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5 Basic Styling Techniques Explained

Avatar • Apr 2, 2012

After completing a big chop or transition, being faced with a headful of kinks, coils and curls can be intimidating — especially for the styling challenged. Below are tutorials for five basic techniques that are the foundation of a majority of natural hair styles.

A note; Evaluate your hair to determine which of these techniques your hair needs. Some textures thrive on twist styles, others thrive on cornrows, etc. Also, some naturals have a strand makeup that allows their hair to thrive with very low-skill styles, like wash and go’s and buns.

How to Two-Strand Twist

How to Braid/Plait

How to Bantu Knot

How to Flat Twist

How to Cornrow

Ladies, which of these skills do you already know, and which would you like to master?

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MsNaturalDee
MsNaturalDee
8 years ago

I can do all five but need to master the bantu knots and flat twist

Afrochelle
Afrochelle
8 years ago

I need to get better at flat twists. And I can’t even BEGIN to cornrow yet… 🙁

Annie L.
Annie L.
8 years ago

I can do all 5 — surprisingly flat twists took forever to learn now they’re my go-to — but outside of a side plait, they’re for indoors ONLY! I’m a lazy sod who can’t part worth a damn and won’t commit the time and effort to perfect these styles enough for judgy humans to see. So until I do they’re styling techniques only. It’s a shame too because there are so many beautiful plait, twist, cornrow and knot styles out there that I could be rocking.

aleisha
aleisha
8 years ago

I’ve completely given up on cornrows lol

hyspin
hyspin
8 years ago
Reply to  aleisha

lol, I am starting to get to that point.

I think I should probable practice on someone else to see how it supposed to look while I am physically doing it. I am a visual learner so it easier for me to comprehend new things if I can visually see the process while it is happening.

Neesha.Chérie
Neesha.Chérie
8 years ago

I can do all five… miserably! Except, maybe two strand twist, my skill on that is fair, at best. That’s why my go-tos are always wash and gos and fold over buns now that my hair is long enough. I just need to work on my styling skills in general. Hopefully, these videos will help improve my technique.

So, did anyone else’s eyes instantly gravitate to Kimmaytube’s bantu knot out? It is fierce!! And, I am in need of a graduation style…*wheels turning*. Lol.

Tami
8 years ago

I can do simple twists and braids easily, especially twists. Flat twisting is reserved for a twistout only since one side of my head is always tighter than the other. I won’t move on to cornrows until I get the flat twisting down.

Jade
8 years ago

I can’t flat twist or cornrow. 🙁

df
df
8 years ago

does anyone with really COILY (not curly) hair like pen spring curls have serious problems with twist outs/braid outs? Everytime I try a twist out especially I have no wave or enhanced texture in my hair, it’s just a mixture of my coils and frizz. I’ve never even come CLOSE to getting the wavy texture you’d expect with a twist out. Please help.

AfroKisses
AfroKisses
8 years ago
Reply to  df

I got the really defined twistout once…and sadly I don’t know exactly what I did to make it that way. So this was just more of a it’s possible but I’m not quite sure how comment. I will say the one time I got definition I did medium sized twists I definitely think the smaller size helped vs the big I’m in a hurry twists. I also believe I did it on dry hair that was prob slightly stretched already and I think I used burnt sugar pomade(but that doesn’t usually give me definition although I still like it for… Read more »

Tatiana
8 years ago
Reply to  AfroKisses

i do my twistouts/braidouts on soaking wet hair, usually just using shea butter and a leave in conditioner (cantu), and eco styler gel if i REALLY want it defined. I think the water is what helps!

Tatiana
8 years ago
Reply to  Tatiana

OH–the other biggie: when my ends need trimming, NOTHING looks right/curls right until I cut them.

Tatiana
8 years ago
Reply to  Tatiana

funny how similar hair reacts sooo differently to different things.

Natural-Again
Natural-Again
8 years ago
Reply to  AfroKisses

The takedown is the trick. When you are unraveling the twist or braid out, put a little oil on your hands and separate from the bottom up being careful not to undo the pattern you’ve created.

If you just pull it a loose, you create frizz. BTW I’m a 4b/c natural.

