The Difference Between Senegalese, Havana, and Kinky (Marley) Twists

posted on: May 29, 2013

There are a variety of ways you can use extensions to twist your hair. The most common are kinky twists, Senegalese twists and havana twists. This post will explain the difference between the three.

Kinky Twists

Kinky twists, also known as marley twists, are simplest of the the three. It is usually done with marley hair which comes in pre-separated section. I recommend Equal and Janet Collection marley hair because I’ve used both these brands before. To install kinky twists:

  1. Take one piece of marley hair and bend it about half-way through the section.
  2. Separate the strands, and make sure the ends of the hair taper off. This makes the end of the twist appear natural.
  3. Place that bend around the section of hair that you want to attach the hair to. At this point you should have three pieces of hair.
  4. Start braiding for about an inch.
  5. Twist all the way down to the end. Use gel and twist tightly so the twist does not unravel.
  6. Take a scissors or razor and shave off excess hair.
  7. Dip twist in boiling water for neat effect.

Havana Twists

Havana Twists are also done with marley hair, but differ from kinky twists in that the place where the marley hair is attached to the hair is undetectable. Though you can do kinky twists as big as you want, havana twists tend to be bigger than kinky twists. To install havana twists:

  1. Take the piece of marley hair and bend it about half-way through the section.
  2. Separate the strands, and make sure the ends of the hair taper off. Again, this makes the end of the twist appear natural.
  3. Section off hair that you want to attach marley hair to.
  4. Divide that section into two sections.
  5. Place the “bend” of the marley hair in between the two sections.
  6. Take the right section of marley hair, along with your natural hair which should be right next to it, and twist it clockwise. Continue twisting for about three inches.
  7. Repeat previous step on the left, but twist it counter-clockwise.
  8. Take two sections of hair and twist, continuing to twist the right and left sections of hair clockwise and anti-clockwise, respectively. Even though this method of twisting decreases unravelling, you may want to use gel as you twist.
  9. Take a scissors or razor and shave off excess hair.
  10. Dip twist in boiling water for neat effect.

Senegalese Twists

Senegalese twists, also known as rope twists, are done using the same method as havana twists, except usually Kanekelon jumbo braiding hair┬áis used. It’s straighter than marley hair and most times your’e able to see where the synthetic hair is attached. You can use marley hair, but depending on how big you do them, they would essentially be the same thing as havana twists.

  • T'onna

    Thanks for explaining the difference! I’ve been wearing my hair in kinky twists for a while, and I want to try something new. I think i’m going to give the Havana twists a try. :-)

    • brittanybass@live.com

      Thanks for reading. I think havana twists are very beautiful. I want to put some in before the year ends!

  • Takara Watson

    Excuse Me How Do You Make The Twists Stay Tight?

    • brittanybass@live.com

      Can you be more specific please? The method used to do Senegalese twists keep them tight.

  • Jasmine

    Hi, I know this post is old, but I am having major problems. I got Senegalese twists done on Saturday at a salon and they started unraveling a couple hours after I left. She used the pulling method AND dipped them in boiling water, but I guess it did not help. I went back and the lady was really nice and offered to fix them, but here I am two days later with the same problem. I got them done using Vivica Fox 100% Kenekalon hair. However, I am thinking of getting them re-twisted using Marley hair. With the kenekalon hair I have now, I am scared to manipulate them too much, at the risk of them falling out again. Being that I spent $180, I want them to absolutely last as long as possible. The stylist offered to do them again using different hair if I continued to have the problem. I want to be able to keep my twists for a long time, not be afraid to touch them, style multiple ways, maybe even swim, and even wash my hair (gently) and I know that will be impossible with this kenekalon. Do you think I can do everything I want IF I get them re-twisted using marley hair???? Please help :(

    • Luci

      I’m hoping that i’m not to late, Sure you can get your rope twist with the Marley braids. they will also last a very long time. you can swim in them and wash them as well. Hoping that i assisted you some-what! :)

  • Sisi Nike

    I happen to stumble upon this page via google and noticed that my picture is on this blog. I’m the last girl on the right with the red lips. : )

  • Ty

    hi, Im really tired of how long it takes for me to loose out the twists so I was wondering if I used jumbo havannah twists would that mean that I can use larger sections of my hair for each twists or would I still have to use small sections of my hair?

