Havana twists have offered natural women a fresh take on hair twists, but before you fork over the not-so-tiny amount of cash for new extensions, it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting.

Havana hair twists are similar to Marley hair twists, but they have a different look, feel, and cost. For an extension expert take, I reached out to Houston-based natural hair stylist Tabitha Lowery to distinguish the features of both and dole out some tress tips so you arrive at the salon prepared. Use this guide to help you decide which one’s perfect for you!

Marley Twists vs. Havana Twists


Havana Hair Twists:

  • Thicker, fuller twists with just two strands. The looser you make the twist, the fuller the twist appears.
  • Requires less hair — only 5-6 bags at $12.99 a pop.
  • Havana twists are much more expensive to purchase than Marley twists. Expect to shell out nearly $100 (after shipping”> for just the hair, not including installation. This tends to be the deal breaker for many who end up opting for Marley hair.
  • Requires more pre-planning. Havana Twis hair is only available online, so you won’t be getting your twists installed for another two weeks while you wait for shipping. There is also a limited availability if, say, the website is out of stock in the color you may have wanted.
  • For those not interested in cerebral weight-lifting, Havana hair twists are much lighter on your head than Marley twists, probably because the hair is fuller and fluffier, and not at dense as Marley twists. This unexpectedly comes in handy especially for summer pool parties and water park adventures when your hair becomes heavier when wet! Lowery says: “It feels like 10,000 pounds on your head. I feel like if you’re going to pay $100+ for your hair, you want to get something you can actually live with. It’s more expensive but worth it.”
  • Havana hair has a rougher texture, lending itself to its trademark full volume. “It’s a lot more like our [natural] hair as far as the kink to it.” The downside is that it’s rougher on your stylist’s cuticles, Lowery confides. It’s easier to twist with Marley hair.
  • Thanks to Havana hair’s texture, the hair strands “love each other” more, meaning there is no need to boil, tie, or seal the ends. As long as the hair is braided all the way to the last strand, it will seal itself just fine, thank you.
  • Read more: How I’m Making the Most of My Havana Marley Twists

    Marley Twists vs. Havana Twists

    Image: @leonegoddess

    Marley Hair Twists:

  • Marley hair twists use Marley hair extensions, widely available in a variety of colors at any beauty store carrying extensions. This means you can buy the hair extensions and get your twists installed the same day. Lowery’s go-to brand is “Lord & Cliff Hip-Hop Braid Marley Hair.”
  • Thinner, smoother twists when using only two strands. For thicker twists, you have to use more hair. Some fullness can be added by teasing the strands beforehand.
  • Requires more hair due to the thinner texture — approximately 6-8 bags for about $7 each.
  • Marley hair extensions will only put a $50-$60 dent in your wallet, so it’s a much more budget-friendly option.
  • Marley hair twists are not as practical and versatile. For example, they become extremely heavy when wet. All of that wet hair ends up weighing you down.
  • Your stylist will still need to seal the ends of the twists, but the Marley hair overall is smoother on your stylist’s cuticles, which means she might grimace less from cuticle cuts.
  • Both

    Both Havana and Marley hair twists typically cost between $100-$160 for installation, depending on the length and thickness of your hair.

    Ultimately when selecting the twist type for your tresses, Lowery says to choose the one you can easily live with. While she says Marley hair twists are the most popular due to their affordability and accessibility, she considers Havana hair twists the better investment because of its practicality and overall look. However, in her impatience to wait two weeks for Havana hair, Lowery ended up opting for Marley twists for herself (shown in photo”>.


  • Don’t relax your hair before your appointment. If you already have relaxed hair, don’t relax it again. This clashes with the texture of the extensions and looks bad.
  • Use a clarifying shampoo and detangle your hair. The gunk and leftover product needs to go! When your hair is all twisted up, all the debris and gunk can unhygienically build up and even get moldy.
  • Condition and prepare your hair to make it healthy Assess what your hair needs – protein, humidifier, moisture – and use a deep conditioner or hot oil as needed. Making this at home can help you tailor the mix to your hair’s needs. “Because Lord forbid you pay to put all the twists in your hair and then it all breaks off!”
  • Invisible Twist Installation

    Make sure your stylist employs the Invisible Twist method when twisting your hair and does not braid the hair first. This means folding a strand of Havana or Marley hair in half, placing the midpoint on your scalp between two strands of your natural hair, and twisting the two strands together, folding one strand over and pulling the twist taut, all the way until the last of the strands. This makes the natural hair blend into the extension and looks completely natural. It also prevents the twists from looking messy once your hair starts growing out again. This video demonstrates the Invisible Twist method and it’s easy to follow.

    Maintenance & Care

  • To protect your ‘do while you sleep, wrap your hair in a satin bonnet in a ponytail or sleep on a satin pillowcase.
  • When caring for your hair, don’t worry about the extensions; just focus on the scalp to ensure your natural hair is healthy. Use an apple cider vinegar and water rinse or a dry shampoo (Lowery recommends Taliah Waajid Moisture Clenz”> only when necessary, and apply it by rubbing it on your scalp with a cotton swab or ball.
  • Rub in hair oils and butters using the same technique as the cleanser to keep your scalp hydrated, strong, and healthy.
  • Don’t keep your twists for six or eight months until it starts looking like dreadlocks as it grows out. “Weave” goodbye to your hair twists after about three months. That is, unless dreadlocks happen to be your next hairstyle.
  • Amyna Dosani


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