Plait and twist hair - Pearson Schools and FE Colleges



Plait and twist hair - Pearson Schools and FE Colleges
Unit GH13
Plait and twist hair
What you will learn:
How to maintain effective and safe methods
of working when plaiting and twisting hair
Plaiting and twisting hair techniques
How to provide aftercare advice
NVQ/SVQ Level 2 Hairdressing
Practical skills – Hairdressing
Is this statement fact or fiction?
Cornrow plaiting originated
in India.
To check your answer see page
Plaiting and twisting hair is an art and can take a long time to perfect. You will need
a huge amount of practice of creating the five different looks necessary to gain this
unit of your Level 2 qualification. This unit consists of using plaiting and twisting
techniques to achieve a variety of different looks multiple cornrows, French plait,
fishtail plait, two strand twists and flat twists. You will need to have a high level of
manual dexterity to become competent at these techniques as many require the use
of very small sections of hair being worked in a very intricate, methodical sequence.
Unit GH13 Plait and twist hair
At one time plaits were only seen on small children and were personified by the
character Heidi in the 1970’s TV programme. Plaits and twists have become more
fashionable lately due to high profile stars such as Kylie and Fergie (from the Black
Eyed Peas) wearing a combination of plaits and twists within their hairstyles for their
music videos and for major events like red carpet award ceremonies. The trend has
also been widely used on catwalks during the unveiling of the new season’s fashion
ranges and has made its way down to the High Street. The great advantage of plaits
and twists is that they keep the hair away from the face so a plait around the front
hairline is practical as well as providing a funky focal point to the hairstyle.
How to maintain effective and safe
methods of working
Preparing and protecting your client
It is vital to the well-being of your client that you follow your salon’s rules for
preparing and protecting your client during plaiting and twisting services. You must
always consider the effects of the products you are using and their potential for
harming your client. This will help you evaluate any risks and prevent accidents
Task 1
Gown client correctly for
plaiting and twisting
Write down your salon’s requirements for client preparation for plaiting and twisting
hair and keep in your portfolio for evidence.
<ph_000 – tbc – use image from
one of the step by step sequences
to demonstrate good posture
when plaiting or twisting – Note
to typesetter: please include this
comment in the space left for the
photo at 1P to remind us what
image needs selecting from those
Correct posture is essential
whilst plaiting and twisting hair
You must make sure your posture is good whilst plaiting and twisting hair, as
these services require you to bend in awkward positions so that you can get in
the correct position to plait and twist the hair really closely into the scalp. As
hairdressers we stand for long periods of time and poor posture can lead to fatigue
and more permanent risks of bodily injury, especially back and shoulder problems.
Clients should be sat comfortably and squarely in the salon chair with both feet
on the floor or footrest for even posture. If your client has her legs crossed, ask her
politely to uncross them, or her plaits or twists may be unevenly positioned.
It is also very important to protect yourself from the occupational hazard of
the skin complaint dermatitis, which has caused such severe skin problems for
some hairdressers that they have had to change careers. If you always wear
gloves when necessary, this will help prevent dermatitis happening to you.
Effective working methods
As a salon employee or college trainee, you will be expected to use all
products carefully and effectively. Safe and effective working methods will
include the following:
● Minimising the wastage of products – always use the right amount of
product for the individual client’s hair. Never overload the hair with plaiting and
twisting products as the excess will drip off the hair onto the client and the floor,
causing potential health and safety risks. Wastage of product is not cost effective to
the salon and will result in the salon’s profits declining.
● Minimising the risk of cross-infection – during the consultation for plaiting and
twisting hair, you will need to evaluate the condition of your client’s hair and
scalp prior to the service. If you find any risk of cross-infection to yourself, your
colleagues and other clients, you must not continue with the service. These
would be classed as contraindications (see Facts about hair and skin, page 00).
● Making effective use of your working time – you should always make the best use
of your time in the salon. If you were an employer paying an hourly rate, would you
pay someone for wasting time? If you do not make the most effective use of your
working day, you will not be deemed competent for your Level 2 qualification and a
salon owner with a business to run will not want to employ you.
