Key Products

As I Am Doublebutter Cream, $13; target.com

Keracare Edge Tamer, $13; amazon.com

This is All Natural. From the kinkiest coils to loose waves, we're celebrating natural hair in its many forms by sharing expert tips for styling, maintenance, and haircare.

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