Senegalese twists get their name from the famous city with a gold coast. Come learn more about the wonderful hair styling and what it took to spread this cultural design around the world.
WHAT ARE THEY?
The Senegalese twist is an intricate way of twisting and styling your hair professionally and protectively. The style can be pulled off in prominent ways. The first involves using your natural hair and the addition of a kinky fiber like a Marley or kanekalon hair. These are then swirled together in a two-strand twist technique.
THE RIGHT TWIST CAN CHANGE THE WHOLE PHYSICAL APPEARANCE
The second method of achieving Senegal twists is to add individual crochet faux locs into your cornrows or box braided hair. The faux locs have a rope twist that is tightly twisted and coiled together and come ready to install. This is the most common way of adding imitation Senegalese dreads and produces the best results.
STEP BY STEP TWIST GUIDE
PULLING OFF A SENEGALESE TWIST CAN VERY EASILY BE DONE. FOLLOW OUR STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL TO ROCK THESE TWISTS!
- First and most important, wash your hair correctly, and if you have dreads, follow our dreadlock shampoo guide.
- Second, begin the formation of your base, being either cornrows or box braids. Both of these methods are valid and work great.
- Once your base is finished, and all the loose tail ends have been properly sown flat against your scalp, you can start to add the plaits.
- To attach crochet individuals, you will need to use a croche latch hook tool. Insert the device through the bottom of the cornrows or the roots of your hair braids.
5. Attach the pre-looped crochet faux locs to your tool and pull the dreads back through the latch hook entry point.
6.Once the loop has made it through the roots, fish the dread end through the loop and carefully pull tight, releasing any snags. When attaching to box braids, you will have to hide the braided ends through the center of the faux loc.
7.Repeat this process beginning from the back to the front to create the styling entirely.
HERE’S A VIDEO TUTORIAL TO HELP YOU INSTALL THOSE LOCS!
ORIGINS OF THE TWIST BRAIDS
Senegal Twist is a style that we believe originated in West Africa. The Protective style comes from Senegal and is widely adopted in the African American community.
The Senegalese twist involves two-strand twists wrapped around each other. This can be done with metals, jewelry, or even hair.
When the technique of twisting is used on human hair, each section of the natural hair is coiled with two finely rolled groupings. Sectioning for twist styles on hair is very close to the same methods used in box braids.
This styling is ancient and comes with a lot of history.
REPUBLIC OF SENEGAL
This wonderful nation’s golden coastlines, mighty rivers, and sandy plays are in Africa’s geographically western part. The rugged lands are surrounded by the neighboring Republic Nations of Mauritania, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, And Mali. Senegal western shores are also connected directly to the Atlantic Ocean.
Senegal’s nation is shaped like a reverse packman character or bottom half of a human caricature face, with Dakar(the capital of Senegal) as the “nose.” The “mouth” is comprised of the borders that entirely engulfs the nation of the Gambia and its mighty river.
Senegal has two rivers called the Casamance river that physically runs from the south into the country, and the Senegalese river that’s pathway creates the northern and eastern border.
THESE STYLES WE USE TODAY ARE MANY OF CENTURIES OLD
Trade and exports greatly benefited from using the flowing waterways and likely helped spread the cultural Senegalese twists stylings around the world.
GOLD COAST TRADE AND EXPORTATION
Western Africa has seen a shift of power over the last few centuries. Since the 1960 and after world war ll, Senegal gained its independence and became a nation as its cultural roots grew more profound and more secure.
It is very likely that because of the high use of the Casamance, Senegalese, and Gambia rivers to transport commodities into Africa, Senegal’s cultures and style would be highly appropriated and adopted among many shippers and traders.
These mighty waterways were nicknamed the gold coast because of all the precious metals and jewelry quickly acquired from Senegal’s mineral-rich low-lying ground. This made these passages very popular, and It wouldn’t be long till articles of gold jewelry started to appear around the world that used the iconic twist pattern.
MANY RICHES WERE FOUND FROM THE MINERAL RICH LANDS OF SENEGAL AFRICA
HISTORY OF THE INFAMOUS TWIST
Twisting hair and articles of jewelry have been seen for many and many centuries. You can learn all about these twists in our excellent Twist Hair Article.
The Senegal people’s specific coiling technique wasn’t widely documented until after World War II.
Some of the earliest evidence of the twist pattern is prevalent in museums like the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. This housed a “Fashioning Senegalese Women” event that showcased some golden Senegal bracelets dated centuries and centuries ago.
The earliest evidence of Senegalese twist would be an artifact excavated in 1980 that was carbon-dated from the 12th century. This golden bracelet is known as the infamous “Rao/Nguiguela, Senegal, “Pectoral (the Rao Pectoral).”
GOLDEN BRACELETS AND OTHER SHINY METALS USED THE TWIST TECHNIQUE WE SEE IN FAUX LOCS BUT WITH THE COILINGS USED IN THIS ELEGANT JEWELRY
Excavations in the Rao region near Saint-Louis, in northwest Senegal, yielded one of Africa’s most technically sophisticated golden regalias and are dated from around the 11th to the 14th century. These golden artifacts show the use of metal bending techniques like filigree, granulation, and gold plating techniques to cover other precious metals.
The Rao pectoral is one of the oldest found artifacts of the Peul, Bamana, Songhai, Sarakole, and Wolof communities that showcases their specific twisting pattern.
This artifact would be the earliest evidence of the Senegalese twist intricate twist and braid styles from the 12th century.