Thick Nigerian Hair
Thick Nigerian Hair
8 years ago
Reply to  AfroKisses

Hey, I have 4b/c hair. This is what generally works for me: 1. Apply a leave-in conditioner to damp hair 2. While damp, apply a heavy cream (CD HHB) and oil (Coconut Oil or CD Mimosa) 3. Twist hair and leave twists in for at least a day or two. 4. At night, I either twists in large sections (about 6–8) or wear a satin bonnet. The crown of my head has a weird straight/wavy/curly/kinky texture (yeah crazy) so this loses definition and stretches when the wind blows. I tend to retwist that area every night or every other night. As always, you can… Read more »

Jo Somebody
Jo Somebody
8 years ago

It’s not that I don’t know how! It’s just that my hands won’t do what I tell them to! I mainly need practice, not videos, but these will be good to watch anyway.

LadyV69
LadyV69
8 years ago

I can do everything but cornrow. I’ve been avoiding the style, because I used to have braiders give me cornrows at a salon, but they would put them in too tight and as a result, my edges got taken out. Not sure if I want to learn how to do it in the near future, given my experience with other people doing it.

Jai
Jai
8 years ago

If I could cornrow, you couldn’t tell me nothing lol

anastasia
anastasia
8 years ago
Reply to  Jai

LOL!!! Me too!

shiningsolace
8 years ago

I can two-strand twist, braid, bantu knot, and flat twist my hair, but I can’t cornrow my hair. 🙁 I will just have to practice a lot. It’s weird because I caught on to flat twists quickly.

Joan B. in S.C.
Joan B. in S.C.
8 years ago

How does one find a person to practice on? I have a braider’s license, which doesn’t mean you know how to braid, but I would think it would make family members at least trust me enough to try braids or cornrows on their hair.

Annie L.
Annie L.
8 years ago

Lol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

maralondon
maralondon
8 years ago

Just curious, how do you get a braiders license without knowing how to braid? i’m pretty sure there’s no such License in Britain, i’ve never heard of it. You can always advertise for models to work on, i’m sure there are people who wouldn’t mind a free hairstyle.

Joan B. in S.C.
Joan B. in S.C.
8 years ago
Reply to  maralondon

In South Carolina, the class required for a braider’s license focuses on sanitation along with the rules and regs of what you can and can not do. Not every state in the US has braider’s license. Some require regular hours like a barber or cosmetologist. Others require only a class.

Because class hours are not required to keep up the license, I’m having a hard time finding someone to teach different methods. It may turn out I can do other people’s hair very well, but I just haven’t been given the chance to try!

Dabney
Dabney
7 years ago

I use to practice on a bzrbie doll head. They still sell them on Amazon!

Dabney
Dabney
7 years ago
Reply to  Dabney

I use to practice barbie doll head. They still sell them on Amazon!

sher
sher
8 years ago

doing cornrows on myself at 13 years old finally learned flat twist at 20

nelle
nelle
8 years ago

ive been doing bantu knots on other people since i was 6yrs old but we called it corkscrews, so i’m the bantu knot master! cornrows.…yeah i learned the same time, but i never got good at it.

latisha
latisha
8 years ago

I can do all 5. However I wish I could put braids in. Would be another gr8 way to give my hair a rest but I dont trust other people to do it properly. Most times its too tight and I get a ton of breakage.

CurlyQ53
CurlyQ53
8 years ago

Braids and twists I can do.… but I was killing my hair trying to learn to flat twist. And don’t even get me started on the cornrows disasters, LOL! I found a vid on flat twists on YouTube by Fusionofcultures that offered two methods of flat twisting. I FINALLY GOT IT! You gotta try that tutorial! And then I started feeling fancy and used the bantu knot tutorial above along with the flat twists. Ain’t no telling what I’ll look like in the morning, but I CAN FINALLY DO IT!!!!

maralondon
maralondon
8 years ago

I can do twists and and single plaits, been doing these on my hair for over 3 decades. As for corn rows i’m rubbish but would like to master the techniques. I’m determined for my daughter to learn though, she’s already twisting her own hair at 5. The videos will come in handy.

raerebreed
raerebreed
8 years ago

I’m 4 months in transition and have healthy, yet mixed hair that is cut in a style as it grows out. I haven’t done the big chop just yet, so I am super careful with manipulating my hair when it comes to styling. I’m not sure what option is best, but I can’t keep covering my hair or doing a slick back (which I love) forever. Anyone in the same situation? What would be a good first step? Twisting/flat twist or straw set???? help help help!

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