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braids vs. twists

Braids vs. Twists: What’s The Difference?

Like apples and oranges, braids and twists are alike but very different.
When it comes to natural hair, most styles require braids or twists. But how do you know which one is better? The truth is, in a lot of circumstances, braids and hair twists can be used interchangeably. But there are some times when braids are better and other times when twists are more preferred. Below, we finally solve the debate of braids versus twists and which one is better for you and your hair type.

What are twists?
Twists are probably one of the easiest techniques to master when it comes to hairstyles. Twists are created by taking two sections of hair and wrapping or twisting them around one another. This technique is also known as the two-strand twist. Twists work on short, medium and long-lengthed hair and can range in width. For a twist that doesn’t easily unravel, you’ll want to wrap the sections tightly around each other. For a looser twist, you may need more product; then, simply wrap the sections looser around each other.

Even though the two-strand twist is the most basic and common type of twist, there’s a variety of twist techniques to choose from. From the spring twist and the Sengegalese twist to the Marley and Havana twists. There are so many hairstyles you can achieve with twisted hair (more on that below).

What are braids?
Braid hairstyles are most likely the first type of hairstyle that you wanted to learn as a kid. To braid the hair, you’ll need to take a section (or all) of your hair and split it up into three even pieces. Yes, that’s one additional section than the two-strand twist. Those three sections are then wrapped over and under each other until you create a braid from root to tip.

Just like twists, there are many options of braid styles. They can be braided from root to tip as a plait or braided closer to the scalp as a Dutch or French braid. You can also add additional hair to most braided styles to boost volume and length. There are also a myriad of protective styles for natural hair made with braids like box braids, cornrows, Goddess braids and heart braids. If you find that your braids are too tight, apply Mimosa Hair Honey for moisture and relief.

What are the benefits of wearing braids?

Braids are a tried-and-true hair styling technique that works on all ages, all hair types and all hair lengths. Here are a few pros and cons of sporting natural hair protective braid styles.

Benefit of Braids 1: They’re easy to transform

Braids can be bent, tucked, flipped and flung wherever you please, making this hairstyle extremely easy to morph into another. From braided ponytails to braided buns and even braided fauxhawks. Bottom line — you can transform your braids into nearly any hairstyle.

Benefit of Braids 2: They last longer than most other hairstyles

If taken care of properly, braids can last days on natural hair and weeks with extensions. They’re one of those hairstyles you lean on when you want to give your strands a little breather and take a break from daily styling.

Benefit of Braids 3: They work on all hair types

When you find a style that works on type 1 and 2 hair and type 4, you know you’ve got a winner. Braids work on straight, curly and coily hair and can be done on short and long lengths, too.

What are the cons of wearing braids?

Like anything, braids aren’t for everyone. Here are the potential downsides of braided hairstyles.

Con of Braids 1: They may require an investment of time

Sure, if you’re doing jumbo plaits or a pair of Dutch braids on your hair, it won’t take much time. But if you dive into box braids, crochet braids and Marley braids, you’ll need to carve out some time to achieve these styles. These types of braided hairstyles can take anywhere from two to seven hours and may come at a hefty price tag, too.

Con of Braids 2: Tension at the roots

Yes, the same braided hairstyles that require several hours of time to install can also cause pulling or tension at the hairline, if not installed properly. This can not only lead to hair loss, but it’s pretty uncomfortable, too. When getting your hair braided into a style that will last several days or weeks, leave it to the pros. They know how to care for the hair and the technique required to keep your edges intact without any pulling or tugging. To keep your edges smooth, use the Black Vanilla Edge Control Smoother instead of pulling too tight.

What are the benefits of wearing twists?

Most of the benefits of twists are similar to those mentioned above for braids, but here are a few other reasons twisted hairstyles come in handy.

Benefit of Twists 1: Ideal for Coily Hair

The most annoying part of two-strand twists is the fact that they unravel or puff up on some hair types. But this usually won’t happen with type 4 hair. The more coily the hair is, the better the twist will stay, and you may not even have to secure it at the end.

Benefit of Twists 2: No pulling at the root

If you’re looking for a style that won’t pull on your edges, twists are the better option. They’re lightweight and won’t cause tugging at the scalp, even if you twist tightly.

Benefit of Twists 3: They’re an easy 2-in-1 style for natural hair

Ever heard of a twist out? That’s one of the benefits of twisting the hair. It doesn’t take as long as braiding, and if you twist the hair while wet and unravel once it’s dry you’ll get gorgeous swirls and waves with minimal effort. For even more definition, apply Wash Day Delight Hair Gel to Foam Styler. Then, sport your twists for a few days and then enjoy rocking the twist out until your next wash sesh — using Goddess Strength Fortifying Shampoo, of course.

What are the cons of wearing twists?

Twists are easier, that’s for sure. But they may not be as dependable as braids. Here are a few hiccups when it comes to twisted hairstyles.

Con of Twists 1: They don’t last very long

Even on coily hair, twists don’t last as long as braids. They tend to puff up, get frizzy and loosen a lot quicker than braids, which makes them a better option for styles that will be taken out in a shorter amount of time.

Con of Twists 2: They require more upkeep

Since twists don’t last as long, they do take more maintenance than braided hairstyles. You may have to retwist your ends or undo and retwist sections of your hair to keep your twists looking perfect. Try using a hair butter for natural hair. And if you’re using hair extensions, adding a dollop of oil like Goddess Strength 7-Oil Blend for Scalp & Hair to the hair each day will help to keep strands frizz-free.

How do I know if braids or twists are better for my hair?

Most of this decision comes down to you. Do you like the way braids look better or twists? Do you care if the style looks old after three days or do you want it to last for weeks? If you’re looking for a longer-lasting, more durable style, choose braids. If you prefer a higher-maintenance style that’s gentler on the hair, twists are for you.

Still looking for hairstyling ideas? Check out our easy protective hairstyle guide.

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