TWISTING CAN BE AS EASY AS TWIRLING HAIR IN A CYLINDER SHAPE OR AS INTRICATE AS A SENEGALESE STYLING
BIRTH OF THE TWIST
As evidence of the same twists used in Senegal jewelry being used in hair isn’t very prevalent, some paintings and artworks show and depict few people of the now known Senegal region wearing twisted hairstyles in the distinct techniques and fashions (2).
BUYING SENEGAL FAUX LOCS
Purchasing these lovely twists can cost you lots of money. If you are buying gold made with the hand twisted technique, expect to pay up to the four-figure numbers.
When purchasing Senegal twist crochet hair, you can expect the same results. The intricate twist designs typically use a synthetic fiber that is coarse and kinky in appearance but very reflective and shiny when held in the light. These manufactured fibers are more readily available, but real hair can be used if it is of high quality and standards.
Thus, the elegant twists have aggressive and thick coiling patterns that are easily recognized and visually more structured in design.
Typically the twists are made from two smaller twists. This gives the twists patterns very detailed, and uniform looked while appearing very neat and together.
SAMPLING DIFFERENT ROPE/YARN TEXTURED RIBERS CAN RESULT IN NEW CUSTOM UNIQUE CREATIONS!
When buying Senegalese twist, make sure to reach for brands labeled explicitly for this style and not for looks like the Havana twist or the passion twist because these stylings are very different.
Difference Between Senegalese, Marley, & Passion Twists
All three of these options are all in the “Twist” hairstyle category.
- Senegalese twists are more vibrant and shiny.
- Marley twists closely resemble Senegalese twist but are less polished and are rougher in texture.
- Passion twists, like Senegalese twists, are two-strand twists.
- The difference is that passion twists are not as tightly twisted and are almost left unraveled, slightly offering a more springy look.
Similar names and hairstyles that you will commonly find online are Spring Twists and Kinky Twists.
OTHER SENEGAL TWIST STYLES TO TRY
- HALF UP TWISTED FAUX LOC
- TOP KNOT SENEGALESE TWIST
- HALF SHAVED SIDE PART TWIST CREATION
ARE SENEGALESE BRAIDED TWISTS HEAVY?
It depends on the length and how much hair you use. If you are going for a Jumbo twist, you might feel a little tension on your scalp. Regular and large Senegalese twists weigh less than box braid. This is mainly since they only use two strands of hair to achieve the twists. When installing twist, remember if you add long hair, the versatility of hairstyles is endless.
WHAT TYPES OF HAIR ARE USED?
Twist updos require more textured and dry hair. Because of the hair care needed, synthetic hairs are a more common choice. Use Marley hair, Kanekalon, and Toyokalon (yaki braiding hair) for best results. Stay away from hairs with curly ends.
WHAT SIZE AND LENGTHS OF THE SENEGALESE TWIST HAIRSTYLES ARE AVAILABLE?
Many different fibers, lengths, sizes, and styles can be used to create twisted dreadlocks. Check out some of our fantastic twist options!
SIZE VARIATIONS AVAILABLE:
Twists can come in all different thicknesses. The 4 most common thicknesses are listed below:
Jumbo Senegalese Twist (Large)
Regular Senegalese Twist (Medium)
Small Senegalese Twist
Micro Senegalese Twists
LENGTH VARIATIONS AVAILABLE:
Senegalese twists follow the same length measurement as faux locs hair extensions. To learn more about those size variations check out the links below.
Long Faux Loc Lengths (Mid Back)
Medium Faux Loc Lengths (Shoulder Length)
WHAT HAIR COLOR SHOULD I GET?
Ombre and brown Senegalese twists pair very well with black women, and we also recommend Strawberry Blonde for those of you with lighter skin tones.
For natural hairstyles, try matching your skin tone and stay away from vibrant colors like red and purple Senegalese twists.
WHICH LAST LONGER, SENEGALESE OR CROCHET PASSION?
The styling of twists is not going to determine your hair’s life. Proper hair maintenance, hair care routine, and experience will determine how long you can keep those pretty locs drastically.
CAN I DIP HAIR TWISTS IN HOT WATER?
You should always seek help from a stylist or watch tutorials before using the hot water method. WARNING, as you dip those extensions, remember not to burn yourself or your scalp. Try not to leave hair dropped too long, or the water temp is too hot for a kinky twist. Human hair typically isn’t used in Senegalese twist, but if needed, leave in water for a little longer before using.
HOW MANY PACKS OF HAIR FOR SENEGALESE TWISTS DO I NEED?
6-10Packs; For a full head of two-strand Senegalese hair twists, you will likely need 6-10 packs of hair twists.
HOW LONG DO CROCHET SENEGALESE TWISTS LAST AFTER THEIR INSTALLED?
8-16 weeks with low maintenance; you can expect your Senegalese twists to last anywhere from 8-16 weeks, depending on how you care for them. You should wrap your hair every night in a high bun with a satin bonnet to protect the hair.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO INSTALL CROCHET BRAIDS?
6-10 hours for a full head without crocheting and use of pre-stretched hair extensions; That time can be drastically diminished when using individual dreads pre-twisted to bring the finish time to less than 2 hours. We get this from an average time taken from our certified locticians to complete an install.
The Senegalese twist styling is one of the most elegant and structured twist styling available on the market today. The expensive hair’s look and feel will add to your outfit and visually more amazing when adequately accessorized. Make sure to leave us with a comment telling us when you first remember trying these lovely twist creations!
- Cartwright, Mark. “Wolof Empire.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 4 Feb. 2021, www.ancient.eu/Wolof_Empire/.
- Cohen, William B. The French Encounter with Africans: White Response to Blacks, 1530-1880. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980
- Hardy, Georges. La mise en valeur du Sénégal de 1817 à 1854. Paris: Larose, 1921