How to Do Senegalese Twist Braids

by Sarai Jeremiah ; Updated September 28, 2017

Senegalese twists can be created with or without synthetic braid extension hair.

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Senegalese twists, which originated from Senegal, West Africa, are very similar in style to two-strand twists. This hairstyle is created by twisting synthetic braid extension hair into natural hair. Senegalese twists can also be created without using braid extension hair if your natural hair is thick and long enough. Senegalese twists are sometimes called Senegalese twist braids because when installed properly, they are much tighter than traditional two-strand twists and resemble single braids. Senegalese twists can last up to 12 weeks with proper care.

Wash your hair using a moisturizing shampoo, then detangle thoroughly with a wide-tooth comb. Dry your hair completely with a blow-dryer once you have removed all tangles and knots.

Part a small section of hair straight across with a rat tail comb, starting at the back of your head; this section of hair will be your first row. Secure the remainder of your hair with hair clips.

Section off a small, box-shape portion of hair that is about the width of your finger, from the row. Secure the remainder of your hair in the row with hair clips.

Divide the small, box-shape portion of hair into two equal parts. If you are using braid extension hair, gather a small amount about the thickness of your natural hair and fold it over your natural hair so that the bend is in the middle and there is extension hair on each side. All the steps are the same whether you use extension hair or not.

Hold your hair tightly at the root and start twisting each individual section to the right using your index fingers and thumbs until your hair starts to coil. It may be easier for you to twist one section at a time.

Cross the coiled section in your right hand over the section in your left hand so that the sections have switched places.

Twist the individual sections to the right as you did in step 5, then repeat step 6. Continue in this manner until you reach the end of your hair.

Repeat steps 3 through 7 until the whole row is completed, then create another row above the previous row and continue until your entire head is done.

Dip the ends of the Senegalese twists in hot water once your entire head is finished to seal the ends and prevent unraveling.


  • Use straight hair made of Kanekalon or Yaky synthetic fibers when using braid extension hair for Senegalese twists. These types of hair do not tangle easily and the ends can be burned, if desired.

    Apply a light oil to your scalp at least twice weekly once the Senegalese twists are completed to moisturize your scalp.

    Spray braid spray or a light moisturizer on the twists as needed to keep them moisturized and to stop itching.

    Wrap your hair in a satin or silk scarf or bonnet nightly to preserve twists and prevent frizzing.

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About the Author

Sarai Jeremiah is a freelance writer and graphic designer living on the East Coast, where she is currently pursuing an education in both fields. She has been writing articles and content on a variety of topics since 2006 and has contributed articles to Web sites such as Spark People.