● Ensuring the use of clean resources – would you like to sit in a dirty salon or
have dirty brushes or towels used on you? All clients have the right to know that
the salon tools, equipment and resources used on them are totally clean and
sterilised if necessary. A dirty salon will not attract or keep clientele.
● Minimising the risk of harm or injury to yourself and your clients – you and your
salon have an obligation to your clients and visitors to ensure their safety. Your
salon also has an obligation to you as an employee to ensure your safety whilst
you are at work. All members of the salon team must make sure they know how
to work safely to avoid accidents happening in the salon. This can be done by
following all of the salon’s health and safety rules and regulations.
Task 2
Write down what dermatitis is and explain how to avoid developing it whilst carrying out
plaiting and twisting services.
Contact dermatitis
An inflammation or allergy of
the skin, usually affecting the
hands of hairdressers. It causes
the hands to crack and bleed
due to constantly being wet
and coming into contact with
certain chemicals. Drying hands
thoroughly after shampooing,
using a good barrier cream and
always wearing gloves when
touching chemicals will help
to avoid this. Sometimes called
contact dermatitis.
The presence of a condition that
prevents you from carrying out
the service, for example skin
sensitivities, history of previous
allergic reaction to colour
products, known allergies, skin
disorders, incompatible products
or medical advice, or instructions
not to have this service. In this
unit a contraindication would be
the presence of traction alopecia
(see page 307) or folliculitis.
Unit GH13
Fact or fiction?
Health and safety issues
Plait and twist hair
Inflammation of the hair follicles.
This can occur when the hair is
pulled tight into plaits or twists
which opens the follicle slightly,
allowing bacteria to enter. The
follicle will then become infected
and yellow pustules will form at
the base of the follicle.
NVQ/SVQ Level 2 Hairdressing
Your working area must be kept clean and tidy at all times to prevent hazards and
potential accidents. Always wipe up any spillages of water, plaiting and twisting
products immediately to avoid slippery patches on the floor. Once you have finished
with a piece of equipment, always put it away so you have as much space as
possible to work in. Used towels should be placed immediately in a towel bin, so
that it is obvious to staff and clients that they are ready for washing.
Task 3
What would you consider to be contraindications to plaiting and twisting hair? List five
contraindications and explain why they would prevent you from carrying out a plaiting
or twisting service.
Unit GH13 Plait and twist hair
A worksheet for this task is provided on the CD-ROM for you to complete and add to
your portfolio.
Task 4
How might wastage happen in your salon? How can you help to minimise wastage?
Write down three methods and keep in your portfolio for evidence.
A worksheet for this task is provided on the CD-ROM for you to complete and add to
your portfolio.
Commercial timing
It takes skill and accuracy to plait and twist hair perfectly, and you will need a great
deal of practice before you become competent. As a Level 2 Hairdressing student,
you have Performance Criteria (PCs) and range statements (Ranges) for plaiting and
twisting to meet before your assessor can be sure you are competent. In addition to
these PCs and Ranges, you also need to prove you can plait and twist the hair neatly
and precisely in a commercially acceptable time.
<<TO COME – Commercial timings to be added when the timings are published by
Habia; leave 10 lines space>>
Plaiting and twisting hair techniques
Consultation and communication
A vital part of this service, as always, is a thorough consultation. You need to use
all the good communication skills you have learned to be as confident as possible
when asking your client questions before and during the plaiting and twisting service.
The plaiting or twisting style chosen must be completely clear to both you and your
client so that the finished style has been agreed. You do not want to spend time and
effort completing intricate plaits to be told when finished that the style is not what
the client wanted!
A client’s lifestyle can influence the choice of style when plaiting and twisting hair. If
the client is an active sportsperson, a style which keeps the hair away from the face
and that needs little maintenance (cornrows) may suit the client more than twists
which may come loose/out as they are competing in a sports event. However, some
plaiting or twisting styles which result in the hair being tightly secured to the scalp
may not be suitable to certain employers.
