Looking for a simple yet elegant hairstyle? Flat twists fit the bill! This super-versatile look can be customized to fit anyone and any occasion: flat twists look great on children, adults, men, and women and can just as easily swoop up into a super-chic updo, back into a riot of curls, or even around the whole head. And the best thing of all is that pretty much anyone can do flat twists themselves – no stylist needed! Here’s how:
Step 1: Preparation
You won’t need too many tools, but before you start creating your flat twists, you should gather:
1 fine-, medium-toothed, or rattail comb
alligator clips or mini rubber bands
your styling product of choice
Make sure to wash and condition hair very well. Take special care to cleanse your scalp thoroughly, since it will be more exposed to dirt and pollution than usual. If your hair is naturally straight or fine, you may want to wait a few days after washing locks, so that your hair can have more “grip.” Relaxed or natural, women with curly, coiled, or kinky hair can start twisting damp tresses (not sopping wet or completely dry) or blow-dry them straight first. [Note: As a general rule, straighter hair should be twisted dry, while curlier locks should be twisted wet.]
Step 2: Part the Hair
Using your comb, separate the section of hair to be flat twisted from the rest of your mane. This is completely up to you, as you can create as few as 2 and as many as 20 twists, depending on the style you want, and these can be in the front, back, or sides of your hair. For our purposes here, we will focus on flat twists that start at the front of the head and work backward (pictured), so part hair roughly from ear to ear and secure in place with clips or bands.
Now divide this front section into smaller rows running from the hairline backward. Start in the middle of the head to make sure you create just the profile you’re seeking. Depending on your face shape, you may want to do an even number of flat twists with a center or a side part, or you may want an odd number with one twist up the middle. So start here to make sure you get the look you want.
For best results, part and twist one section at a time. Too many clips and rubber bands in the same area can be hard to work around, especially if locks are wet, so keep it simple. Also try to divide hair into uniform segments; for more variety, start each column very thin and gradually widen toward the middle of the head.
Step 3: Twist the Hair
There are basically two kinds of flat twists: the kind that are merely rolled flat and the kind that are actually twisted.
Flat rolls are faster to do and created a rounded, almost rope-like look that’s great for updos and more upscale hairstyles. To create these, simply grab the front portion of a row and begin to roll it under, using the same motion used for Bantu knots – just remember to keep the tension in the hair pulling backwards, not straight up. Give this segment of hair a few turns and then gradually work your way back toward the crown of the head, rolling strands together between your thumb and index finger. Use your favorite styling/holding product to give your twists a nice gloss and keep them in place.
Real flat twists take a bit more patience and practice, but still aren’t all that difficult. Starting at the hairline, split the section to be twisted into two parts. Next, wrap these two parts around each other two to three times, using the same motion used for two-strand twists and just enough tension to pull hair back and taut without causing pain or breakage. Working your way back toward the crown, use your fingers to continue splitting your row of hair in half. Incorporate each new half with one of the old ones and twist it all together again. Continue this process until you reach the end of the row, then secure at the scalp with a rubber band or clip.
Step 4: Finishing the Twist
You may choose to twist your hair all the way from hairline to hairline; if so, simply close the look by two-strand twisting each row to the tips of the hair.
However, if you plan to incorporate another look with your flat twists, you will need to do something else with your loose ends. One way to secure each twist is to coil the free hair into a tiny Bantu knot. You can also create a sideways fishtail of sorts, using all of your loose ends, or simply leave rubber bands in place and let your free hair fly, well, free.
Then you’re done! You can add a few shots of shine spray or spritz to hold your flat twists in place or make them glossy, but you don’t have to. All you have to do is style the rest of your hair and go!