Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images

Hairstylists use Senegalese twists to make long hair look thicker, shorter and fuller. This hairstyle can be done with natural hair or using synthetic extensions. Because hairstylists must twist the hair tightly to achieve the desired effect, Senegalese twists are not recommended for people with weak, brittle hair or very sensitive scalps. Senegalese twists can be time consuming as well, taking more time to style for those with longer and thicker hair.

Part clean, dry hair into four large sections using a rat-tail comb and hair clips. Release one of the sections and separate a small, quarter-inch triangle of hair. Leave the small portion loose and clip up the rest of the hair so it is not in your way.

Detangle the small section of hair, then hold the end of the hair and begin to twist clockwise. As you twist the hair, it will spiral, much like a telephone cord. Twist the hair until there is enough tension that it pulls on the scalp.

Place a finger in the middle of the small section of hair, and loop the twist over your finger so the end of the twist is pointing toward the base of the hair. Twist the finger that is in the loop so the twist coils around itself. Allow it to coil until the end of the coil reaches the base of the hair.

Remove the hair clip at the base of the hair, and secure the end of the twist to the base of the twist using a snap bead.

Release the large section of hair, pull out another small triangle of hair and repeat the process. Continue until the entire head of hair is twisted and secured with snap beads.

Wrap a towel around the shoulders of the person whose hair is being twisted. Fill a bowl with hot, nearly boiling water. Have the person lean back just enough so the ends of the Senegalese twists are saturated with water. The hot water helps the twists keep their shape and keeps them from becoming frizzy or unraveling easily.

Lower the bowl and let the hair cool before allowing the person to sit back up. Let the hair air-dry.


Do not pour the hot water on the twists because it could severely burn the scalp.

Do not twist the hair so tightly that the strands begin to snap or burst.

About the Author

Tessa Holmes

Tessa Holmes has been writing professionally since 2007. Her short stories and articles have been published on Relevantmagazine.com and in the "Cypress Dome." She has worked with the "Florida Review." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Central Florida.