Here’s A Beginner-Friendly Guide To Installing Twists By Yourself For The First Time

Twists for Black Women

Aside from braids, twists are hands down one of the most versatile styles. And while we’d love to sport them for both casual wear and a much-needed protective style, they can be hard to obtain, sometimes.

Some of us live in areas where we haven’t found a stylist we like yet; for others, it’s just way too expensive. The solution? Do it yourself! It may be a little work, but after some practice (and time!) you’ll be a master twister. 

Want to twist your hair by yourself for the first time? Here’s everything you need to know to get started. 

First things first—choose your style. 

Black women with twists
(From top left to bottom right): @a.dai.sha, @harmonicurls, @keke.J_, @damnthatschev

I’m sure you don’t need any help figuring out what look you’re going with, but just in case you do, it’s super important to know the characteristics of each style. While all twists are done using the same methods, they certainly don’t all look the same. Here are the four core styles:

  1. Marley/Kinky- This is the best option for those of you who want a more natural, kinky textured twist. You don’t have to blow dry or do too much tucking for it to blend because marley hair mimics textured hair pretty well. 
  2. Senegalese – In contrast to marley twists, Senegalese twists fall on the silky side. They have a smooth finish and are created using light-kinky crochet hair or pre-stretched kanekalon. Compared to other twists, these tend to have the shortest life before you see some frizz. 
  3. Passion/Spring- This boho-inspired look is characterized by the crinkly, curly pattern that forms throughout the twists. They can be long, short, jumbo, or small—just make sure you use pre-twisted or water wave hair to get the job done. 
  4. Natural – This style is meant to look as realistic as possible, so the hair you use will vary. However, the general rule of thumb is to use hair that matches your natural or blown out texture, and only use enough hair to add a little to the length and thickness. 

Now that you’ve picked a style—what size/length do you want? 

The size of your twists is extremely important because it helps you determine what the purpose of the style is, and how long it’ll take to achieve. Is this for a special event? Is this a long-term protective style? Do you want them done quickly or can I take my time? 

All of these questions and answers should be factored into your style choice. A few things to consider: 

  • Smaller twists tend to stay neater for longer period of time, thus they end up lasting longer than large/jumbo twists.
  • Longer styles and smaller twists take much more time do, and as a beginner, you may even take longer than average. Consider starting with something on the shorter or average side. 
  • Going bigger or smaller than the typical size for your chosen style can alter the look. Make sure you’re okay with that before you start styling your twists. 

Do you have all the supplies you need? 

Supplies for twists

You need supplies! This is simple enough, right? What products you need totally depends on the look you’re going for, but here is a short-list of essentials that you’ll need for all twist styles. 

  • Hair. Carefully select the hair you need to pull off your look. If you think you’ll need just 3 or 4 packs, get 5 or 6! Mess ups and shortages do happen, so you can never really have too much hair. 
  • Moisturizer. You need to hydrate and moisturize your hair before you start—no exceptions. So get water-based moisturizer and detangle beforehand. 
  • Combs and brushes. Whether you need them to create neat parts, or just want to do a quick detangle, combs and brushes are definitely essential. 

Now for the supplies you might need: 

  • Rubber bands. If you’re doing the rubber band method or just finishing off your braids with a tight rubber band, you absolutely cannot forget these. 
  • Edge control or gel. Both of these come in handy for taming the frizz at the point where your real hair and the hair extensions meet. Also, a must-have for laying edges once you’re done. 
  • Crochet Needle. If you’re crocheting your twists or doing the knotless method, you’ll definitely need a crochet needle. 

Now, let’s prep your hair. 

Let’s keep this process simple with some easy, straight-to-the-point steps: 

  1. Shampoo and condition. 
  2. Moisturize and seal.
  3. Trim your ends and damaged pieces, if needed. 
  4. Allow your hair to dry before you begin styling. If you need to blow dry or flat iron your hair for your style, now is the time to add heat protectant and do so. 
  5. If you need to part your hair into sections, do it now. If not, you can pull sections from your hair as you go, or part as you go. 

Prepping your hair shouldn’t be a super complicated thing. Stick to your regular healthy hair regimen and do what you can to give your hair an extra layer of protection before styling. 

Then, select a method. 

Let’s be completely honest: what method you use to install your twists will be your make or break point. As a beginner, you don’t need to do what’s fancy or complicated—you just need to go with what works best for you. 

Rubber Band Method: In my personal opinion, the rubber band method is the easiest to do because it gives your twists a sturdy, no-slip foundation. You can do this by 1.) wrapping your hair around the base of the rubber band and twisting down or 2.)securing your sections into small ponytails while the extension is positioned in the middle, and then twisting. You can find a tutorial on how to use this method here. 

Crochet Method: Simply put, you can crochet install your twists instead of doing them yourself. Braid your hair into very small singles and slide a pre-made twist over them, or crochet twists to cornrows. You can find a tutorial on how to use this method here. 

Standard Method: The regular twisting method involves you splitting your your hair into two, placing the extension hair at the center of the split, and then blending it in with your real hair by twisting each side individually before bringing them together to twist. You can find a tutorial on this method here. 

Don’t forget the finishing touches. 


Congratulations! If you made it to this point, that means you’ve successfully twisted your hair for the first time (or at the very least, weren’t scared off by all the steps)! 

Now it’s time to set the ends of your twists by dipping them in hot water. You can boil a pot of water and pour it in bowl, or microwave a medium-size bowl of water. Either way, need to be careful here! 

Grab two towels—one to drape over your shoulders to protect your back and one to catch the hot, dripping water immediately after your hair is dipped. You can pat off excess water, but be sure not to create frizz by rubbing on or tugging at your twists. 

Once you’re done, let your twists dry and then adorn them with cuffs, a cute scarf, gold wire—whatever you’d like! 

Now that was some work (even for me, chile! But I promise, it’s so worth it! Now that you’re more familiar with the process, are you ready to try installing twists all by yourself? Let us know in the comments below! 


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