Unit GH13
A clean and tidy working area
helps you work efficiently and
presents a good professional
image to your client.
Working area
Tools for plaiting and twisting
It is important to use the correct tools to achieve good
results. When plaiting and twisting you need to have a
good quality pintail or tail comb which will have fine teeth
for sectioning and a pointed tail which will not scratch
the scalp. Another tool which may help you is a postiche
brush, which is a thin brush specifically for use during long
hair work. It has narrow bristles and a pointed end (similar
to a tail comb) which is good for sectioning. You will also
need a wide-toothed comb and sectioning clips to secure
hair out of the way whilst you are working.
Sectioning and securing
Neat and precise (known as clean) sectioning is an important part of both plaiting
and twisting services to ensure you work neatly and accurately and produce precise
work. Even if your plaits and twists are perfect, if your sectioning is uneven your
finished design will not been deemed competent. You must have a plan of the
finished plaiting and twisting direction and design so that you can section cleanly and
evenly. This is so you have a vision of the pattern and where you want the hair to go.
Plait and twist hair
Top tips
Practical skills – Hairdressing
Tools for plaiting and
twisting – pintail comb, mini
silicone bands and hair grips
When securing your plaits and twists you should never use normal elastic bands, as
these will rip and tear the cuticle scales. You should only use bands for professional
use such as covered elastics or mini silicone bands, which are specially designed to
hold the hair securely but will also be kind to it at the same time. There are lots of
different kinds of either covered elastic bands or silicone bands which are less abrasive
to the cuticle scales when securing hair. Some stylists like to use pipe cleaners as
they twist around and secure the ends of the hair without damaging it. Twists can be
secured with grips, tiny jaw clips or bands depending on the look you are creating.
NVQ/SVQ Level 2 Hairdressing
The amount of hair your client has needs to be taken into account before plaiting or
twisting. Sometimes the hair is too sparse for a particular style and this will need to
be explained to your client. Also, if the client has lots of hair it will not only increase
difficulty in sectioning but will also take longer for you to achieve the finished result.
Hair texture
Unit GH13 Plait and twist hair
The thickness or thinness of your client’s hair will have an effect on the finished
plaiting or twisting style. Some hair textures are deceiving and the hair looks thicker
than it actually is. Fine hair left long and loose can look quite normal in texture, but
if you plait this type of hair it can look really thin and wispy. Thick hair can cause
problems when sectioning, especially if you are doing really small and complex
sectioning, as the thickness of the hair can get in your way. Try to be as dominant
with the hair as you can (hold the hair with good tension and be as firm as you can
without causing your client discomfort) and keep the hair you are not working with
sectioned out of your way.
Head and face shape
When assessing your client’s head and face shape you need to take into account
any prominent features or shapes. For example, if a client has an excessively large
nose you would not want to give them a full head of multiple cornrows as this will
only emphasise the client’s nose. The idea is to try to maximise any good features or
shapes and minimise the focus on any negative features.
Hair elasticity
Assessing the hair’s elasticity is something you have learned about in Unit G7.
(Go back to page 113 to refresh your memory if necessary.) The hair’s elasticity is
important to this unit as any service that puts tension on the hair has the potential
to break or snap delicate hair or hair with little elasticity. For this reason you should
be wary of plaiting hair with tension or hair that you feel is weak, delicate or lacking
in good elasticity. Some children’s hair is delicate as the protein of the hair (keratin)
sometimes doesn’t harden fully until children reach their teenage years.
If your client has any scalp condition that is infectious (for example scabies, head
lice, ringworm, impetigo) you must not proceed with the plaiting or twisting service
as this will be putting you, your colleagues and the rest of the salon’s clients at risk
of cross-infection. If your client has a condition that is not infectious but that can be
unsightly, for example psoriasis in its dry state, then it may not be advisable to show
the scalp by plaiting into multiple cornrows or by sectioning into small twists, which
would make the scalp condition visible to all.
