Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
You have a lot of methods at your fingertips to achieve a braided or twisted hairstyle, but no matter which you choose, the point of adding them to your look is still roughly the same: texture makes for a more-interesting hairdo. Plus, braids and twists can be worn on different occasions, from casual to formal, depending on the particular style you choose.
The biggest difference between braids and twists is how they're made. A braid uses three sections of hair, while a twist only uses two. Braids have different variations based on the same concept of overlapping one section over the other. Twists are made by wrapping one section of hair around the other, sort of like wrapping ribbon around a pole. Once you know how to do both, they're equally simple to pull off in their basic form. Though, different types of braids are more challenging than others.
While the twist is done essentially one way -- wrapping one section of hair around another -- and only changes in thickness and size, you have more options with braids. There are French braids, fishtail braids and basic braids. Each type of braid can be done in Caucasian and ethnic hair, so any girl can give them a try. The French braid involves starting with three sections and pulling over additional sections into the braid as you overlap. The fishtail braid is a variation of the French braid, but the pulled-in sections are thinner and are wrapped around each outside section to form the third section in the middle. A basic braid is just taking turns overlapping three sections of hair.
Formal Versus Casual
Braids and twists can be put into formal and causal looks. How do you know the difference? If you're going for a formal 'do, make sure that the hair on your scalp is smoothed down, that braids and twists are evenly placed and that you don't have any flyaways or misplaced pieces of hair. In other words, make them look nice and uniform. If you want a casual style, go ahead and sport something a little messy. Let pieces fall where they may and don't stress about a little bit of frizz or static -- really. It adds personality and a cool vibe to the style.
For a formal braided updo, put your hair in a high ponytail and braid it. Then coil it around the base of the ponytail for a braided bun. For something more casual, put your hair in pigtails and braid them. Then wrap each pigtail up over the top of your head and secure it with bobby pins. For a casual, twisted look, put your hair into a side part, grab the front section of hair and start twisting it toward the back of your head. Pull in pieces of hair as you twist; it doesn't have to be perfect. When the twist gets down to your neck, wrap the rest of your hair in a low bun. Feel free to add a ribbon in a twist or braid for a little extra sparkle or color in your 'do.