Step-by-Step Guide to Flat Twisting for Black Hair

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How to Flat Twist Hair

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Flat twists are a neat way to add a protective style to your hair repertoire. Regular two strand twists, which can hang loosely, are usually best for natural hair, but flat twists work well on natural and relaxed textures. They're similar to cornrows, but may be more user-friendly to beginners; you work with two strands of hair at a time with flat twists instead of three, as you do with cornrows.

To begin flat twisting hair, start with a part at the hairline.

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Part from Hairline to Nape

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Continue the part you started at the hairline straight back to the nape of the neck. The end of a rat-tail comb is useful for making neat parts.

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Begin with a Small Section

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to About.com, Inc.

From the section of hair that you parted, begin working with a small section at the hairline.

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Divide Section into Two Parts

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Now divide the small section of hair at the hairline into two equal parts.

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Begin Twisting

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Twist the two sections of hair around each other as you move back along this parted section.

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Continue Twisting

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to About.com, Inc.

As you twist the hair, gently incorporate hair from the parted section into the twist as you work back. It's important to use the right tension so that you don't cause any pain or damage to the hair follicles with tight styling.

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Secure the Twist

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to About.com, Inc.

If the hair is long enough, you'll reach a point where the twist is no longer attached to the scalp. You may want to secure the twist here, but it's not necessary. Experiment and see what works best for you. Here, a small butterfly clip is used to keep the twist from unraveling. You'll often find that the thicker and curlier the hair, the better it is at holding itself together without worry of coming untwisted.

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Twist to the End

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Continue twisting the hair until you reach the ends. If desired, secure the ends with covered elastics or barrettes. Natural hair can usually secure itself without additional help.

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Repeat Over Entire Head

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Repeat the flat twists over the entire head. As you become more comfortable with your technique, you may find yourself creating parts that direct to one side instead of straight back, for more variety.

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Completed Flat Twists - Side View

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to About.com, Inc.

These are basic flat twists, secured at the nape with small butterfly clips. While this is a good choice for children, adult women may not want to sport accessories. You have other options in styling flat twists as well.

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Back View

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Here you can see how the flat twists appear from the back of the head.

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Top View

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This is what they look like from the top of the head.

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Twists in a Ponytail

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Don't want to wear your flat twists hanging loose? You can easily pull them back into a ponytail. Either let the ends hang freely or secure them, as shown here. This is a good option for women who want an easy protective style without all of the little girl accessories.

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Two Ponytails

Photo © 2009 D. Sandeen, licensed to About.com, Inc.

This is the flat twisted take on two ponytails. Girls with very thick hair can wear this style instead of traditional ponytails; you may find it relieves some of the bulk, allowing you to create various styles without combing through massive amounts of hair every day.