How To Tell Identical Twins Apart + 11 Brilliant Marking Ideas

Identifying twins involves noticing details and recognizing differences while appreciating their unique qualities. These suggestions will strengthen your observations and simplify distinguishing between twins.

How To Tell Identical Twins Apart

Avoid mix-ups with these tips on how to tell identical twins apart. These tips aren’t just for new parents; they can be used by anyone with a set of twins in their lives.

Check out the list below for some great ways to tell twins apart and what identifiers to look for.

1. Unique Birthmarks, Moles and Freckles

Even identical twins have unique physical indicators like freckles, moles, and birthmarks.

Look closely, and you can notice unique shapes of moles or the absence of freckles or specific birthmarks. Finding this slight difference can be a big help in telling identical twins apart. 

2. Height Differences

As the children begin to grow, you may notice that one is growing more quickly than the other. Use this height difference to your advantage, and use it as an identifier. 

3. Distinct Personality Traits

Here’s where those observation skills come in handy. Spend some time one on one with each child, and learn about their likes and dislikes, their personality differences, or their individual quirks.

Take temperament into account while they are younger — for example, which one is “calm or mellow” and which one is “bossy or demanding.” 

4. Voice

Check the pitch! Some twins may have a lower voice, and some may have a high-pitched voice. Voice and temperament often mold together and become an easy clue to telling twins apart. 

5. Slight Physical Differences

They may share DNA, but even identical twins may have slight physical differences that can hold the key to telling them apart. Check for head shape, the shape of the eyes, or the cowlicks swirling the same way.

Slight physical differences can also include the length of the nose or forehead, a crooked smile, or the shape/size of ears. The differences can be subtle but just enough of a hint to tell them apart. 

6. Belly Buttons

One of the best ways to tell twins apart is their belly buttons. Belly buttons are not genetic; they are scars left from removing the umbilical cord, making each one different. 

7. Facial Expressions

Each twin will have unique mannerisms, facial expressions, eyebrow movements, and smiles. Look closely, and you will see that personality traits and facial expressions go hand in hand. 

8. Assigned Colors

Assigning colors is nearly foolproof in helping tell twins apart. For example, twin A will wear red while twin B will wear blue.

This technique will also help identify twins in pictures down the road. 

9. ID Bracelets

Get creative, and use ID bracelets around ankles or wrists. Letter bracelets, name bracelets, or even colored bracelets are wonderful tools that can be used throughout the twins’ life. 

10. Hairstyles

When twins are older, an easy way to tell them apart is to give them different hair styles, lengths, colors, or shapes. This can be an easy clue while giving each twin their own individuality

11. Scars

Let’s face it; as we grow, we get injuries from life’s adventures. Some adventures leave us with scars. Scars are a subtle hint but a clear sign of who’s who. 

12. Nametags

This tool is great for gatherings, school, or activities. Nametags can be used from birth to adulthood and are foolproof unless your twins try to trick you!

Two twin baby boys on bed with one in a blue onesie and the other in white.

How To Mark Your Identical Twins To Avoid Mixing Them Up

Parents have had to get creative in avoiding a mix-up. Here are some clever ideas on how to mark your identical twins to avoid any confusion. 

1. Paint One Twin’s Toe

This idea is a simple and clever idea for infants and toddlers. Pain one twin’s toe with fingernail polish, or paint one toe on each twin a different color to tell them apart. Genius!

2. Assign Different Colors for Clothing

This is a common technique. Assign each twin a color of clothing. You can still dress them alike, but just use different colors.

The only downfall…wait until the day that they don’t want to wear that color anymore!

3. Bracelets

ID bracelets are a great tool that can be used for years. You can use a variety of materials that display initials, names, colors, or just the simple A & B.

An alternative to bracelets are various colored wrist bands. 

4. Individualized Pacifier Clips

Personalized pacifier clips are a great idea for gatherings and daycares for not only differentiating twin from twin but also ensuring that the pacifier goes to the correct baby.

5. Part Hair on Opposite Sides

Hairstyles can be a subtle but efficient idea. Once the twins have enough hair, start parting their hair on opposite sides. The slight difference will be a key marker on identity.

Some mirror image twins have cowlicks that swirl in opposite directions, making parting on opposite sides natural. 

6. Use Light Colors for One, Darker Colors for the Other

Associating one twin with light colors and the other with dark colors from newborn on is an interesting idea. The differences in color intensity will become second nature, and identifying twin from twin will be a breeze. 

7. Solid Colors for One, Patterns for the Other

Another play on color scheme is patterns versus solids. This is another great associated reminder.

Once your brain begins to associate one twin with patterns and the other with solids, remembering the names will become easy.

8. Mark the Bottom of Their Feet with Skin-Safe Ink

This technique is common, especially in newborns. Marking twin A with an X on the bottom of the foot and twin B with no mark is tried and true.

Parents who have used this technique ensure the mark lasts longer than you think and causes no harm.  

9. Sticker Coding 

Put to use those garage sale stickers or even name tags. Even a label maker could come in handy. Label everything — clothing, sippy cups, bottles, diapers, the works. Sticker coding works. If you stick to it, this technique is foolproof. 

10. Accessorize

Accessories can play a big part in telling twins apart. Twin A wears a bow while twin B goes without. Twin A always has an anklet, while twin B wears a bracelet.

Simple association paired with accessories goes a long way. 

11. Diaper Labeling 

One final idea for keeping those twins from getting mixed up is to label their diapers or pull-ups, keeping those late-night diaper changes clear as day. 

Final Thoughts

Whether you are parents of twins or have twins in your life, these techniques and tips are tried and true.

The fear of mixing up twins is real, but as you spend time with each twin you will come up with a system that works best for you.

They may be identical, but they are each unique!