While protective hairstyles can be worn year round, there’s nothing like sporting some summer braids as the weather heats up. From box braids to boho locs, there are plenty of staples we turn to time and time again. However, TikTokers are rediscovering another style that’s low-maintenance and doesn’t require a trip to your local braider. ‘Mini Twists’ are a protective style that involves twisting your natural hair using an easy four-step technique. To learn more about these trendy braids, we asked three natural hair experts for tips on how we can recreate them right at home.
Mini Twists Are the Hottest Protective Style You Need to Try This Summer
Just four simple steps
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Meet the Experts:
- Janel Sealy Smith is a licensed cosmetologist, resident hair expert for KISS Colors & Care and owner of Cocoa Mane Salon in New York. She has over 30 years of experience in the industry, working with publications such as Essence and ESPN, as well as brands like Brooks Brothers. Her clients include Dawn Richards, Cheri Denis and Vivian Green.
- Quia Querisma is a texture specialist, hair colorist and Swivel Beauty stylist based in Dallas, Texas. She has over 5 years of experience, specializing in coloring, styling and cutting curly hair.
- Kimberlee J. Blakley is a celebrity hairstylist, licensed trichologist and senior director of product development at MAV Beauty Brands. She has over 15 years of experience working with brands such as L’Oréal, Moroccanoil and DevaCurl.
What Are Mini Twists?
“Mini twists are individual, two-strand twists created in small box sections in the hair. Think of it as a play on box braids, but using only your natural hair,” explains Querisma. This protective style is by no means new to the natural hair community but it’s found a new fanbase on Tiktok. “Mini twists were those cute shoulder-length twists we used to rock back in the day. Now, people are doing it with less hair and more movement,” adds Smith.
Typically, this braiding technique is used as a temporary step for curly and coily gals after washing their hair. Usually left in for a few hours or overnight, the twists are then unraveled to create a more uniform pattern. Nowadays, naturalistas are leaving the twists in for a more permanent style that can last for a few weeks without any manipulation.
What Are the Benefits of Wearing Mini Twists?
Like other braid styles, mini twists have a few benefits that make them a great option to wear during any season.
- They’re easy to maintain. “Mini twists are popular in the summer because they’re a low-manipulation, protective style that keep the hair neat and they require minimal maintenance. The look works for adults and children, which makes them a worry-free option on vacation. Plus, mini twists can stand up to the humidity,” explains Querisma.
- They can help you retain length and moisture in your hair. “Mini twists are a traditional twisting technique that’s used to elongate, stretch and define textured hair,” adds Blakley. While you’ll spend less time working on your hair in the morning (which reduces breakage and tangles), you’ll be regularly moisturizing your braids and scalp instead to prevent dryness, strengthen strands and improve elasticity.
- They can promote healthy hair growth. While this style isn’t the solution to growing thicker, more luscious locks, mini twists can help reduce breakage and tension around the hairline.
- They don’t put tension on your natural hair. As mentioned, this technique doesn’t require adding pressure at the roots (like cornrows or box braids). Instead, you’ll find that twisting your strands doesn’t cause any strain or discomfort.
- They are quick to put in and remove. Most of the time, mini twists use your natural hair instead of relying on extensions. Depending on their length and thickness, the style is generally super quick to whip up at home and just as easy to remove since you don’t have to unravel tons of hair.
How to Do Mini Twists At Home
First and foremost, you want to prep your hair.“Proper hair preparation is always key to achieving the best results. Thorough cleansing and conditioning are the foundation of every great hair style and to having healthy hair,” says Blakley.Start by washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner in the shower. Once your hair is clean, apply a leave-in conditioner and/or styling cream, which helps detangle strands, seal in moisture and define your hair for twisting. Now, you can move on to creating your mini twists.
What You'll Need:
- A parting/tail comb
- A leave-in conditioner
- Hair clips
- Styling gel or cream
- A blow dryer
A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Mini Twists:
- Use the parting comb to separate hair. Based on your hair’s thickness and length, part your hair into four to six large sections. As Blakley describes, “use the tail comb to draw a line starting at your forehead and work it straight back towards the nape of your neck. Take the tail comb again to draw a line from the left ear to the right ear, which will create four sections.” Then, secure each section with a hair clip to keep everything separated.
- Start with one of the back sections. Querisma recommends creating a horizontal one-inch part (or larger) and then another vertical parting to create a one-inch square box. This technique will be repeated throughout all the sections. Apply styling gel or cream to each of the smaller sections to add more definition to your twists.
- Split the small section in two and begin twisting. Start wrapping one section around the other in a clockwise direction until you reach the ends. For more length and fullness, Smith says you can add hair extensions.
- Twirl the ends of each small section around your finger to secure them. Finally, repeat steps 2-5 until your entire head is complete. Querisma suggests sitting under a hooded dryer or blow drying your new braids until they’re fully dry and set. Oh, and don’t forget to lay down your edges, too.
How to Maintain Mini Twists
With proper care, you can wear your mini twists for up to a month. The stylists we spoke to recommend that you wash your braids at least once a week by adding shampoo and water into a spray bottle before spritzing the solution onto the scalp. Blakley also recommends using a scalp toner that helps remove any product buildup, dirt and debris that could be blocking the hair follicles. Massage the area, rinse and continue with a conditioner. Once you finish washing your hair, dry it off with a microfiber towel (or a soft T-shirt) to remove any excess water.
You should also moisturize your scalp and hair. “Sebum is oil that is naturally produced by the body to moisturize the scalp and hair. Due to the intricate zigs and zags of textured hair, sebum has a hard time reaching the shaft and ends, so it’s important to restore moisture to them regularly,” explains Blakley. To do this, apply a hair mist, styling spray or hair oil to your mini twists two to three times a week. Look for products with hydrating ingredients like jojoba oil, argan oil and aloe, which can strengthen strands, seal in moisture and keep your twists looking fresh. One more thing: Don’t forget to wrap your hair up in a bonnet or silk scarf at night.
How to Style Mini Twists
When it comes to styling your mini twists, all the experts we interviewed agree that you’ve got plenty of options. You can wear ‘em down, wear them in a high pony, half-up half-down style or in space buns. There’s also the option to add accessories like beads, charms and cuff rings to them. As TikTok creator @prettypisces' video above shows, the possibilities are endless.