my first attempt | marley/havana twists | the process

by Kristal C
marley twists

The Motivation for Installing My Marley Twists:

School is right around the corner for all three of us. Schedules are about to become super hectic. I have a full plate ahead of me. Therefore, I finally caved. I installed my first set of marley twists. And I love how my twists came out albeit with many imperfections.

Last year was the year of the yarn wraps. As gruesome as it was to install yarn wraps (20+ hours the first time), I enjoyed the styling break thoroughly. With this in mind, I knew the marley twists could not be any worse since I am twisting much bigger sections.

And was I correct! I installed this set in 9 hours. I posted several pictures on Instagram but wanted to share in more details the process of my first attempt install here on the blog.

The Initial Research:

Just like I did with the yarn wraps, I watched several YouTube tutorials to get a better idea of the process. From there, I learned about:
  • the invisible root method versus the “braid at the root and then twist” method
  • lightly combing out the marley hair and tapering the ends to eliminate the blunt/bulky look at the ends
  • the rope twist method {roll the two individual strands in the same direction and then twist them in the opposite direction}
  • dipping the ends in hot boiling water, curling them, and burning them (I did none of these)
  • adding gel to help the natural hair to blend into the marley hair and to help smooth down the marley hair
  • clipping away strays near the bottom of the twists (I did not do)

The Hair Prep:

After watching the videos, I went straight into prepping my hair. I intend to keep these in for a month with a perimeter redo around the halfway mark. Therefore, I wanted my hair to be super clean, strengthened, and conditioned before getting started. I did the following:

  • Shampooed: SheaMoisture JBCO Shampoo (1 oz diluted in 7 oz of water in applicator bottle)
  • Protein Treated: Aphogee 2 Minute Reconstructor
  • Deep Conditioned: SheaMoisture Superfruit Complex 10 in 1 Masque (used HotHead heat cap for 30 minutes)
  • Moisturized: Coconut Oil and SheaMoisture JBCO Leave-in
  • Styled: Used 5 packs of Femi Collection hair (@ $5,99/pack in 1B) + Aloe Vera gel + water as needed to lightly dampen sections
Marley Twists

The Femi Collection hair matched my own hair almost exactly in color and curl pattern. I initially was going to use the Janet Noir Marley Collection, but the store only had one more pack of 1B. Upon comparing textures, I found that the Femi Collection hair has a softer (only slightly) feel than the Janet brand. Here’s a close up of the hair:

Marley Twists

The Process:

Before I washed my hair, I was wearing a chunky twist updo and twist out.

Natural hair woman and mom

After cleansing, conditioning, and moisturizing my hair, I was set to start. I wanted rather larger parts/twists to cut down on styling time. Initially, I was using 3 clusters of marley hair at the back of my head, but halfway through, I transitioned to 2 clusters. They were getting too big for my liking, and I did not want to have to make another trip to the beauty store for more hair.

As I did more and more twists, I got a better grip of the rope twisting method. Therefore, the twists on the top half are tighter than the bottom half of my head. At the end of the day, I have all kinds of sizes going on and plan to embrace each and every one of them. I will say I gained a better handle on the invisible root method, and prefer the two strand twist size over the three strand.

Finally done!

Marley Twists

The Maintenance:

The plan is to keep it simple. I added aloe vera juice and distilled water to some SM Hold and Shine spray to stretch out the quarter bit that was left in the bottle. I will be moisturizing my hair with this nightly:

Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus

If I decide I need a cleaning at the half way mark (two weeks), I will cleanse my scalp only with diluted shampoo via an applicator bottle. 

The Styling of my Marley Twists (the fun part):

Where this would be the most fun part of the process for many, I simply prefer to wear a high bun on the top of my head. Nothing more, nothing less. This style is mainly for practical purposes over styling. These twists are sooooo long so I doubt I would wear them down for too long. Since there is so much hair, it took a little work to get all of it into a high bun. Nevertheless, it is been done.

Marley Twists in a Bun
Protective Styling with Twists

My Final Thoughts about My Marley Twists:

I love this style! I have always been a big fan of marley twists so this style is right up my alley. The invisible root method really gives the illusion of the twists coming straight from the scalp. Although it took many tries to get comfortable with the technique especially in the back, I love the results!

Unlike the yarn wraps, re-doing the edges of my head should not be time consuming. I am thinking between 45 mins -1 hour tops. I must be mindful to moisturize regularly since my hair is much more exposed in the marley twists compared to yarn wraps (where my hair was completely protected from the outside elements).

If I were to do these differently, I would make bigger sections and make the twists shorter than waist length. Installing them at a shorter length will allow me to enjoy wearing the style down more. Oh, and maybe add a highlight or two (or more) in the mix. 🙂 This style gets an A+ simply on styling time alone. I am sure next time, I can repeat it in under 6 hours.

I will post any style updates on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. If you have any questions or would like to share your experience with marley/havana twists, leave a comment below.

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