Thursday, November 1, 2012

Two Strand Twists: Healthy Hair Care Habits for Length Retention

It's hard to believe, but we are approaching 2013. I can say that this year was used wisely in regards to goals and being focused. There's still some time left to end the year with that powerfully accomplished feeling! As this post relates to hair, I'm going to just dive right in without further ado.

Three years into my natural hair journey, I know that my hair is retaining length. At between 15'' and 17'' length measured throughout the head, I've retained about 5.5'' (average) each of the three years. This includes trims and scissor happy hair dressers in the first 2 years that I was silly enough to risk allowing to touch my hair.

My recent stint with 2 strand twists were glorious to say the least. I am in love with two strand twists for length retention (and they are just plain cute and easy once installed). I kept them in for 3 weeks, and wore a twist out for about 3 days. Usually I would wear the twistout for about a week, but due to the fact that I work out about 5 days a week, I sweat too much not to have to wash it. SIDE NOTE: Two strand twists are now my official coily girl hair texture for a heavy work-out session. They are easily cared for (can dunk them under the water any time), they are easily styled (for both professional and casual wear).

Easy Styling Coily Hair in Two Strand Twists

Freshly Co-Washed 2 Strand Twists on Coily Hair

Heatless Waves on Two Strand Twists

Twistout After 3 Weeks of Wearing Two Strand Twists

Now to the "meat" of this post! 

Healthy Hair Care Habits for Length Retention:

I chose two strand twists with which to enjoy retaining some length while my hair remained un-manipulated. No combing, brushing, shampooing,  ripping through or any of those end splitting endeavors for a full 3 weeks. But what happens when I go to take down the twists? Most people experience knots, matting, dreads, and worse after enjoying their two strand twists. I've come up with a list of things that help me to avoid all of the above, and I'll share my list with you. If you have anything that helps you that we can add to the list, please share!

  1. Twist on hair that is well conditioned. I like to do my twists after I've done my homemade mayo/honey/olive oil/avocado deep conditioning treatment.
  2. Moisturizing properly before twisting is important. I find that since my deep conditioner is so heavy, I may not need to add additional moisturizer on the day that I twist. But definitely I assess the hair to ensure that it's  moisturized properly before doing my twists. This sets the stage for well moisturized twists that will not suffer damage from dryness. Also allows me to simply spritz water in the next few days (to reactivate the products that are on the strands).
  3. Do twists on hair that is properly separated at the roots. If the roots start out with hair that is tangled, they will continue to tangle during the long wear stretch-and then they will matte or dread. How quickly this will happen depends on the hair's texture. Tighter coiled hair will probably dread or matte quicker.
  4. Twist all the way down to the ends without "borrowing" hair from one of the 2 sections. If you do have to "borrow" hair, make sure that you remember that you did this on take-down. Those are the twists that you're going to have to "baby" when you take down--and find exactly where the hair is shared and un-twist it carefully. This will help avoid damage to the ends.
  5. Maintain the proper moisture level while wearing the twists. Deep condition as usual. Don't let the hair dry up. I also avoid shampoo, as this tends to tangle my hair and knot it up. This was learned after much trial and error. Co-washing is good. I use the As I Am Coconut Cowash Cleansing Conditioner, 16 Ounce  when I have my hair in two strand twists. It's perfect for cleansing without shampoo.
  6. Trim as needed. While the twists are in, this is the easiest time for me to identify ends that are ragged. NOTE: This may not be a good idea for hair that is easily unravels. Blunt ends will encourage unraveling. 
This is scheduled to be a 2 part post, because the take down of two strand twists is extremely important to length retention. Twists could be kept in safely for weeks, and all of the progress made could be destroyed on the take-down. In the upcoming post, I will share exactly what steps I take to un-ravel and safely detangle my hair after wearing two strand twists on a long term basis.

Enjoying two strand twists without the take-down drama of tangles will ensure length retention. I like to do 2 sets of two strand twists within a 3 month period (taking a break on the 2nd month, then doing a new set of twists on the 3rd month. I usually see about 2'' length from this practice. For sure, it requires patience to do the twists (mines take me about 8 hours within a 2 day period--or just 1 long Saturday of movies and HOME BOUND). Also, patience is required on the take down, which will be discussed on the next post.

Until Then, Stay BEAUTIFUL :o)                                                               ---------tia


  1. I love your blogs and youtube videos. I seem to always have my hair in two strand twists. I used to wear the small twists but now I wear medium twists most of the time. I have a busy schedule and usually wear my hair in updos to work. Twists eliminate the need for parting and combing. I try to break off my love affair with twists. But, alas, they keep calling me back. LOL.

  2. No need to break off the twist love affair LOL! They seem to have been designed with coily hair in mind :o) You will pick up length with that regimen you've got. Twists and updo=long lengths.

  3. I have always loved your twists! I love wearing minitwist but I actually stop cowashing and deep conditioning mine because it made my take down difficult? I've always wonder how you are able to get away with washing yours and still have a nice take down. I need to try it again.

    1. When I used to use shampoo, I would get knotting. Now that I only co-wash and only use conditioner on my hair with them in--I have no problems on the take-down. I know the hair has to be well moisturized (but not wet at all). So the deep conditioner that I do works wonders by the time I'm ready to take them down.

    2. Well now that I've found a deep conditioner that detangles like crazy. I love I may try it again? But I don't use shampoo on my hair even when its loose, so I don't know what my hair's problem was.

    3. Let me know how it is when you take down your twists. Your hair seems a bit similar to mine (I know mine can dread up if the conditions are right LOL), so I'm interested to know if this works for you (deep conditioning, and co-washing only with your twists). Thanks!

  4. Hi Tia, I love watching your videos since i discovered you on youtube. I've subscribed to your channel. I love your blog page and the information. I started my experiments with my hair and i realized that after i bleached half of my hair then colored it the texture has been course and drier than usual. but once i washed it over the weekend and added conditioner & olive oil to it then braided it, once dried it was soft and moist. but I'm yet to try shea butter with olive oil creamed together. Please continue all the inspiring work that you've been doing.

    1. Hey Shanella! Thanks for the love, we appreciate it. Bleaching is definitely stripping/drying on the hair. And I love that showing the hair some love (moisture) after a little abuse (color) LOL, the coils will still show us some love! You can't go wrong with oils (I love olive oil too)! Thanks for the message Doll. --tia

  5. I just recently have tried to get my list of products that can work for me...throwing away lots of things sine noone else I know is how they say qoute un qoute "crazy to go natural" since I have been perm free since feb 2012..anyhow I tried the deep conditioner on a small patch of hair that was cleasned with ABS(african black soap made with: water, cocoa pod ashes, plantain skins ashes, and palm oil.
    Well after that I did the DC and let it sit for 20 min, then washed it off didnt feel that different so I proceeded to seal with evoo, and let air dry. Im so frustrated my hair ended back at square one dry! the was a nice stretch to it from my bantu but it was still brittle to the touch. any suggests?? could it be the soap? Or maybe I need a leave in b4 I seal? How in the world did you go about opting out products or oils without having such damage or dryness? grr...

  6. i need assistance here plzzzz. i dont wana buy any products i prefer using essential oils and home made ingredients . can i call this co wash: apply two egg yolks, garlic juice,cayanee pepper avocado and honey . leave it for a couple for an hour. rinse apple cider vinger and rinse again cooled down green tea. then blow dry?