A quick scroll through #flattwists on Instagram will land you thousands of gorgeous variations of flat twists, all styled in different ways. Regular two strand twists, which can hang loosely, are usually best for natural hair, but flat twists can work well on both natural and relaxed textures. And while flat twists are touted for being a versatile hairstyle, they can lead to healthier hair, too.
What are Flat Twists?
According to professional hairstylist Michelle O'Connor, "Flat twisting is a protective style that minimizes manipulation of hair on a daily basis. It’s therefore a path to healthier hair." Whether they're the first step to achieving bouncy curls overnight (called a twist-out) or they're the base of a flattering updo, this is an easy, customizable style that anyone can achieve.
Meet the Expert
Michelle O’Connor is a professional hairstylist and the Artistic Director at Matrix.
Keep reading for a step-by-step guide on how to flat twist natural hair.
How to Flat Twist Hair
"Flat twists are comprised of two twists that are done on the scalp," says O'Connor. "The sectioning is determined by preference and how you may want to position your hair once the twists are pulled out." Generally, flats twists are worn for a few days and then transition into an unraveled style that carries the impression of the twists. Keep in mind: The larger the section you twist, the less definition there will be.
It's best to flat twist on clean hair, so before twisting, wash and condition hair, making sure to properly cleanse the scalp. If your hair is straight, twist while it's dry. Otherwise, curly hair should be twisted while it's damp.
To begin, use a rat tail comb to part the hairline leading all the way back to the nape of the neck.
O'Connor recommends determining what you’d like the finished result to look like and working backwards from there. "For example, figure out where you want your part line, how long you want to wear the style, if it's being worn as a protective style, or if it'll be a set to be pulled out solely for the purpose for creating definition."
Starting from the inner edges of the part, begin working with a small section at the hairline. Divide this section of hair into two equal parts.
Twist the two sections of hair around each other, moving back along this parted section.
As you twist the hair, gently incorporate hair from along the part into the twist as you work backwards.
It's important to use gentle tension to avoid causing pain or damage to the hair follicles.
If the hair you're twisting is long enough, you'll reach a point where the twist is no longer attached to the scalp. You can either secure the twist here or experiment with using a small butterfly clip to keep the twist from unraveling. The thicker and curlier the hair, the better it'll be at holding itself together without coming untwisted.
Repeat the flat twists over the entire head, moving outwards along the hairline. As you become more comfortable with your technique, you may find yourself wanting to create parts that direct to one side instead of straight back for more variety.
How to Style
- Ponytail: If you don't want to let your twists hang loose, try pulling them back into a ponytail. This is a good option for those who want a protective style without many accessories, as the ends don't need to be secured.
- Side part or middle part: Play around with parting to see what style suits you the most. Flat twists can be worn in a deep side part, middle part, or traditional side part.
- Updo: O'Connor notes that flat twists can be worn in an updo with a side part or middle part added.
- Pigtails: If you have very thick hair, this style might be better than traditional ponytails, as it may relieve some of the bulk, allowing you to create various styles without combing through larger chunks of hair every day.
Shop Our Favorite Products for Flat Twisting
O'Connor recommends using this on wet hair or blow dried hair. It's made with cacao to ensure twists are smooth and frizz-free.
For hair that's prone to frizz, O'Connor recommends this smoothing cream. Its weightless, shine-inducing formula works on all hair types and leaves a satin finish on twists.
Perfect for sectioning off the hair, this rat tail comb is heat and chemical-resistant, and features negative ions to make hair as manageable as possible.