Senegalese twists are one of the most popular protective hairstyles in the natural hair community (outside of box braids, cornrows, and havana twists). "Senegalese twists are a popular and protective style for textured hair," Michelle O'Connor, professional hair stylist and global artistic director of Matrix, says, "They resembles box braids but instead of three strands of hair, you use two to wrap around each other."
Hair is neatly tucked away and looks somewhat similar to a rope–which is why this style is often nicknamed "rope twists."
Most people like to use braid hair extensions so their style can be long-lasting and as protective as possible. This can include smooth synthetic textures like Kanekalon or natural-looking textures like Marley hair, though there is no rule that says you can’t twist your regular hair if that’s what you prefer. Here are 31 fun ways you can style your Senegalese twists.
Meet the Expert
Michelle O'Connor is a professional hairstylist and the global artistic director of Matrix. On top of that, she is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the beauty space.
Your Senegalese twists don’t have to be one hue. You can play around with as many shades as you want. We love this trifecta of black, brown, and blonde. It has so much dimension!
Whether you have long, natural hair or you want installed extensions that look as natural as possible, both look amazing in Senegalese twists. The key to making this style last lies in the thin, twisted sections. And if you really want this style to appear effortless, don’t make your baby hairs look overdone. To help keep your twists hydrated, O'Connor suggests using a lightweight oil every so often.
Giant Middle Part
They say beauty is symmetry, and that must be why middle-parted hairstyles are so popular. It looks great with these giant Senegalese twists.
Who doesn’t like a dramatic ombré? This unique black to gray style is giving us life.
If you have a deeper skin tone, a purple shade like violet will always look good on you.
Accessorized to the Max
Having a distinct protective style like Senegalese twists doesn’t mean you can’t wear a fashionable hat. The straw fedora looks great alongside Brittne Babe’s varied metallic braid charms and decorative twine. In this case, less isn’t more; more is more.
Simple Half-Up, Half-Down
Sometimes simplicity is the best option. That’s very well the case with these medium-sized Senegalese twists that are in a half-up, half-down style. It looks great with hoop earrings.
Bandana and Curls
Show a little sass by pairing your Senegalese twists with a bold patterned bandana. The cowrie shell accents and loosely curled tendrils add a sweet pan-African feel to the overall look.
Natural Senegalese twists look fantastic with a shoulder blade-grazing length. For a romantic aesthetic, part your hair in a way that allows your twists to be whimsically side-swept.
Wood Blocks and Rings
OK, so this isn’t an everyday hairstyle, but it still looks very cool—and of course it is, since it’s highly inspired by Ciara’s “melanin” cover story in Fault Magazine. YouTuber Shanell Khan recreated the style with twists instead of faux locs. The woodblocks and rings are certainly eye-catching accessories.
Having tight twists doesn’t mean you can’t have curly ends for a spring effect. We admire the smooth transition between the dark to light brown shades. It looks very similar to a balayage bob. O'Connor recommends tying down your twists at night to help reduce the frizz and friction.
Having a head full of chunky Senegalese twists can be a lot. That’s why we won’t blame you for wanting to throw your hair up in a high bun.
Try leaving two Senegalese twists out of your topknot to frame your face and add dimension to your look.
Reinvented Rubber Bands
Who needs rubber bands as a twist fastener when there are braid charms around to do the job? These accessories add a pop of shine while securing your ends for a longer-lasting style.
Beads and charms aren’t just for braids—they work for twists, too. Just check out Kerry Washington's red-carpet-ready adornments if you need proof.
Do you have a flair for theatrics? Do you like long locks? Why not go for Rapunzel-length twists like Ciara?
If you’re not afraid to go gray, you should make your twists a gunmetal shade. And even better if you go for a shoulder-grazing style—it adds a low-key edge.
Getting Senegalese twists doesn’t mean you have to give up fauxhawks. Check out this bold, front-twisted knot and ponytail combo for a fauxhawk-esque style. Bonus points if you add charms to complete the look.
Love length but you don’t want to go for an ankle-grazing Rapunzel look? Go halfway and choose hip-length Senegalese twists. Smaller twists look refined and highlight your length. For added shine, O'Connor recommends sleeping on a silk pillowcase.
Medium Twists with Baby Hairs
Super skinny Senegalese twists are very common to see, but if you’re willing to be a little different, you can save styling time and steal the show with medium-sized twists. And don’t forget: Smoothing down that baby hair is a must with this look.
Have a wedding to go to or another special event? Then sweep those glamorous Senegalese twists into a low-placed chignon and you’re ready to go. It's the perfect regal updo.
If you’re a princess and you know it, get this twisted ponytail plait. It’s extravagant and gorgeous. And, of course, it surely makes good use of those braid charms.
Slicked Back Senegalese Twists
Senegalese twists can be worn 100 different ways from funky buns to puffed-out twists. Perfect for a vacation look, this slicked-back style keeps strands off of your face, so you can catch rays uninhibited.
Jumbo Senegalese Twists
When it comes to hair, bigger is always better. Senegalese twists come in a range of sizes from super small to - well - jumbo. "If you are looking for more volume, adjust the sizing to jumbo," O'Connor suggests. But be warned, this style feels heavy on the head.
Short Senegalese Twists
If heavier styles like jumbo or extra long twists intimidate you, never fear. Short, spiky twists like the ones modeled on Nyong'o are simple, chic, and easier to hold up.
Senegalese Twist Space Buns
Thanks to Y2K nostalgia, space buns are back. Guess what? For thick, voluminous buns, braids are the best. For an even cuter twist on the style, create a half up half down style with two buns on top.
Senegalese Twist High Pony
Senegalese twists already limit frizz and flyaways, but tying your twists back into a high pony keeps your vision clear. Not to mention, it looks super polished.
Micro Senegalese Twists
We've covered jumbo twists, extra long twists, accessorized twists, and more, but not every type of Senegalese twist has to be oversized. Not to be confused with spring twists, Senegalese twists can be mini or even micro.
Low Bun Senegalese Twists
If high ponytails or half up half down styles give you a headache just looking at them, try a low-maintenance style like a low bun...get it?
High Half Ponytail Senegalese Twists
What is better than a high pony? A half up half down high pony style. This keeps the hair out of your face while still allowing you to show off your length.
Top Knot Senegalese Twists
Senegalese twists add much-needed volume to your top-knot. When tying your hair back. simply gather the ends around the base of the ponytail and secure with an elastic.
Side Part Senegalese Twists
We have saved the simplest style for last. While it is fun to experiment with fancy accessories and brand new 'dos, sometimes the chicest changes are the easiest ones like shifting your part to a new spot.