Below you’ll find the pros and cons of doing twists vs braids on natural hair…and in my case fine natural hair.
Twists and braids can make for great low manipulation styles and beautiful protective hairstyles. There is however a main difference between twisting strands of hair and braiding strands of hair. There’s also pros and cons to each.
Before getting into the key differences between twisting hair and braiding hair, let me put it out there early on. This article is NOT about the differences between popular hairstyles that require you to add hair extensions. You know the types of twist and braid styles I’m talking about.
This article is about how twists vs braids on natural hair is quite different in many ways when done on your own hair with no added hair. Of course, some of the pros and cons can be recognized when doing twists or braids with the addition of hair.
Types of Braids
- Knotless braids (also called Knotless Box Braids)
- Goddess braids
- Micro braids
- Ghana Braids
- Feed-in braids
- Twist braids
Different Types of Twists
- Marley twists
- Havana twists
- Passion Twists (also known as Kinky Twists)
- Rope twists (also known as Senegalese Twists)
Flat twists are a whole different ball game. They take less time to do and won’t typically have the same set of pros and cons that regular two-strand twists have.
Now, don’t get me wrong. All of these natural hairstyles are great options for when you want to give your natural hair a rest. Being able to wrap your hair up in added hair is a great alternative to protective styles to other popular choices for protective styling. For example, buns and french rolls.
Now, let’s discuss the actual differences of twists vs braids on natural hair. Your own hair.
Because, if you’re anything like me, you don’t actually like to add hair to your own hair. That’s another article on its own. “Why you don’t want to protective style using adding hair or extensions.” Yes, i’ll write that one some day For now…
Pros of Braids vs Pros of Twists
- The more braids you do, the less scalp-y your hair appears
- Braids last for a long time without appearing frizzy
- Braids can stretch your hair quite a bit
- A lot of hair texture can be created with braids. Especially when you use a leave-in conditioner or styling cream to set the braids
- You can do braids well on curly or straight hair (although size matters)
- You can achieve a beautiful braid out even after the braids have been in for a long time
- Virtually all tangling is eliminated when you have braids in (unless you leave them in to long and your hair starts to web at the roots)
- You can easily see how much hair growth you have at the root when wearing braids for a long time
- Braids are a great way to style hair for those transitioning to natural hair
- Fake hair can be added to braids very easily for an even longer lasting protective style
- Regardless of your hair type, you can make your hair appear more “plump with twists
- Twists can be done relatively quickly and taken out just as quickly – depending on the size
- There’s different ways hair can be twisted depending on the look you’re going for. For example: Senegalese twists, 3 strand twists, 2-strand twists
- Twists provide some stretch to your hair to reduce single strand knots
- Moisture retention is promoted with twists
- Works well on natural unprocessed hair
- Twists can be used to style and create other twist hairstyles (especially when
- You can easily release twists after a short period of time for a beautiful twist out
- You can easily and quickly re-twist a single twist if it begins to unravel or appear fuzzy
- It’s very easy to wash your hair in twists
Cons of Braids vs Cons of Twists
- It takes a lot of manipulation to install braids or even braid your own hair. More manipulation increases the chances of breakage.
- It takes a longer time to braid your hair than to twist it
- The time it takes to unbraid hair is usually longer than the time it takes to braid it.
- You have to be vey careful when removing braids that have been installed with fake hair. It’s very easy to cut your own hair.
- Braids don’t look as nice with just a few. You need to put more effort into this style.
- It’s too tempting to leave braids in for a long time
- It’s hard to get dirt out of your hair when washing in braids
- Braids can cause hair breakage in more than one way
- If done too tightly, braids can cause hair loss.
- Twists can unravel easily, especially if you have a looser curl pattern.
- In order to have longevity to your style, your hair requires a lot more twists than braids.
- Twists don’t last as long as braids
- Tangling can occur at the ends from shed hair.
- Twists often cause webbing at the root when left in for too long.
- You may need to twist tight at the root or braid the root to prevent the hair from untwisting. Twists can definitely cause tension on your strands.
- Twists do not stretch your hair as much as braids.
- Twist for twist outs don’t give as much definition as braids do for braid outs.
- When doing twists for a twist out, definition is easily lost and may require frequent re-twisting vs doing braids for a braid out
Commonalities Between Braids and Twists
While there are quite a few pros and cons of braids and twists on fine curly hair, there are some commonalities to be aware of between the two that I did not mention above:
- Each of these protective styles (or low manipulation depending on if you let them hang free) can both harm your hair if you do them too small.
- Take care not to borrow from other sections of hair when braiding or twisting. If you get to the end of a braid/twist and run out of hair in one section, simple twirl the ends with an alcohol free hair gel and of your favorite hair oils to keep the ends smooth.
- Never twist or braid soaking wet hair.
- Seal your ends with a heavy oil to prevent tangling. You may need to repeat this every few days and will help you to have less frizz.
- Keep both your braids and twists infused with moisture. It starts on wash day. However, you can use a spray moisturizer product or DIY moisture spray that won’t disturb the style.
- Take special care when both twisting and braiding.
- Take equal care when taking out your braids and twists.
You can obviously choose to do either braids or twists in your hair based on what you desire. You can even combine braids and twists for a unique style. Enter the “Twaid” out. (yes, women in the natural hair community are famous for making up names of styles. Especially us black women LOL)
Just be sure to give your hair the proper care before and after twisting or braiding your hair. Do whatever you need to do to mitigate damage while achieving a satisfactory time for rocking your braid or twist style.
Where to Next?
Check out the following articles on braids and twists:
Which do you prefer? Braids or Twists?
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