How firmly a mesh of hair
is held during plaiting and
twisting the hair. Tension should
always be kept even, as uneven
tension will produce uneven
plaits or twists.
Desired look
Magazines and style books are ideal visual aids to show your
client before deciding on a chosen style. It also allows you to
be confident in knowing the style the client has chosen is the
same style you have in your mind to create. Sometimes clients
are not aware of the correct names for styles or techniques, so
make sure you are both positive about the intended style result.
Unit GH13
Hair density
Scalp condition
Controlling the hair when plaiting
and twisting
To ensure you produce even plaits and twists, it is important
to maintain a comfortable and even tension whilst working. If
your tension is too loose, the plaits and twists will be too loose
and may fall out. However, if your tension is excessively tight
you will cause pain to your client and may even cause traction
alopecia. If a client comes into the salon and you notice broken
hair around the hairline where the hair has been plaited, you
should advise your client to have a break from plaiting so
that the tension in this area is relieved. If you plait hair with
this condition you may well contribute to the breakage and a
worsening of the condition. The client may need to see her GP
for a referral to a trichologist.
Plait and twist hair
Factors affecting plaiting and twisting
Practical skills – Hairdressing
Traction alopecia
Hair length
Task 5
The hair needs to be long enough to enable you to plait or twist it into a style. If the
hair is not long enough it will be really difficult to create the style and the plaits or
twists may fall out during the special occasion! Be honest with your client to avoid
disappointment. If the hair is too long it may be too heavy to hold twists and they
may also fall out. You would not want this to happen whilst your client is dancing at
a special occasion ball or during the first dance at her wedding! Be honest with your
client once you have assessed the viability of the chosen style.
Write down the meaning of traction alopecia and explain how this condition is caused.
Traction alopecia
Hair thinning or hair loss due
to excessive tension on the hair
follicle. This can be a result of
wearing the hair in tight plaits
or twists. The source of the
tension needs to be removed
and the client may need to be
referred to a trichologist.
A person who is qualified to
diagnose and treat hair and
scalp disorders and diseases.
NVQ/SVQ Level 2 Hairdressing
Practical skills – Hairdressing
There are certain products developed especially for
helping to control the hair whilst plaiting and twisting.
These products also help to keep the hair in shape
once the finished result has been achieved. You need
to follow the manufacturer’s directions when applying
these products so that you do not overload the hair,
making it appear greasy or too hard and crispy. This will
also ensure you use plaiting and twisting products cost
effectively, which will mean better profits for your salon.
<ph_529 – Image of
cornrow plaiting>
A French plait is a single inverted plait using all the client’s hair.
<cap – tbc>
Products for plaiting and twisting are:
●Sprays – used before or after plaiting and twisting
hair to keep the style in place.
●Serums – these are silicone-based products used
before plaiting or twisting to smooth the cuticle
scales when styling.
●Gels – strong liquid-based products used before
plaiting or twisting hair which dry hard to keep hair in
<cap – tbc>
<cap – tbc>
<cap – tbc>
Plait and twist hair
Unit GH13 Plait and twist hair
Spray, serum and gel for plaiting and twisting
Step-by-step French plait
Unit GH13
Products for plaiting and
Plaits and twists
To be deemed competent in this unit you need to
practise and create the looks below. Once you have
practised and feel confident to produce the looks neatly
and cleanly, you are ready for assessment.
Fact or fiction?
Is this statement fact or fiction?
Cornrow plaiting is also known as cane row.
To check your answer see page 474.
<cap – tbc>
<cap – tbc>
Multiple cornrows, lots of three-strand plaits which sit
on top of their base. This is also known as a cane row.
NVQ/SVQ Level 2 Hairdressing
Practical skills – Hairdressing
Twist out
Step-by-step fishtail plait
Step-by-step two-strand twist
A fishtail plait is achieved by crossing even sections of hair over each other to create
a herringbone look.
