The twist-out is probably the most popular natural hair style out there. That’s likely because it’s a simple enough process… it’s all in the name – you twist the hair, you take it out. Achieving the “perfect” twist-out has been a thing for many naturals as they attempt to copy the results of their faves. But the truth is, no two twist-outs are alike… not even your own!
After getting some 10 years of twist-outs under my belt, here are a few tips that should help you achieve YOUR perfect twist-out!
Decide on Your Results
It’s a good idea to think first about how you want your twist-out to look in the end. Do you want a middle part, side part? How do you want the hair to lay, left or right? Do you want lots of definition or are you going for big and fluffy. This will all determine how you install your twists. Making these adjustments after your hair has dried and set will mean manipulating your hair more than necessary. Too much manipulation can (1) mess up all your hard work and (2) has the potential to cause breakage. So a plan is needed beforehand.
Also, think about whether you want lots of definition to start or if you want volume out of the gate. If you’re looking for definition, it’s best to twist the hair while it’s damp as the hair will dry and set in the twisted state. Regular, simple two-strand twists are just fine and will give you a cute look. But if you want root-to-tip definition, your best bet is to install flat-twists.
If you want to show more of your length and are looking for volume on day one, try starting with dry, stretched hair. You can stretch the hair using whatever technique you like, it doesn’t necessarily have to be via blow drying. I’ve listed five heat-free ways to stretch your hair here!
Cleanse & Condition
Many of us will agree that our hair tends to look its best when it needs to be washed (what’s THAT about?!). But nothing beats a hairstyle done on freshly cleansed and conditioned hair.
The hair will look much healthier, shinier and will lay better than if you attempt to style on hair that already has a bunch of product. Your twist-out will give you best results if you start with a clean slate.
Y’all already know moisture is a must, especially for us kinky-haired girls! So whether you plan to twist on damp or dry hair, you’ve gotta moisturize. The styler you choose to follow up with can aid in making your twist-out last more than a couple days.
Some opt for a gel after moisturizing or some type of setting lotion. There are also tons of creams and puddings that will offer both moisture and a bit of hold for a long-lasting, juicy twist-out. Whatever you choose, be sure to distribute well with your fingers or by brushing through so that all the strands benefit.
Note: if humidity is high or present at all, products that contain high amounts of humectants like honey or glycerin will draw moisture to the hair. Normally, that’s a good thing but it’ll make the hair quickly plump up and lose any definition. Not so bueno for the perfect twist-out.
View some of my favorite hair products here!
This is one of the things that can make or break your twist-out. Properly and fully detangling your hair will make for a smooth and flawless look. Gently detangling from the roots to the ends ensures that the hair lays the way you want and that your ends look more finished and not scraggly.
P.S. Ends that are excessively scraggly might be a sign that a trim is needed. But we’ll speak on that in a bit.
As mentioned, how you want to twist depends on what you want to achieve. A neat flat twist will not only give you mega definition, but it creates a twist-out that mostly won’t need much separating since it’s already kinda done for you within the process.
When doing two-strand twists, be sure to section out even amounts of hair as best you can and smooth the hair while twisting. For the perfect twist-out, fight the urge to “borrow” hair as you twist. Instead, twist all the way down from the root to the ends.
Borrowing hair can cause tangles during the takedown which will disrupt the smoothness of the final look. You can choose to add a perm rod or flexi rod to the ends to finish off the twist or simply twirl the hair around your fingers.
Untwist/Take Down Properly
When taking down your twists, don’t rush the process. For two-strand twists, gently untwist the hair once and feel the hair to access how much separating you need to do for your desired look. Separate the sections once, give it a shake and see what you think. If you want more volume, separate some more, a bit at a time, until you reach your goal. Remember, if you separate more than you wanted, what’s done is done.
Some like to separate just a couple times for day one and separate more every day or two, allowing the twist-out to grow over time.
Keep Up With Your Trims
Staying on top of your trims should not be overlooked! Healthy, clean ends is not only key if you want the perfect twist-out but it’s needed for overall hair health. Women sometimes wonder why their twist-outs don’t come out looking polished and neat when the answer often lies in just needing a good trim. For some ways to know if you need a trim, take a look at this post!
Having a good cut or shape to the hair also helps in the overall look of the twist-out. When the hair nicely frames your face and is a shape that suits you, it can make a big difference!
You can see all of these steps at work below as I show you how I achieve a chunky twist-out on blown-out hair!
Over time, you will learn what your hair likes and dislikes as far as products and styling techniques. What makes the perfect twist-out for one person make not work for someone else, no matter how similar their hair may seem!
When I first went back to rocking my natural hair in 2009, I would spend hours installing small twists like girls I saw on YouTube. I quickly changed that up because (1) who has that kinda time?! LOL! And (2) the finished look just wasn’t me!
As you saw in the video and as you can tell from my Instagram feed, I prefer big, lightly defined hair and I think it suits me best. So this technique of medium-sized twists or braids on dry hair is my go-to and my personal definition of the perfect twist-out!
Hopefully the above tips will help you achieve yours!