  • Uche

    Hey,
    I’ve been seeing pictures of the marley twists and I really really want to try it.
    My hair is relaxed (3 months ago so will the Marley twist still look good with it? And how long will it last ?

    • Kyss

      Hey! Yes the marley twists will still look good with it. In my opinion, marley twists last longer with relaxed hair because it does not get as frizzy as natural hair does. They can last for up to three months, but I don’t advise you to keep them in longer than two months.

  • Jojo

    Thanks for the info. I thought Havana twists were done with havana hair by FingerComber and the twisting from the root was the main differences.

    • Kyss

      I think there is a special type of hair called havana hair (that’s not the same as marley hair), but ultimately it’s the same thing as Senegalese twists, but just bigger.

  • Leah

    I feel like the image of the kinky twist is actually Senegalese twist, & I feel the image of the senegalese twist is actually kinky twist. I may be wrong but I always thought kinky twist were thinner & had the curly scattered look like the 3rd picture. Senegalese twist are usually straight like the second picture. Correct me if I’m wrong

    • Kyss

      Hello Leah. The middle picture is me and I did them myself. I used the basic kinky twist/marley twist method without doing any fancy twisting. I think the image on the right does show Senegalese twists because I don’t know if those small twists would have stayed if they weren’t twisted in that fashion.

  • Reign Curls

    Just installed my first set of havana twists and I loved them. Ive had havana twists before.. but havana/marley just look so natural. Great Post!

  • Lisa

    Hi! Great post! I am interested in putting in twists but I have no idea which ones to choose. My hair is natural and I generally do twist outs, but I recently had a baby and I need something convenient for a little while. I like the look of small twists but I really don’t want my hair to break off in the front. On the flip side I don’t want anything too heavy…which would you suggest? I’m thinking Marley twists…

    • Kyss

      Hey Lisa! Congratulations on the birth of your baby! I agree with your thoughts about marley twist. I’m not a fan of the way Senegalese and Havana twists are installed (with the who twist at the root thing) because if you’re not careful, they may do a number on your edges. Medium marley twists might be a good fit for you. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  • yme

    Hello, wondering if I get the senegalese can I swim under water? Also, what type hair makes the senegalese curly on the ends like the third picture?

  • yme

    I will be on vacation and I know I will want to swim…it’s vacation…but I still want to rock it at night…what should I do?

  • Sosha

    Hi thanks for explaining the difference! I am 8 months into the natural process and thinking about getting Senegalese or Kinky twists can you suggest which is less stressful on your hair.

  • andrizzle

    Hi! I really want to do the marley twists, but I am unable to find the color that I want in the Marley Braid hair. Since the kanekalon jumbo braiding hair comes in a larger variety of the colors tht I want, I was wondering if I can use the jumbo braiding hair for marley twists, and still somehow get the marley look…?

    • Brittany Basden

      Hello! If you use the kanekalon jumbo braiding hair, it won’t stay twisted. The only way that hair will stay twisted is to do Senegalese twists.

  • syreen

    Hi! I can’t find marley hair in the color I want however I saw some nubian braiding hair in the color I like. do you think I would get the same Marley hair results with nubian hair? they are similar in texture to me.

  • Shorna

    Hi, how are you? I am about to put ropetwist in, just wanted to know what hair is the best to use? I want it medium but not heavy. What hair would you recommend please?

  • Kiara

    Hey so Im wanting to try doing braids for the hoildays and Im torn between box braids, Senegalese, or Marley . I have relaxed hair and I dont want alot od breakage when I take them out….any advice?

    • Brittany Basden

      Hey Kiara,

      I recommend box braids or marley twists. Box braids can be heavy, and Senegalese twists can pull out your edges, so I would go with the marley twists.

      Brittany