When it comes to protective styles within the natural hair community, braids and twists are amongst the most popular. This is mostly due to their versatile low-maintenance nature and of course, the extra beauty they give. However, there is a difference between these two popular styles. Knowing the key differences between braids and twists will help you choose which one of these hairstyles is right for you and your lifestyle.
What’s the difference between braids and twists?
The difference between these two hairstyles really is their technique. Braids are created by weaving three equal strands of hair together which results in a stretched plait. Twists, on the other hand, are created by wrapping two equal strands of hair around each other.
Braids can be done with your natural hair or with the addition of hair extensions to your natural hair or on a wig and worn on your head.
Types of braided hairstyles
There are various types of braids and they include, among others:
Now, I must mention that although the common method for creating twists is using two equal strands of hair, they can also be created using three equal strands of hair (this is known as three-strand twists and they require expertise to do) or just one strand of hair (this is called one-strand twists and they are the easiest to do).
Types of twists hairstyles
- Regular two-strand twists
- Three-strand twists
- Rope twists
- Spring twist
- Passion twists
- Finger twists
- Comb twists, etc.
Braids vs Twists: Which is better for you?
Now, that you know the difference between the two, to choose which one is better for you, here are some factors to consider.
Weight of the style
When it comes to weight, braids are heavier than twists. As such, if you have a sensitive scalp or fragile hair or you just don’t like heavy hairstyles, you may consider having to choose twists as these are lighter than braids.
Tension on your roots
Braids require tension which means they’re held tightly at the roots to help them stay secure and last for weeks. Again, if you have a sensitive scalp or fragile hair, you may want to do twists instead which do not require as much tension for a firm hold at the roots. However, if your hair is in a good state, you can go ahead and do braids. Side Note: Although braids require tension for firmness, they should not be too tightly held so your hair strands do not pull out from their roots and you don’t get bumps on your scalp.
If you want a hairstyle that lasts longer with very little upkeep, then you should go for braids. Due to their installation technique, they stay closely woven together for a very long time and won’t unravel until you start to take them down. Twists, on the other hand, may start to unravel at the ends after the first few days and would need retwisting to keep them secure.
Installation skill level
The process of installing twists is simple and many types of twists can be done at home by yourself. For braids, you must possess expert skills to get a neat finished look that will last you for weeks. This is why it is usually advised to get your braids done by a professional hairstylist.
When it comes to installation, braids consume more time than twists, although this depends on the thickness and length of your hair and the size of the braids. So, if you’re the type who is time-conscious or you just can’t fathom spending so many hours sitting down to make your hair, then twists are the better option for you.
Twists tend to look “old” and get bulky fast within a few days, although many (including myself) are of the opinion that the older they look, the more beautiful they appear. However, if you don’t feel comfortable wearing twists that look that way, then you can go for braids. In contrast to twists, braids can appear fresh for a couple of weeks and even until you take them down, depending on how well you maintain them (this includes no scratching at the roots, limiting daily styling, and wrapping them in a satin or a silk scarf to bed, among others).
Braids are a high-end hairstyle which means, they cost good money to do. Depending on your location, the size of the braids, hair length or density, or even the expertise of the hair stylist, you can be charged between $80 – $500. Twists can also cost this much, depending on the aforementioned factors. However, because they can be easier to do, you can simply learn how to do them yourself by just watching YouTube tutorials and using the hair supplies you have at home. So, if you are looking to save some of that hair salon money, you can go for twists but if spending big to look good is your thing, then braids are the one for you.