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How to Do Marley Twists at Home in 7 Easy Steps

Try this low-maintenance option as your next protective style.
July 25, 2022

Protective hairstyles are in high demand for those with natural hair. They shield your mane from the elements and provide versatile flair that can upgrade any look. You may be familiar with knotless box braids or even Fulani braids, but there is one style that's been becoming increasingly more popular — Marley twists.

Marley twist hair allows you to flaunt a gorgeous style throughout your mane while keeping your natural strands tucked away. Not to mention, the #marleytwists has more than 300K beauty lovers sharing their unique takes on the style. So, it's definitely an on-trend look you should explore. If you're ready to spice up your mane, you've come to the right place. Read on as we share everything you need to know about Marley twists.

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What Are Marley Twists? 

Marley twists are two-strand twists created using Marley braiding hair. These extensions have a textured appearance and provide your mane with a soft finish. Marley twists are also a fabulous way to play with length. You can rock short Marley twists or long Marley twists to suit your fancy. In other words, the possibilities are vast and definitely fashionable.

What Is the Difference Between Havana Twists and Marley Twists?

If you're hip to the protective style game, you may have noticed that some people believe that Havana twists and Marley twists are one and the same. We're here to bust that myth — they have subtle differences. Havana twists have two-strands created with Havana braiding hair, which flaunts a coarse and kinky texture. They’re larger in size and tend to sport a fuller and thicker look. Since Havana twists tend to be less dense than other styles, they have a lightweight feel.

On the other hand, Marley twists are created with synthetic Marley braiding hair that sports a thin, coarse texture. Unlike the Havana style, these twists are thinner in size and can feel heavy on your head. Marley twist hair is also typically more affordable than the extensions used to create Havana twists.

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How Long Do Marley Twists Last?

Marley twists are meant to go the distance. Like many protective styles, these twists last between six to eight weeks with proper care. You'll also want to make sure that you take them out at the appropriate time to keep your natural strands in good condition. After all, these styles are designed to leave you with healthy-looking hair.

How to Do Marley Twists

One thing we love most about Marley twists is that you can DIY the look. Therefore, you can save some money and go at your own pace — something you can’t do at the salon. Follow our step-by-step tutorial below to bring your new look to life.

1. Divide Your Hair

Starting with freshly washed and conditioned hair, part your mane down the middle and clip one side out of the way. Next, split the other side into bottom- and top-half sections and clip one of them away. If you have small Marley twists in mind, create an inch-wide part. For jumbo Marley twists, part your hair into two- to three-inch sections.

2. Apply Hair Gel

Next, you'll need to apply a tiny amount of hair gel, such as the L’Oréal Paris Studio Line Clean Gel. This step will ensure that you can properly grip all your strands and keep flyaways at bay.

3. Build Your Marley Twists

Wrap a one-inch piece of Marley twist hair (two to three inches for bigger twists) around your hair at the scalp. Hold it firmly in your hands. Split your natural strands into two equally-sized parts. You should now have two thick strands of braiding hair to match the sections of your natural hair. Combine the extensions with your hair and twist one side in a downward motion three to four times, then repeat on the other side. Next, tightly wrap the twists you created around each other. Continue twisting your hair until you reach the ends.

4. Repeat the Twisting Process

Following the previous steps, part and twist your hair until you're left with a head full of Marley twists. Be sure to take your time for the best results. 

5. Cut Off Stringy Ends

You're almost at the finish line. Once your Marley twists are complete, you'll want to carefully snip off the extra ends for a clean look.

6. Lay Your Edges

Grab a clean toothbrush or edge brush to lay your edges. Place a small amount of hair gel or pomade on your brush and curl your baby hairs toward your hairline. You can opt for a classic curved look or get creative with the shapes.

7. Secure Your Twists With Holding Spray

Top it all off with a few spritzes of holding spray. Mist the L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold, Light Hairspray Unscented over your twists to help your hair bond to the synthetic hair and prevent everything from unraveling.

How Do You Wash Marley Twists?

Learning how to keep your Marley twists clean is easier than you may think. Since rubbing and massaging your hair can disturb the style, you'll need to use a different approach when washing your strands. Here’s how to cleanse your hair the right way.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

One of the easiest ways to remove buildup and impurities from your Marley twists is with an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse. ACV cleansers work wonders to refresh your strands without ruining the twists. Apply the rinse to your hair and leave it in for 10 minutes. Rinse out with lukewarm water. If you prefer using shampoo when washing, try the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls No Build-Up Curls Micellar Shampoo to gently cleanse the scalp.

2. Leave-In Conditioner

Now that you're done with cleansing, it's time to hydrate your mane. Grab a leave-in conditioner, like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Non-Stop Dreamy Curls Leave-in Conditioner, which moisturizes and provides your strands with luminous shine. Gently massage the leave-in onto your scalp and let your hair air dry.

3 Other Tips for Maintaining Marley Twists

Washing your Marley twists are only the beginning of this specific hair care journey. Consider these three tips below to maintain your style.

1. Protect Your Hair at Night

Just because you're working with a protective style doesn't mean you shouldn’t protect your strands as you normally would. Always make sure to sleep on a silk pillowcase or cover your Marley twists with a silk or satin bonnet. This will reduce friction as you toss and turn at night, which helps minimize the chance of frizzy hair. It also helps to keep your style moisturized and intact.

2. Oil Your Scalp Regularly

Your strands require consistent moisture to look and feel their best. This is where hair oil can save the day. Make sure to oil your scalp at least once a week to maintain proper hydration levels. We recommend the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate Free Simply Clean Sheer Oil, which contains jojoba, coconut, and sunflower oils to hydrate while controlling frizz.

3. Don’t Keep Your Twists In Too Long

Even if you've done a fantastic job of caring for your twists, the time will come when you have to take them out. It’s a simple fact of protective styles — if you leave the style in for longer than required, you can experience hair matting that can lead to breakage. Play it safe and remove your twists when necessary — no longer than the eight-week mark — to prevent a hair fiasco.

Next: 10 Cool Box Braid Hairstyles for Men

Edited by: Shannon Stubbs, Photo Credit: Ashley Tracey @ashjustine, Design by: Crystal Simone

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