Twist outs can be a curly girl’s best friend or worst enemy. When I first began transitioning to naturally curly hair, I kept my fingers crossed that two-strand twist outs would become my easy, go-to hairstyle that could carry me through the unpredictable future ahead. After all, twist outs seemed to be the curly veterans’ holy grail for super defined curls – how hard could it be?
The answer: Very hard, at first!
The act of twisting two strands of hair around each other itself is very easy, but the process of executing the ultra defined curls does take a little fine tuning. Thus, after much of my own trial and error, I wanted to share the 5 tips that have helped me master my twist outs on my transitioning hair over the last several months!
1. Begin your twists on wet, moisturized hair.
Although your hair shouldn’t be soaking wet, having wet, detangled, moisturized hair will ensure that your strands will absorb the products and dry in the shape of the twists you put them in. Moisturize your hair with your favorite leave-in conditioner and seal it with a light oil before beginning to ensure smooth, shiny curls.
2. Decide what size you want your curls to be.
The size of your twisting strands will determine the size and definition of your curls. For full, looser curls, try a “chunky twist out” with larger strands of hair. This will usually equate to 5-6 twists around your entire head and will have a bit less definition, but overall will stretch your hair. Smaller twists (8-15+) will give you much more defined curls that will hold significantly longer. For springy, super defined curls, smaller twists are the way to go.
3. Use strong, curl enhancing hair products.
Finding the perfect combination of products for an ultra defined twist out can be tricky. After much trial and error, my favorite products have boiled down to a strong holding curling cream with a firm holding gel on top. It’s ok to mix it up until you find your perfect combo, but ensuring that both have firm but flexible holding properties is the key to be sure they’ll last. My currently line up: DevaCurl SuperCream and Eco Styler Gel – Olive Oil (below). For the most definition, apply your products from the root of your sections to the very end.
4. Make sure your twisting strands remain separate.
For beginners, it can be easy to accidentally sweep a few strands of hair from one twisting strand to the other. Unfortunately if that happens more than a couple times, you can wind up with a mess of confused twists during take down, so it’s important to make sure your twisting strands remain separated as you wind them around each other.
5. Use perm rods on straight ends in the proper direction of the curl.
If you’re transitioning your hair too, you’ll notice that your straight, heat damaged ends don’t exactly want to comply with this curly style towards the ends. In order to get your ends curly like the rest of your hair, you’ll want to use perm rods that are the same width of your desired curl pattern. I personally like tighter curls, so for curls like the picture above, I like to use the pink 5/16″ on the ends and wind them in the same direction as the twists for a seamless curl.
6. Make sure twists are completely dry before take down.
Allow your style to dry completely before taking it down to reduce the chance of frizz. This style can sometimes take a while to set, so if you’re in a rush, sit under a hooded dryer (or hair dryer attachment). I have been in a rush a couple of times and broken this golden rule with instant regret – don’t skip this step! 😉
7. Separate twists carefully with lightly oiled fingers.
Once your style has set, carefully unravel twists from the bottom up with lightly oiled fingers. Separate the twists to your liking, and before you find yourself fretting over shrinkage, reach over for that pick and get to fluffing!
If you’ve just started transitioning your hair, this style may take a few tries before you get it down pat but don’t give up! The more my natural hair grows and the more damaged ends I trim, the nicer my curls and twist outs have looked. Stay patient and enjoy the ride! 🙂