Beginner’s Guide to a Twist Out

twist out

When I returned to natural years ago, there were so many things that I wish I knew about this
natural hair journey. Everyone’s hair is different and I found that you have to learn to do what’s best for your hair. I learned very early on that I have multiple textures and it would take various techniques to manage my hair while transitioning to natural. One of my favorite techniques is a twist out.

A twist out is basically when you install several two strand twists throughout your hair, allow it to set and unravel the next day. This technique accomplishes a nice, consistent wave pattern throughout. It’s perfect for those who are natural, transitioning and even those who are relaxed that would like to achieve heatless waves.

Here are a few tips on how to achieve a flawless twist out.

Use the right products.

Since everyone’s hair is different, not all products work the same depending on your texture. For example, if you want to use something that will produce more of a soft hold, you can use a cream like the Hair Type 4 Leaf Clover Moisturizing Styling Cream or the Pink Lemonade & Coconut Curl Boosting Sherbert. For a tighter hold, a gel works great. I like the Crystal Orchid Biotin Infused Styling Gel or the Tropical Moringa Sweet Oil & Honey Endless Moisture Pearly Braid Out Glaze. Using the right products leads to a successful twist out.

Determine if you’re looking to achieve a loose wave or a tight coil.

Before you start twisting your hair, beginning with the end in mind helps to ensure that you’re installing the right size twists. The bigger the twist, the looser the wave. The smaller the twists, the tighter the wave/coil. I find that when I do smaller twists, the results look like beautiful coils and when I do larger twists, it looks like a nice water wave.

Choose if you want to twist on wet or dry hair.

Again, everyone’s hair is different and responds differently when it comes to styling on wet or dry hair. I like to twist on wet hair when I want to achieve maximum definition. If I want more of a softer look, I will either blow dry my hair or stretched hair. If you decide to twist on wet hair, it will be key to make sure your hair is completely dry before you take your twists down. One thing to keep in mind is that in most cases, when you style on wet hair, you may experience more shrinkage, meaning your hair will look a lot shorter than it really is.

Detangle before you twist.

This is a step that you cannot skip. Since I typically twist on wet hair, I divide my hair into smaller sections, apply a leave-in conditioner, coat my hair with oil and then use my Denman brush to detangle starting at the ends and gradually up to the roots. Once the section of hair is detangled, I apply my styling gel or cream and twists. You want your hair to be smooth so at take down, your hair is not a tangled, matted mess; instead, you’ll have smooth nicely defined twists.

Right over left or left over right, that is the question.

I learned to get the best twist out results, I needed to twist in the same direction that my hair naturally curls. This is something that you’ll notice while washing your hair or when it’s wet. Look at your natural curl pattern and whichever direction your hair curls, that’s the direction you want to twist. Either right over left or left over right. If you can’t determine which direction your hair curls (or if your hair is straight), I recommend trying both. Take one side and twist right over left and the other side left over right. When you take your hair down, evaluate which one produced the best definition and that will be the direction you want to twist going forward.

Don’t be lazy.

It may sound comical or harsh but it’s true. When installing your twists, twist your hair as tightly as possible. This is because in most cases, your twists will unravel slightly once you let go of the hair after twisting. Don’t worry, that’s normal. But when you twist tightly, even once the twists unravel, it remains in place and produces amazing definition.

Can you say volume!

There are so many options when It comes to styling your twist out. To achieve more volume, once you have unraveled your twists, you can separate your hair even more to add more fullness. When separating, start at the roots and work down to the ends. For even more volume, use a hair pic and lift at the roots. You can also use your fingers to lift as well until you achieve the look you’re going for.

Lastly, practice, practice, practice your twist out.

If I could show you pictures of my first twist out, I’m sure you would say the same thing I did which was, THIS IS NOT GOING TO WORK. It was a mess. But what I noticed is the more I practiced, not only did my twisting technique improve, my twist out results were getting better and better.

I hope this guide is helpful for you and makes styling a little easier. Once you get this process down, you can create so many styles from your twist out. It’s a fun journey so enjoy it every step of the way.


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