Welcome to Texture Talk, a column that celebrates and deep dives into the dynamic world of curly hair, from crowns of curls that are free flowing to strands that are tucked away in a protective style.
One of the most beautiful parts of textured hair is its versatility, and ability to change shape and hold a wide array of styles. But there’s one particular style that, while beloved, can be polarizing due to the trial and error required to get it just right. Yes, we’re talking about the twist out.
In theory, it sounds super simple: section hair, twist, unravel and marvel at the bouncy luscious curls that (supposedly) await you. However, for those of us that have tried and failed — many times — we know that it’s usually not that simple. Sometimes you’re left with perfectly defined curls but more often than not, that’s not the case.
Below, we’ve broken down how to achieve a perfect twist out every time, via a step-by-step guide and a list of the twist out products that will guide you through each step of the styling process.
Start with a clean slate
A great twist out is all about curl definition, and the quest for good curl definition begins on wash day. Using an especially moisturizing shampoo and conditioner like the Monday Haircare Moisture and Hydration Shampoo and Conditioner (which are chock full of hydrating and strengthening ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil and hydrolyzed rice protein) prior to starting the twist out process will help to give your hair a great head start.
For an extra moisture boost, try using a hydration mask or treatment, like the Shea Moisture Manuka Honey and Mafura Oil Masque that not only gives the hair a dose of intense hydration, but the shea butter and baobab oils help lock all that moisture in.
Divide and conquer
Begin by dividing your already damp hair into multiple sections — no less than four. Starting off with damp hair will not only help make especially coarse and thick hair a little more manageable but will also help in the absorption of your products. Don’t worry about perfecting the parts of each section; the uneven parts will help with the blending process when unravelling your twists.
Once you have your hair in manageable sections, the next step is to make sure each and every section is tangle-free. Using a detangling spray like the Wizard Detangling Hair Primer by Amika along with a wide-toothed comb or a detangling brush like the Denman Cushion Brush will help to ensure optimal curl definition and a knot-free style.
Once hair is in tangle-free sections, use a leave-in conditioner to kick the moisturizing process up a notch. Using your fingers, rake a moisture rich leave-in conditioner like the Coconut Milk Leave-In Conditioner by CurlShoppe through each section to ensure that it is evenly distributed. Its lightweight yet moisture-rich formula makes it the perfect base for a twist out, since it helps to keep hair moisturized without weighing it down.
Follow up your leave-in with something that will provide curl definition. An oldie but a goodie is the SheaMoisture Coconut Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie. Its star ingredients, shea butter and coconut oil, easily penetrate the hair follicle for added moisture, while the neem oil adds shine and definition. Begin at the ends and work this product through to your roots. And don’t be shy with the amount — this is definitely not a step you want to skimp on.
This next step is definitely optional, but there are some who will swear by the effectiveness of adding a mousse, like DevaCurl’s Frizz-Free Volumizing Foam, to your twist out routine. Those with type 3 hair may not see a difference but those with type 4 hair who may need a helping hand with defining their curls will be glad they added it.
Now it’s time to hold that curl into place. Curl definition is crucial, but making sure your curls stay defined is where the real challenge lies. The Adwoa Beauty Baomint Moisturizing Curl Defining Gel is good a product to rely on if you’re having this concern. Formulated with pumpkin seed oil, prickly pear oil and sweet almond oil, this cream-based gel helps to define and hold curls without the usual stiffness and white flakes that many traditional gels are known for. Its unique oil combination helps to lock in moisture and shine while improving the strength and elasticity of your hair. Apply it from root to tip for best results, while taking extra care to not neglect the ends of your hair.
Twist and shout
By now you should have heavily moisturized and defined curls, so it’s time to twist! Pay attention to the size of each section, ensuring the sections are the same size, which will help to create a more uniformed appearance once they have been taken out. Tie them down with your favourite headscarf and leave it on to dry overnight. After all your twists have completely dried, it’s time for the moment of truth: the take down.
The best way to unravel each twist with minimal frizz is by using an oil product to separate each curl while also taming flyaways and frizz. You can try misting your entire head with an oil-based spray to help soften your twists, or if you’d like to give every curl a little extra TLC, try the Adwoa Beauty Baomint Protect and Shine Oil Blend. Use a dime-sized amount between your fingers before unravelling each twist and separating your curls.
Protect and refresh
Twist outs are not a “one and done” hairstyle. Chances are if you’re going through the hassle of completing a twist out you’re going to want to keep the style for more than just a few days. To ensure that your style lasts, tie your hair up in a loose high bun — emphasis on loose — before bed. After taking it down in the morning, use a moisturizing and hydrating spray like the Coconut Aloe Intense Moisture Replenishing Spray by London Ivy to give curls an extra boost of moisture and refresh any that may have become dehydrated over time.
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