Originally designed to look like dreadlocks, Marley twists were named after Bob Marley, who is known not only for his reggae music but also his Rastafarian freeform locs.
Over time, Marley twists grew to become more similar to twists than locs. After their slight transformation, Marley twists quickly became a trend among black women in 2013, which was around the same time Havana twists started gaining popularity as well. From there, it did not take long for the two styles to become widespread in the Black hair world.
Marley twists are often confused with Havana twists. Some stylists use the terms interchangeably, but there is a slight difference. While Havana twists use a special type of hair that can only be found online, the hair needed for Marley twists can be found at any local beauty supply store, and often at a discount.
Marley twists are versatile, allowing one to wear twists down or in a high ponytail or bun. Recently, many women have begun to accessorize their Marley twists with clips or cowrie shells. With proper care, Marley twists should last approximately 8 weeks.
DIY protective style: Marley twists on short natural 4c hair | rubber band method
What Are Marley Twists?
Marley twists are two-strand twists that use natural-looking Marley extensions. The hair used for Marley twists is Kanekalon hair, a cheaper alternative to many other twist styles.
Though synthetic, Marley hair has a kinky texture that resembles natural 4c type hair, allowing this hairstyle to easily blend with more naturally coarse hair types.
Regardless of the length of your hair, Marley twists are a great option for a classic twist hairdo. Given its natural look and close resemblance, should you get the older version installed, this hairstyle is also a great choice for those who want to experiment with how they would look with dreadlocks without committing to their permanence.
Difference Between Marley Twists and Other Styles
Marley twists can come in several sizes, ranging from small thinner twists to thick “jumbo” ones. This causes Marley twists to often be confused with many other hairstyles, such as Havana twists and Senegalese twists. However, there are several differences between all three.
While Havana twists use a special type of hair that can only be found online, the hair needed for both Marley twists and Senegalese twists can be found at any local beauty supply store, and often at a discount.
In terms of appearance, Senegalese twists have a much more sleek look and feel to them, while both Havana and Marley twists more closely resemble natural hair. Out of all three twist hairstyles, Marley twists tend to be the cheapest option as well.
How to: easy DIY Marley twists (very detailed)
How to Install Marley Twists?
To successfully install Marley twists, you will need 5-6 packs of Kanekalon hair extensions— Cuban Twist hair is a great route to go—, a rat-tail and wide-tooth comb, hair clips (optional), edge control gel, a hydrating curl cream such as the Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Smoothie, and an anti-frizz product.
First, it is important to prep your Marley twists hair extensions. To do so, begin combing through the twisting hair with your wide-tooth comb starting from the ends to get rid of any knots and tangles.
Then apply and work your anti-frizz cream or spray into the hair to smooth out any frizzy strands. This will make the hair easier to manage throughout the upcoming twisting process.
Next, use your rat-tail comb to divide and section your hair into mini-sections, clipping away or plaiting all but one section of your natural hair. Apply and work a little bit of the anti-frizz and curl cream into that section to make your strands softer and more malleable.
The next step is to start creating your Marley Twists! Take the section you just created and split it into two equal parts using your rat-tail comb. Place a chunk of Marley hair in between those two parts, making sure to hold it securely in your hand.
Begin twisting the top section of your hair in a downward, or clockwise, motion for about 4-5 rotations. Then twist the bottom part of your hair in an upward, or counter-clockwise, motion for about the same number of times. Overlap the two strands you just made and begin twisting them together with a tight grip until you reach the end of the Marley hair.
Continue sectioning off and twisting the rest of your hair, making sure to use the same amount of Marley twist hair to create even twists.
After you have made all of your twists, use your scissors to snip off the frail ends of the Marley hair. Next, use your edge control to lay your edges and bam! You have fabulous looking Marley twists.
How to Remove Marley Twists?
It should be noted that with proper care, Marley twists should last approximately 8 weeks, giving you plenty of time to flaunt this sharp protective style during any time of the year.
To remove your Marley twists, cut the ends of the twists—or two inches below where your real hair starts if you want a quicker takedown—with your scissors and take down each of your twists with either your fingers or a comb.
Pros of Marley Twists
- There are many benefits to getting Marley twists over other twist styles, one being the price tag. Marley twists cost on average $120 as opposed to other styles that can cost upwards of $200. The hair needed for this type of hairstyle is also one of the cheapest on the market.
- Marley twists are also very versatile, allowing one to wear twists in several different styles. You could easily rock these twists in a classic down position, a high ponytail, bun, or half up half down do.
- As of late, many women have also begun to accessorize their Marley twists with highlights and decorative hair cuffs, clips, and cowrie shells. This is the perfect style to play around with style, shape, and color!
- Given that it is a protective hairstyle, Marley twists also promote significant growth of your natural hair. In the eight weeks this hairstyle lasts, your natural hair will easily grow at least an inch in length. Since the twists themselves tend to be longer, this style also promotes length retention of your natural hair as well.
Cons of Marley Twists
- While Marley twists are a great hairstyle to get, there are few cons attached to them. One is since the twists are typically quite large they can feel heavy and weigh down your head and/or neck. If this proves as a major concern for you, try to stick with medium to large-sized twists.
- Another con of getting this hairdo involves the removal process. If not careful, you can hear rip out your hair when taking down these twists, resulting in severe breakage of your natural hair.
- Marley twists can also tangle while you are attempting to take them down, enticing you to pull and tear your natural hair out more.
- And lastly, Marley twists can easily become frizzy given their already coarse texture. Be sure to use water-based products, light oils, and anti-frizz products to keep your twists looking fresh and hydrated.