Rope Twist Tutorial Series: Havana Twists

Eunice Lucero | 17 August 2016

A twisted hairstyle that’s bound to turn heads. 

For natural-haired women, protective hairstyles that make use of extensions or weaves are a great way to give their real hair a break from wear and tear, all without sacrificing style. Looks such as Senegalese twists, Marley and Havana twists are examples of these sophisticated looks. All are variations of rope twists, they just differ in the kind of hair extension used for each.

Whereas Senegalese twists use a shiny, slightly heavier weave, Havana twists use a particular kind of weave that’s kinkier and coarser. It’s also lighter, which means Havana twists can afford to be bigger and fuller-looking without being too heavy on the head. This peculiarity results in awesome, chunky rope twists that can range from mid-length to past the waist.

Havana twists can be done by a professional or totally D.I.Y.’ed, if you want to save yourself a couple hundred bucks (yay, Cuba libre!). In both cases though, be prepared to put in some time on the chair—as with all other rope twists, this look can take up to six hours to complete. Read on to learn more about to create havana twists.

Tutorial: How to Create Havana Twists

Step 1: Wash and condition (or co-wash) hair with a moisturizing system.

Suave Professionals Coconut Milk Infusion Deep Moisture Shampoo and Suave Professionals Coconut Milk Infusion Deep Moisture Conditioneras the names suggest, gently cleans dry hair while also imparting much-needed nourishment into your strands. You can also opt to follow things up with a leave-in conditioner to help unfurl any knots and soften your natural tresses, readying them for twisting. We like the feel of Dove Quench Absolute Leave-In Detangler, which moisturizes without the greasy feel.

Step 2: Prepare your hair extensions.

Havana twists use a specific kind of extension that’s slightly kinkier than others. Separate the extensions into your desired thickness and set aside.

Step 3: Divide your natural hair into four quadrants and clamp up three.

Working one quadrant at a time, divide your first loose section into smaller grids (or circles). Use a fine-toothed comb or a rat-tail comb for more precision.

Step 4: Split your first mini-section into two.

Working on the right side first, place half a strip of the hair extension on top of your natural hair and begin twirling the two tightly, until they form one thin rope. Do this for about four to five twists, and going only in one direction. Repeat on the left side, applying the left hair extension on top of the left natural hair section to twist.

havana twist brown rasta ropes
Havana twists are usually made from a kinkier weave.

Step 5: Join the two sections together and twirl.

When both left and right bases are securely twirled, it’s time to twist them together to form one thicker rope. Do this by criss-crossing the right section over the left section, giving both a tiny twist to the right for good measure (and to ensure a neat, tight, uniform look). Keep criss-crossing until you reach the ends, and repeat on all sections of hair. Note: This process can take hours!

Step 6: Secure your ends.

Dipping your tips into hot water will help seal/cauterize them so they don’t unwind. You can also opt to tie off each rope twist with a thin hair elastic.

Step 7: Apply some oil.

A styling oil, such as Nexxus New York Salon Care Oil Infinite Nourishing Oil, rubbed onto your lengths and ends, helps keep them shiny and healthy-looking.

Step 8: Pick up a dry shampoo for off days.

Protective hairstyles such as Havana twists can be worn for several weeks, so needless to say a dry shampoo to absorb scalp grease along the way is a must-have. Dove Refresh+Care Detox & Purify Dry Shampoo has a revitalizing scent that uplifts while it does its job of mopping up excess sebum and buildup.

Are you going to try some Havana twists?

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