I’ve been wearing two stranded twists in my naturally coily hair for well over 10 years now–almost as long as I’ve been wearing my hair in its natural texture. Needless to say, twists are my staple hairstyle. They fit in perfectly with my active lifestyle and they are very easy to maintain. There are many ways to wear twists–small or large, wet set or dry, blown out, curled, flat, twisted out, with extensions, etc. How you maintain your twists will surely depend on what type of twists you’re wearing. The following tips will help you maintain your two stranded twists done on natural hair without the use of extensions.
1) Lessen manipulation: The less you bother your twists, the longer they will last. If your twists are long enough to tie back, then do so to keep your hands out of it. When you wash your twists, use the pads of your fingers to rub your scalp–not the hair. Grab the twists in bunches to squeeze the shampoo and water through the twists to clean them. After washing, avoid using a towel to dry the hair. Instead, continue squeezing the twists gently to remove any excess water from them. Wrap the damp twists with a satin scarf if needed to aid in the drying process.
2) Moisturize your twists: In order for your twists to stay healthy, they need moisture. Use a spray bottle to spritz your twists with distilled or purified water–preferably mixed in with aloe vera gel or your favorite oil–at least once daily. Doing this refreshes your twists in between washes, giving them the moisture that they need. If your natural hair is as porous like mine, meaning your hair absorbs water and moisture like a sponge would, then spritzing them with water is absolutely necessary before applying any moisturizers as our hair will only absorb moisturizers when it’s a little damp first. When applying moisturizers use a squeezing or patting motion with your hands. This way, you avoid pulling out any hairs from your twists, which may create a fuzzy look.
3) Tighten your twists: As you begin to reach week 2 or 3, your newgrowth will become more noticeable. This is when you will need to begin the process of re-twisting the grown out twists to keep your twist style looking fresh and to remove dead hairs that may have been collecting since you first did your twists. Use your fingers to unravel the twist from the ends and separate the two sections of the twists to remove dead hair and to smooth the sections out for re-twisting. If you are in a time crunch, perform this on a small section of your twists such as your hairline (since that’s the most visible part of your hairstyle) and continue on to tighten other sections over the next few days or as needed until all of your new growth has been re-tightened.
4) Sleep with your hair covered: The best way to keep your twists in tact is to protect them by wearing a satin or silk scarf when you sleep. This not only prevents manipulation but it also preserves your twist style. Whether you have a part or a hairline you want to keep smooth, putting on that scarf at night will cut your morning styling time in half.
5) Dust your ends: It’s important to keep your ends in check while wearing two stranded twists. Dusting your ends requires the use of a professional grade hair trimmer which you can purchase at any beauty supply store. Every once in a while, run your fingers through your twists to feel for any knots or look for split ends. If you feel any at the tips of your hair, use your scissors to cut then off the ends of your hair. This shouldn’t be more than 1/4th of an inch (use a ruler as your guide). Anything more than that should be considered cutting and not dusting, which I would not recommend doing on your hair while in its twisted state–for accuracy sake.
A final note about ‘staying power’: Generally, the longer the hair, the less likely your twists will unravel. This may also be true based on the size of your coil–the tighter the coil, the less likely it is for the twists to unravel. The same goes for the state of your hair texture. A naturally coiled hair texture can hold and lock in a twist much easier than heat damaged or looser coiled hair. Finally, small and skinny twists will have much more staying power than thicker or chunkier twists.