By Terez Howard
Two-strand twists and twist outs are the most versatile of all natural hair styles. Who doesn’t love a fresh set of twists? This style can last anywhere from one week to one month with a proper hair care routine. Twists are basically a style within a style because you can treat twists and twist outs as if they are loose hair. That’s their beauty. They can be curled, braided, cornrowed, pinned up, pulled back and decorated with accessories.
In this rtaicle, you will learn which hair types thrive with twists, how to twist and twist out your natural hair and some variations to this popular look.
Keep in mind that natural black hair must be moisturized consistently, no matter what style you wear. Good old-fashioned H2O works best for some naturals, while others like to concoct their own remedies and still others seek out more conventional moisturizers. No matter which moisturizer you choose for your two-strand twists, be sure to reapply every few days or daily, if needed.
Natural Hair That Twists Love
For the purpose of this article, I am going to utilize the system by Andre Walker, a winner of several Emmy awards for his work on Oprah. Type 4 hair is very kinky and coily and loves two-strand twists. You won’t need to put bands on the ends of this hair type because the hair will hold the twist without them, when done properly. The hair’s natural coil and spring winds around itself.
Short hair looks great with twists, too. Hair needs to only be one inch in length.
The other curly hair types 2 and 3 also can wear twists and twist outs; however, the looser the curl pattern, the more likely the strands will unravel and look disheveled within a matter of days.
How To Twist Your Natural Hair
1. Wash your hair and detangle. You can either use shampoo, conditioner, both or your own concoction. The important thing to remember is to have clean hair and a cleansed scalp, especially if you plan on keeping your twists in for several weeks.
You can twist on damp hair or on dry hair. For my mostly 4b hair texture, I preferred twisting on damp hair. I learned I could remove any tangles better as I went along. Twisting on dry hair, which I did a couple times, did produce a more elongated twist, but seemed more tangled than the damp hair.
2. Mist a large, sectioned off area of hair with water if not already damp and apply product. I suggest Curls Whipped Cream.
3. Starting at the nape of the neck and working toward the forehead, use a rat tail comb to create horizontal and vertical parts, making 1- to 2-inch squares. Keep pins, clips or bands on hand to keep hair that you aren’t using out of the way. Remember, the smaller the sections of your natural hair, the smaller the twists will be and more defined the twist out. Larger sections will produce wavy hair or a curly afro.
You can skip this third step and just grab sections of hair if you aren’t looking for a super neat look. Some naturals swear that the grab and go technique makes more natural-looking twists, making them fall in alignment with their face shapes.
4. Twist your hair by separting one of those squares into two sections together. Go left over right until you have twisted your natural hair to the end. If you twist left over right and then twist other portions of hair right over left, your twists will look differently. Maintain the same pattern.
Also, do not borrow hair. In other words, if the left side is running thin on hair, don’t grab some of the right side’s strands. This method will destroy your twist out. I learned this the hard way.
Always twist downward. If you twist your hair straight up or out to your sides, especially if your natural hair is short, then the two-strand twists will not lay properly. So unless you’re looking for a twist out that stick outs, twist straight down.
5. Continue steps 3 and 4 until you have twisted your entire head.
6. When you get to your forehead hairline, you can either part your hair in the middle, on the side or direct the twists straight back. The direction you point your twists is the direction they will stay.
Tip: Tuck your twists into a satin scarf or bonnet when you sleep at night. This will keep them from frizzing, so they will look neater longer.
How To Create A Sweet Twist Out
- Make sure your hair is completely dry before unraveling your twists. This is the key to a sweet twist out! Sit under a hooded dryer if they are still damp. Better yet, rock your twists for a couple weeks.
- Unravel twists one by one. You can either use a rat tail comb (not the teeth’s side) and gently drag it from the scalp to the tip of your hair, or you can you use your fingers in the same motion.
- Finger comb your hair. Do not use a comb on a twist out. Your twist out’s curls and coils will disappear if you comb through it.
Tip: For a fuller twist out, divide your twisted out hair again with a comb or fingers. But know that you will probably lose some of your definition if you do this. Think curly fro.
Four Basic Twist and Twist Out Variations
1. Afro. Couple your two-strand twists with an afro or a neatly placed puff. A few twists around the hairline will accent an afro nicely. Unravel the twists and rock your natural afro and the twist out’s zig zag texture.
2. Bantu knots. Add a five or six bantu knots to the front area of a head of twists for a different natural hair style. Or, make a dozen bantu knots and accent them with a few twisty tendrils.
3. Flat twists. Twists, twist outs and flat twists go together like peas in a pod. Create a funky flat twist design on the upper part of your head and let your twists hang in the back. Flat twist up into a pony of twists, which can be unraveled into a gorgeous twist out you will love.
4. Cornrows. Similar to flat twists, cornrows can be place on the top or lower half of the head along with two-strand twists. Cornrows could also be braided on the sides of your head to create a fro-hawk, except rather than the fro, you can rock twists.
Moving On To Locs
Two-strand twists can be used to start locs on wavy, curly and coily black hair types. Locs can be started at home by using this method. But if you choose to visit a salon, it is fairly inexpensive. Less than $100 is common if you don’t have long hair. Locs which are started with twists are maintained by twisting or palm rolling the roots. However, if you do so too often, you could weaken the root, and the locs may eventually snap.