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 the 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.
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What Are Flat Twists?
As the natural hair movement has taken off, Black women and men have been finding protective ways to style their natural hair. A popular style is flat twists, which can be worn as is or taken down to form a crimped style that is created by leaving the twists in for an extended period, known as a twist-out.
The process of creating flat twists is very similar to cornrowing, but you’re creating a twist as opposed to a braid.
How to do Flat Twists?
Flat twists can be achieved with either two or three strands. The hair is twisted from the hairline to the ends of your hair with additional hair being gathered into one side of the twist and twisted over as the stylist goes further back. You want the twist to be closely attached to your scalp as a cornrow would be.
This is how to accomplish a two-strand flat twist.
- Thoroughly prepping your hair is essential for this style. You want your hair to be cleansed, moisturized, and detangled. The Pomegranate and Honey Curl Smoothie and Leave-In Conditioner from the Black-owned brand, Mielle Organics are great moisturizers for your prep. During the preparation stage, you will want to decide what state you want your hair to be in. You can choose to do your flat twists on stretched or natural hair. Also, the twists can be done on wet, or dry hair. If you’re leaving your hair in its naturally curly state, twisting your hair while wet will make it easier.
- Section your hair into the pattern or number of twists you’d like.
- Once you have your first section ready, begin by taking a small section of hair at your hairline and separating it into two pieces. Twist the two sections around each other.
- To continue the twist you will continue twisting backward adding hair from the current section into one of the strands as you go. This will adhere the twist to your scalp. As you reach the nape of your neck, make sure the twist is secure. You can continue twisting down to the ends of your hair, or you can stop at the nape and do whatever style you’d like to with your ends.
Depending on how you choose to style it, flat twists take on average an hour to install. For added length and variety, synthetic hair can be added to flat twists either during the twisting process or to style the hair into a bun or ponytail.
Are Flat Twists Versatile?
Flat twists can be twisted into unique patterns and have as many sections as you would like. You can also make your flat twists hairstyles into voluminous buns or a ponytail by leaving your ends loose.
A popular style for flat twists is to take them down after a few days. This will reveal a beautiful crimped curl pattern that can be worn in many styles.
How Long Do Flat Twists Last?
Flat twists are a great protective styling choice for your natural hair; however, it is not long-lasting. The style may last you up to 1 week with proper care. To prolong the style’s longevity sleeping with a bonnet or silk scarf can help the style stay in place and combat frizz.
Who Are Flat Twists Suitable For?
Flat twists are a phenomenal styling option for natural hair. Textures ranging from 3C to 4A will thrive with the style as coarser hair is most suitable for the style. In fact, the coarser or curlier your hair, the better, as the twists will be less likely to unravel.
The style can be done on relaxed and transitioning hair, but it will be easiest to achieve with all-natural hair. Your natural coils will twist around each other perfectly.
When to Wear Flat Twists?
Flat twists are not specific to any certain time or season of the year. They are a year-round style that will look phenomenal at any time.
Pros and Cons of Flat Twists
- The twists can be done at home. Since flat twists have been a staple style for the natural hair community, it’s only right that the style is easy to do yourself. Flat twists are an easy at-home style to accomplish with minimal effort. Although they are similar to cornrows, they are much easier to install on yourself than cornrows. Once you get the hang of the process, this can be a style you find yourself doing often.
- The twists are not costly. Although, creating the style is easy, and most commonly done at home, choosing to have your stylist do it isn’t farfetched. Sometimes, going to your stylist is a form of pampering. Also, if you’re wanting a more intricately parted flat twist style, getting the parting correct on your own could be taxing. Luckily, flat twists are very inexpensive to have done by a stylist. They average at $40. Also, since the style is usually done on your natural hair, you won’t have to pay for extra extension hair like with other protective styles.
- The twists are a quick protective style. Flat twists can be done in a very timely manner. If fussing with your hair for hours isn’t your thing, these twists could be ideal. They averagely take an hour to complete depending on how you want them styled.
- The twists give you a 2 for 1 style. Flat twists are a style by themselves that can be worn for up to a week. Although, that’s not a long time, the good thing is these twists can be made into another style to prolong it. When it’s time to take the twists down, your hair will reveal a beautiful curled pattern from the twists that can be worn in many styles or just down as is.
- The twists are not long-lasting. Flat twists are a great style to give yourself a break, however, the style has minimal longevity. Of course, you can wear the style in its twist out state after you take the twists down, but even after that, you will only get maybe an extra week’s wear out of the untwisted style.
- The twists can cause tangling if your hair isn’t properly prepped. Prepping your hair before installing the flat twists is crucial. If your hair is not properly moisturized and detangled, the twists will not only be hard to install, but they will be difficult to take down. The last thing you want is unnecessary breakage because of tangling. Take your time on prepping and installing the twists.