Protective Style: Senegalese Twists

When I was going through my transition phase I tried to keep my hair braided, or in some type of protective style. My plan was to wear styles like this until my hair was to a length I could work with. Wearing protective styles also help lower the anxiety I was having over transitioning. At the beginning it was extremely hard for me to do my hair since it had two completely different textures. Your hair is prone to breakage during transitioning. The part of your hair where the relaxed meets the chemical free is the weakest. You have to take great care in protecting this area specifically.

Senegalese twists are so beautiful; I love them! Just as their name suggests, they originate in Senegal, Africa. There are a few different variations that I’ve seen. I had mine hot water curled after they were finished.

I kept these in for a good 6 months at least. You’re still able to wash, condition, and style your hair with the twists in. Whenever I felt my scalp needed cleaned I washed the twists. I just concentrating on my scalp with the shampoo to make sure it was cleaned. The remainder of the twists I gently rubbed with shampoo, and made sure to rinse very well. Even though your hair is covered in this style you still need to make sure to keep your hair moisturized. A good leave in conditioner is very important. If your scalp gets dry, or itchy just massage oil such as tea tree into your scalp. Since there are so many twists I wasn’t able to put my hair under a satin bonnet at night. Instead I’d pull the twists back in a loose pony tail then tie a satin scarf around my head.
More Style Ideas:
  • Pull the twists back into a low sitting bun; add a flower or hair piece for decoration
  • Use bobby pins to make a swooping bang and add a colorful headband
  • Wear a colorful scarf as a headband
  • Make one big French braid out of the twists
Once I removed the Senegalese twists I made sure to deep condition my hair and to use a protein pack. After your hair has been in a style like this you’ll notice “a lot” of hair coming out with the twists. You shouldn’t be alarmed though. Your head sheds hundreds of hairs a day. Do the math, if your hairs been in twists/braids for a month–that’s at least 3000 hairs. If you’ve been washing and conditioning properly you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Pros:
  • It’s a protective style that’s low maintenance
  • Not limited to just one style
  • Helps ease the stress during transitioning
  • Easy styling in the mornings
  • Less manipulation on hair
  • Don’t have to worry about frizz, humidity, rain
Cons:
  • Takes at least 6 hours to get done (depending on size) and just as long to remove (recruit a friend to help)
  • Can be pricey depending on where you go (may have to pay for service and packs of hair)
Scrappy and I!!!

 

Over all I liked this style, and in general I love it. Would I get it again– I’d have to be ready for it; psych myself up. The only turn off for me is the time it takes to get them in and out. This is the sole reason I refuse to do mini twists on my own hair. Even if I watch movies as I do it I’m just not motivated. I honestly don’t want to sit for 6 hours while someone else does it let alone me doing them!
I’d recommend Senegalese twists, or any similar protective style to anyone who’s teetering on going chemical free. Like I said before, styles like these really made a difference for me. There were plenty of days I was ready to give up and grab that box of relaxer, and be done. I actually gave in twice before sticking to my decision. If I got Senegalese twists done again, I’d probably get them a bigger size than in the pictures.

31 thoughts on “Protective Style: Senegalese Twists

  1. I doubt that one pack would be enough if you're planning on twisting your entire head. It's been a little while, but I believe it took about 4 packs of hair to do the style I have in the above pics. The amount of hair used would vary depending on the size of the twists, the length, etc.

  2. It was above my shoulders. You don't need to have long hair to get them. I'm sure a professional could do the twists on just a couple of inches. You should setup a consultation with a stylist to make sure they're able to give you the look you want.

  3. I got them done on hair that was freshly washed, conditioned, and air dried. The process of twisting, or braiding your hair can sometimes be stressful on your hair. I wouldn't recommend adding more stress to your strands by straightening before hand— that is if you're straightening using any type of heat. If you wanted to "stretch" your hair without heat before hand I don't think that would be as bad.

  4. I've been natural for about three months now…and I was wondering if the twist were a good style for people who already have long hair? My hair is right at my shoulders and I want to use this as a transitioning style…

  5. If the twists are done correctly they should be fine on your hair. My hair was longer when I had the Senegalese Twists. That's what is nice about them…they can work for different lengths of hair. Just be sure to keep your hair and scalp moisturized while you have them in.

