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Get the Look: Island Twist Braids for Effortless Summer Style

Get the Look: Island Twist Braids for Effortless Summer Style featured image
Delmaine Donson / Getty Images

Craving a hair switch-up but not sure which look to try next? Island twist braids are one trending protective style that deserves your attention. With warmer days on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to opt for a low-maintenance look that will leave even more time for galavanting through the spring and summer months. Protective styles such as box braids, faux locs and Senegalese twists are loved for reasons beyond aesthetics. Not only do they promote hair growth by reducing the risk of breakage and minimizing manipulation, but they also shield against environmental damage by providing a layer of protection that helps maintain overall hair health. Ahead, we’ll dive into everything you need to know before heading to the salon.

What are island twist braids?

Island twists, a variation of traditional or Senegalese twists, are created using the two-strand twisting method, which involves twisting two sections of hair around each other to form a rope-like pattern. What sets them apart from traditional twists is that they are typically knotless at the root, featuring a 1 to 1.5-inch box braid that allows them to be more flexible and lie closer to the scalp. Additionally, they include curly strands crocheted throughout as well as curly ends—giving them that signature lived-in bohemian appeal.

How do you style island twist braids?

One of the most appealing aspects of protective styles is their low-maintenance nature, but they still offer ample versatility to experiment with different looks. Let your twists hang free for a relaxed and effortless look, style them into a low bun for relaxed sophistication, gather them into a twisted updo, or try a half-up-half-down style for the best of both worlds. Try out different accessories, such as scarves or hair cuffs, for added visual interest.

How do you maintain island twist braids?

Maintenance is key to keeping your twists looking fresh while ensuring the health of your natural hair underneath. Start by regularly moisturizing your scalp and braids to prevent dryness and itchiness. Try a lightweight oil like the Pattern Jojoba Hair & Scalp Oil Blend ($28) to hydrate your scalp and massage it gently to stimulate blood flow.

Before bed, cover your braids with a silk scarf or a bonnet to reduce friction and preserve your style while you sleep. We also love the 100% Mulberry Silk Pillowcase from Quince ($40). Avoid excessive manipulation or pulling, as this can lead to breakage to your natural hair. Be mindful of the products you use on your braids and opt for those specifically formulated for braided hairstyles to maintain their integrity and prolong their lifespan.

With proper care and maintenance, island twists can stay looking fabulous for four to six weeks, appearing more lived in over time.

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What should you ask for at the salon?

Ready to try island twist braids for yourself? Here’s what you’ll want to communicate to your stylist when you get to the salon. Ask for knotless roots with a 1 to 1.5-inch box braid to ensure a movable, natural-looking base that lies close to the scalp. Inquire about incorporating curly strands throughout the twists and curly ends to achieve that signature bohemian vibe. Discuss any specific preferences you have regarding the length, color, thickness, and overall look of your braids to ensure you align on a vision. Consider adding in adornments like beads or metallic cuffs for extra flair. And voila, you’re on your way to enjoying gorgeous twists tailored to your unique style—a fail-free option for ultimate summer beauty vibes with minimal effort.

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