In this style, the hair is twisted left over right, left over right until the twist is
complete. This can be done on wet or dry hair and can be used before a twist out.
<cap – tbc>
<cap – tbc>
<cap – tbc>
A two-strand twist which is
untwisted after it has dried.
<cap – tbc>
<cap – tbc>
<cap – tbc>
Task 6
Use the Internet or magazines to research plaiting and twisting
styles and patterns. Use the images you find to create a visual
aid to show clients the plaiting and twisting styles available. Try and Hairdresser’s Journal as well as
hairstyling magazines.
<cap – tbc>
Plait and twist hair
Unit GH13 Plait and twist hair
Unit GH13
<ph_445 – Step by step
for two-strand twist, image
<cap – tbc>
caption - tbc
NVQ/SVQ Level 2 Hairdressing
Practical skills – Hairdressing
How to provide aftercare advice
Step-by-step flat twists
In this style, the hair is rolled and twisted by hand flat to the scalp.
<cap – tbc>
In order to maintain the plaits or twists, it is important to give your client clear advice
on suitable homecare products and their use. If your client goes home without
knowing how to care for her plaits or twists, they are unlikely to last for the time
generally expected. Anything rubbing or causing friction on the hair will have a
detrimental (harmful) effect on plaits or twists.
<cap – tbc>
Top tips
A satin or silky pillow case may
help prolong the life of plaits
or twists.
<cap – tbc>
<cap – tbc>
Advise your client that a lot of hair may fall out once the plaits or twists are removed
and that this is quite normal. The longer the plaits or twists have been in, the more
hair will fall out. Explain that this is only natural hair fall which would have ended
up in the client’s brush if the hair had not been in plaits or twists. Everyone loses
between 80 and 100 hairs a day, and if these hairs are not able to fall out because
they are stuck in a plait or twist, then you will see them all fall out once the plait or
twist is removed.
Always recommend homecare advice and products to your client so that she can
maintain the hard work that you have carried out. For cane row plaits which may
stay in the hair for weeks, it is advisable to recommend a light oil to keep the scalp
moisturised. Your client may wish to shampoo the hair whilst in cane row plaits, and
you should recommend light gentle shampooing movements using a moisturising
shampoo to avoid drying the scalp.
Plait and twist hair
Unit GH13 Plait and twist hair
You should advise your client to be methodical about removing plaits and twists. Using
a tail comb, always work from the points of the hair, undoing the plait and working up
to the root. Use a wide-toothed comb to comb through the hair once all the plaits have
been removed. It is advisable to carry out a deep conditioning treatment once the plaits
or twists are removed to replace moisture and strengthen the cortex.
Unit GH13
To ensure the condition of the hair is maintained, it is important to give guidance on
how to remove the plaits and twists. If your client is unaware of the correct procedure
and rips out the bands securing the plaits and tries to pull the plait out from the root,
this will not only cause knotting but will also be painful and damage the hair.
Task 7
<cap – tbc>
<cap – tbc>
Write down the types of products available in your salon for plaiting and twisting.
State when and why you would use these products. Make a note of the manufacturers’
instructions on how to use these products economically.
A worksheet for this task is provided on the CD-ROM for you to complete and add to
your portfolio.
NVQ/SVQ Level 2 Hairdressing
Salon life
Check your knowledge
Unit GH13 Plait and twist hair
When I was training I was asked by a client to do multiple
cornrow plaits. Although I could do cornrows easily, I was a
bit concerned because the client’s hair looked quite fragile
at the hairline. I asked the client if she had had problems
with the hairline before and she said no, so I continued
with the plaiting service.
A couple of weeks later the client returned to the salon and
said her hair had started to break around the hairline. When
I looked properly at the client’s hairline, I could have cried.
The hairline had receded right back and what was there was
really wispy. I felt dreadful to have let this happen. I removed
the plaits and carried out a deep penetrating conditioning
treatment to help restore some protein and moisture to the hair.
The client never returned to the salon and I still feel bad about
plaiting her hair, as I should have said no to the plaits when
I saw the hairline was weak.