  6. I don't remember having this issue when I had the twists in. I made sure to keep my hair conditioned and moisturized so that my hair would be healthy when I removed the twists. After you wash your hair you want to be sure that the twists fully dry..I'm not sure if this is where a "puffy" issue may stem from. I hope that helps.

  7. I've never had braids before. What sort of upkeep is involved? I'm transitioning and looking to try Senegalese twists for my birthday next month. I just had a stylist (not the potential braider) tell me she doesn't wash kinky twists because it makes the ends frizzy and that you shouldn't have to anyway. Any truth to that?

  8. The woman who did the twists for me put the twists in huge braids, then dipped the ends in boiling hot water. After taking the ends out of water, she undid the braids. That's how the curly effect was made. They curls never left my hair the entire time I had them in.

  9. Washing your hair is part of hygiene, so I wouldn't advise skipping that step for the sake of your twists. With braids, or any other protective style, you will still want to moisturize and condition your hair. If you don't the result may be an unhealthy amount of shedding and breakage once the style is removed. To avoid any frizzing with hair I would use a high quality brand of hair for your twists.

  10. Hey this is my first time getting micro size Senegalese twists and I have completely natural hair underneath…my main concern is making sure my edges remain intact and not have my hair falling out…is there anything you recommend that I do to keep my healthy hair n edges growing

  11. I would suggest that you make sure your edges stay moisturized while the twists are in. To prevent buildup you could use a light oil, such as coconut oil. Try misting your hair lightly and sealing the water in with the oil.

  12. Your hair us gorgeous! it looks really nice on you….Ok so I have been contemplating getting the twists. My god sister recently got them and when she took them out after only about 3 weeks she lost a LOT of hair. Her hair was uneven and paper thin. The stylist used spritz and gel is that normal for stylist to do? Also what type of hair did u use for your twists and what type of protein treatment did u use after? How often should u wash your hair with the twists in and how did u wash it without frizzing? Did u rub the twists in the durection it was twisted or just pat it gently? Sorry I know I've asked like 80 questions just now. Lol

    • I think that it is normal from some shedding to occur when braids or twists are removed after some time. Hundreds of hairs are shed daily, so if your hair is braided/twisted then that shed hair has no where to go. You will see the shed hair after the extension removal. If damage is found after removal then the way the braids/twists were installed may be the issue. When my hair was done no type of gel or sprays were necessary. I met with a stylist who provided hair and offered help with removal when I was ready. While wearing the twists I would wash my hair about once a week..or every other week . Mainly concentrating on my scalp, because of product build up. I would section my hair afterwards to help with air drying.

  13. I'm thinking about getting senegalese twists this week. However I read your comment about not needing long hair. A few months ago I got it cut for a short pixi haircut (longer on top/front and the back was just long enough to be bumped with one of those tiny straighteners. How short is too short to get senegalese twists?

    • I think that as long as your hair is long enough for the stylist to hold it you should be fine. You def do not need long hair to have Senegalese twists done! Consultations with a stylist could also help with concerns such as this.

  14. Hi I’ve been thinking about getting senegalese twist or doing them myself for a long time now my hair is long it stops in the middle of my back and I was wondering do I have to have weave to make them last longer

    • You do not need to add weave to your hair to achieve the look for Senegalese twists. The right products and maintenance will help your twists last longer— weave or no weave. If you YouTube “mini twists on natural hair”, or something similar you will find lots of tutorials on how to install them in your own hair.

  15. I’ve taken out a weave that I’ve had in for 3weeks I had shoulder length hair prior once removing the weave I had to cut my hair to my ears due to damage I’m transitioning and I’m tempted to relax but was thinking I should get the twist. Do you think it’s a good idea since the weave did slight damage?

    • It may or may not have been the weave that damaged your hair. It is possible to wear weaves and have healthy hair. You stated that you are transitioning. This along means that your hair has many weakened places. The line where the relaxed hair meets the natural hair is extremely fragile. I would suggest that while wearing weaves you are still moisturizing, conditioning, moisturizing, conditioning, and cleaning your hair. This can help prevent some damage done to your hair while wearing the weave.

    • At night i would put them in a loose ponytail and cover my head with a bonnet or satin scarf. You are still able to wash your hair. Id dilute the shampoo and be sure to scrub my scalp and let the soap run down the braids. Then be sure to condition/oil your scalp too.

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