How To Twist Natural And Textured Hair By Lupita Nyong'O's Hairstylist Vernon Francois

Everything you need to know for keeping your twists on point.

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From the many different types and how to actually do them yourself, to what to avoid and the styling products that'll make life a whole lot easier, this is how to twist natural and textured hair by pro hairstylist and Lupita's go-to for her A-list 'do, Vernon Francois...

What types of twist are there?

1. Finger twists

This is when you take one section of hair and wind it around itself in the direction that hair naturally turns in. These are also sometimes called one-strand twists, and you can do them all over your head of hair. I'd usually do them when hair is damp, then they can either be worn as they are, or separated into smaller curls once they've dried.

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2. Two-strand twists

This is when you take two sections of hair and wrap them around each other continuously to the ends. They can either be tight or loose, depending on how taut you hold them and how snugly you wind them together. They can be chunky or thin, many or few, all over your head or one each side of your head, there are lots of options.

Two-strand twists using hair extensions have different names, depending on how chunky or thin they are and the kind of synthetic hair that is used to add length and volume.

Nubian twists: these use short synthetic kinky hair for a springy look.

Havana twists: these are usually worn chunky and long

Senegalese twists: these use Kanekelon hair which looks quite smooth

Marley twists: these are similar to Havana twists but use more expensive faux hair that's lighter weight and more springy.

3. Flat twists

This is when you do a two-strand twist but keep the twisting part very close to the head, picking up a small section of hair as you go, in a similar way to how a French plait or cornrow is done.

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4. Three-strand twist

This is when you take three strands of hair, in a similar way to how you would prepare for a braid, but the technique is different.

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5. A twist out

This is when you do two or three strand twists while the hair is damp, let them dry completely either naturally or with the help of a gentle warm diffuser. Then, carefully unravel with your fingertips coated in a little lightweight styling serum, to reveal a beautiful curl pattern.

When you begin, try not to be too generic with your sectioning and think about how you want to frame the face because this will set the style up for when you're taking it out.

After unravelling, you can then separate each of the curls to make more curls – so one might become two, or three or even six! Having a little bit of frizz to your hair's texture is a good thing here because it helps to help add volume and energy to the style, giving the overall look more personality.

About this afternoon @elainewelteroth @lynettesaid ❤️

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How should you prep your hair before twisting?

Before twisting, prep your hair by making sure that it's damp and detangled properly, using either your fingers or a wide tooth comb.

If your hair is already clean, shampooing first isn't necessary; a spritz with my new MIST Nourishing Water is very effective for preparing hair for styling. Divide your hair into sections depending on how many twists you want to do and secure them in place with croc clips.

What's the easiest twist to do yourself?

Two-strand twists are very simple and work for all hair textures, kinky, coily, curly or wavy.

To do this, take two sections of evenly sized hair and twist them around each other, keeping a steady amount of tension on the strands all the time. They can be done either loose or tightly; you can also vary the number that you do, depending on the look that you want to achieve and how long or dense your hair is.

You can make them chunky or thin, go for lots of them all over your head, or just one or two - have fun exploring the options.

Kinky, coily and tightly curled hair types will probably stay in place on their own at the ends, but you may want to tie the ends of your hair with a little band if the texture is loose curls or wavy.

TOP TIP: Try and twist each of the sections around themselves at the same time as wrapping them around each other to help the twists stay in place for longer.

We're feeling confident, what's a more advanced twist that's still doable?

A three-strand twist is a bit more advanced but, like most things, it's easy to do when you know how.

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Take three sections of evenly sized hair, as you would for a braid. Hold them flat, side-by-side; move the strand closest to your neck over the other two, so that it becomes the strand furthest away from your neck; then, repeat with the section of hair that was in the middle, but that's now closest to your neck! Continue until you get to the ends.

To begin with, you might need to concentrate on not accidentally slipping into doing a braid, which is second nature to a lot of people.

Can you twist short hair?

You can twist short hair with the same techniques as long hair. But, if your hair is very short, it might be easier to do one or two-strand twists instead of three-strand twists.

Any of the types of twists that use hair extensions can be great for short hair for a change of style - I'd recommend seeing a professional for these.

What hair products are essential when doing twists?

My MIST Nourishing Water is great for preparing hair before styling. Then, for the actual twisting, my Styling Cream is wonderful because it gives a light hold with no flaking and no crunching.

All hair types love both of these products, especially when paired together, they give kinks and curls a very natural finish that looks fabulous for a long time.

What are the warning signs that your twist has gone horrible wrong?

You need to make sure that the sections of hair that you're working with are roughly the same length. If you're approaching the ends and can see that one section is shorter than the other, it's worth stopping and re-separating to start again.

I always say to be patient, stay calm and avoid rushing when doing your hair, with everything from detangling to styling, including twisting.

The same applies to when you're doing a child's hair – it should be a pleasant experience. Put some music on and give yourself enough time not to have to rush. Avoid getting stressed and approach it positively.

How long should twists last?

The length of time that twists last depends on the hair's texture, how tight or loose the strands are held when twisting, and how they are cared for at nighttime. Usually, the more tightly curled your hair is, and the more tension you've applied when doing the twists, the longer they will last; sometimes up to a week.

Sleeping with your hair covered in a silk cap will keep moisture in the strands and help the style to last for longer.

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