I will never make this mistake again!
Top tips
Never go against your instincts and
always rely on your professionalism.
If you don’t think you should
carry out a service, state this to
your client and fully explain the
reasons why, including outlining the
possible consequences should you
carry out the service.
1 State what traction alopecia means.
2 Why is it important to minimise the risk of cross-infection and infestation when plaiting and
twisting hair?
a) So that you look good to the client
b) To ensure that you do not pass on any infections or infestations to clients and colleagues
c) So that you do pass on any infections or infestations to clients and colleagues
d) So that you stay clean yourself
3 What are the potential consequences of excessive tension on the hair when plaiting and twisting?
a) The client may lose hair through a condition called traction alopecia
b) The client may moan at you for pulling too tight
c) The client may not tip you if you pull too hard
d) The client may lose hair through a condition called alopecia areata
4 Why should you section hair accurately when plaiting and twisting hair?
5 State three methods of securing plaits and twists.
Unit GH13
Joy’s story
The following questions will help you to check your understanding of this unit. The answers can be
found on page 000.
Plait and twist hair
A fragile client
Practical skills – Hairdressing
6 Why is it important to use products economically when plaiting and twisting hair?
7 Why is it important to recommend homecare advice to your client after plaiting or twisting services?
8 Why is it important to give good advice to your client regarding removing the plaits or twists?
Why do some clients’ hairlines become weak and break when in plaits?
This is due to excessive tension being placed on the hair shafts at the
hairline. It can cause the hair to become weakened at the root, and if
the pressure continues the hair will be pulled out and break off. It takes
a long time for the hair to regenerate and therefore the hairline can
look sparse for a considerable period.
9 How can your client’s lifestyle influence the choice of the style of the plaits or twists?
10Why might there be lots of hair fall when the plaits or twists are removed?
NVQ/SVQ Level 2 Hairdressing
Unit GH13 Plait and twist hair
• Multiple cornrows – lots of three-strand plaits which sit on top of their base. This
is also known as a cane row.
• French plait – a single inverted plait using all the client’s hair.
• Fishtail plait – a plait achieved by crossing even sections of hair over each
other to create a herringbone look.
• Two-strand twists – the hair is twisted left over right, left over right until
the twist is complete.
• Flat twists – the hair is rolled and twisted by hand flat to the scalp.
You must also cover all the other range statements listed. You will be
assessed on at least four occasions and each occasion must be for a
different look.
Task mapping
When you have completed the tasks in this unit, check the table below
to see which Performance Criteria (purple), Range (red), Knowledge
(green) and Key Skills (blue) you have covered within Unit GH13 to use as
additional evidence within your portfolio.
Task and page reference
Mapping to Performance Criteria, Range, Knowledge and Key Skills
1 (page 302)
Performance Criteria: 1f
Range: −
Knowledge: 1, 4
Key Skills: ((tbc))
2 (page 303)
Performance Criteria: 1b, 1f
Range: −
Knowledge: 3, 5, 6
Key Skills: ((tbc))
3 (page 304)
Performance Criteria: 1f, 1g
Range: −
Knowledge: 31
Key Skills: ((tbc))
4 (page 304)
Performance Criteria: 1f
Range: −
Knowledge: 27
Key Skills: ((tbc))
5 (page 307)
Performance Criteria: −
Range: −
Knowledge: 14, 15, 16, 17
Key Skills: ((tbc))
Performance Criteria: Practising 2a, 3a
Range: 2a–e
Knowledge: 19
Key Skills: ((tbc))
7 (page 313)
Performance Criteria: Practising 2g, 3a, 3b
Range: Practising 4a
Knowledge: 25, 26, 27, 28
Key Skills: ((tbc))
Unit GH13
When you have spent a number of hours practising each of the five different looks and you feel
confident to create the styles specified, you are ready for assessment. You have to prove you
can create all the plaits and twists in the range:
6 (page 312)
Plait and twist hair
Getting ready for assessment
Practical skills – Hairdressing