The Tresstastic: Senegalese Twists (How to, my do and Toolkit)

Screen shot 2011-12-29 at 13.58.10

During the winter I put my hair in Senegalese Twists. It’s my protective style of choice, keeping my hair and vulnerable ends under wraps and not putting any significant strain on fragile hairline as far as I can tell.  That said I do put them in myself so can adjust the tension as required….

I was tweeting about putting them in this weekend with a movie marathon session to accompany me and a few twitter buddies requested photos so I thought I’d share here. I actually learned how to do them on YouTube. So I thought I’d also share a helpful how-to video for those who want to put them in themselves.

I was drawn to Senegalese twists as I’d wrongly assumed they were as easy as regular twists. They’re not far off in terms of simplicity but the technique is slightly different as I learned after my first attempt swiftly unravelled and fell out. So after a quick trip to YouTube I discovered how to connect them from the root and the specific roll motion needed to make the twist “lock”. The trick is: “roll to right and twist over to the left”.

The 100% kanekalon hair recommended for this can apparently be set with hot water to seal the ends or curl with rollers. Unfortunately I’ve never succeeded in doing this properly and just end up with shiny plastic looking ends that unravel??? (Can anyone tell me what I’m doing wrong?) So instead I run the end quickly through a flame just to warm it slightly and run my fingers down the end to bind it together as it cools. All super quick.

So that’s pretty much what I was up to this weekend spurred along by Nick Cannon in Drumline and the entire Bourne Trilogy. I always notice a significant amount of growth by the time I take them out too so I decided to keep them in for most of this year taking a couple of weeks break inbetween. I still haven’t finished actually hence the half up-do in the pic above.

So now I just have to decide what to watch whilst I finish off the rest this evening? Any sugggestions?

Sengalese Twist Tool Kit:

  1. Tail comb for parting
  2. Clips to section hair
  3. 100% Kanekalon Hair (I use grade 1 and cut it into 3 equal lengths for chest length style)
  4. Hot water or a lighter to seal ends
  5. Patience
  6. Some good films to watch
  7. Remember to roll right and twist to the left

Amongst many other things, I'm a 30-something contemplative Londoner making the daily commute between contentment and ambition.When not blogging, I'm using my talents for good as communications director at Gingerland and co-founder of Love Harlem.


  • Reply April 12, 2011


    In response to you having issues binding with hot water… Here are some suggestions:
    -make sure the water is boiling hot
    -before you braid, pull on the section of hair so thatthe ends come to a thin twist when you are dine twisting. The thinner the twist at the end the less likely the hair will unravel
    – dip the hair two to three times when dipping and leave in about ten to twenty seconds each time. Keep replenishing your hot water supply.
    I hope this helps, I find that sealing with hot water works the best because when I use a lighter, the burnt ends get caught on my clothes and get lint caught in them- but with hot water, if you want a straight or curly look, you just redip in hot water again. Also, seal the hair with a little coconut oil on the ends to make them smoother.

    Hope thus helps :)

    • Reply April 13, 2011


      Mora you’re amazing! Thanks so much I’m definitely going to try that next time. I totally get what you say about burnt ends being quite “catchy”.

      Thanks my dear :D


  • Reply January 26, 2012


    I am what they call “Style-challenged”, but this is the absolute BEST video I’ve seen on how to do a twist.

    Very clear instructions, very slow pacing with the moves so I could actually see what is being done. The lighting was amazing. I feel like I could start practicing on my own hair (no extensions) just so I can get the “roll right, twist left” method down… then MAYBE start practicing with my hair.

    This vid is VERY helpful; you did a great job!!

    • Reply February 12, 2012


      I do this on my own hair too when I put it in twists. Gives you a completely different style to normal twists. Takes ALOT of the volume out and and can kinda set your hair as temporary sisterlocks that you can wash out. Very versatile styling options.

  • Reply February 11, 2012

    cee wilson

    I’ve always wanted these , so I went & payed a lady 60 dollars to do them cause personally i have a big head & I would get so tired & frustrated . she didn’t do so well, my roots are braided ” which i didn’t want ” & my ends are unraveling , I’m going to try later in the morning to redo them myself & ill let you know of my success , thanks for the tips , wish me luck !

    • Reply February 12, 2012


      Ah good luck! And do keep me posted on how you get on :D x PS $60 dollars is a total bargain! I was quoted £90 by two hairdressers in London!

  • Reply March 30, 2012



    • Reply April 1, 2012


      Well do keep me posted @harlemloves :D

  • Reply July 10, 2012


    To seal the ends properly you have to fray the ends when you part the weave you will use for the twist: so when you pull hair from the batch to add to your hair, you take that piece pulling in the opposite ends to give it a tapered look so once you actually put it in your hair and start twisting you find the ends naturally taper and you just twist all the way through and then Sean with hot water or super glue. ❤❤

  • Reply July 29, 2012


    thanks so much for this post it was really helpful! Im probably going to be getting some for back to school. How long were your twists? And what is a good length do you think

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