Flat twists have their origins in Africa where various indigenous people would wear their hair in elaborate hairstyles to denote social identifiers like marital status, age and social position. At the onset of slavery, Africans were brought to America where their heads were shaved. However, as hair grew back, many enslaved people would cornrow, plait and twist their hair.
Twists and their derivative styles have become increasingly popular in the 2000s and 2010s with the rise of the natural hair movement. Women and men will wear their hair twisted in individual twists, or in a crimped style that is created by leaving twists in for an extended period of time, known as a twist-out. Twists and twist-outs can be seen on celebrities including Brandy Norwood, Jill Scott and August Alsina.
Flat twists can be achieved with either two or three strands. The hair is twisted from the hairline to the nape of the neck (or further if the hair is long) with additional hair being gathered into one side of the twist and twisted over as the stylist goes further back
For added length and variety, synthetic braiding hair can be added to flat twists either during the twisting process or to style the hair into a bun or ponytail.