How to Make Your Twist-Out Last Longer

Updated 05/14/19
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Picture this scenario: you’ve carefully two-strand twisted your hair, using your favorite products. You’ve covered your hair before bed, ready to rock the twist-out the next day. In the morning, you uncover your hair, gently unravel every twist, give your head a little shake and walk out the door. In a couple of hours, however, your hair no longer looks like a twist-out but more like a blow-out. What went wrong?

When it comes to protective styles for natural hair, twist-outs are a classic favorite, but perfecting the look is hard to achieve. Not exactly a wash-and-go style, the best twist-out takes time and patience, and how long your twist-out lasts depends on the time you put into the styling process. To make those twist-outs last longer than your commute from the bathroom to outdoors, try these tips.

Use the Right Products for Your Hair

Hair comes in so many different textures that one product doesn't work for everyone. Your hair might be loosely curled and respond to one type of product. Tightly coiled hair might work better with another. Experimentation is often a big part of finding the perfect product for you. Look for formulas that offer some type of hold if you plan to turn your twists into a twist-out. Use an alcohol-free gel with medium-to-firm hold, either alone or with another product (preferably a moisturizing one). Using a combination of products might be enough to give you a twist-out that doesn't swell into another style altogether.

Use Smaller Sections

While the size of your two-strand twists doesn't much matter when you're wearing them in a twisted style, size does matter for twist-outs. Smaller twists lend themselves better to longer lasting twist-outs and a more defined style. It will take more time to fashion small twists, but the effort is worth it when you have a twist-out that lasts.

Leave Twists in Longer

How long your twist out lasts depends on how long you left the twists in before unraveling them. Consider how your hair will look if you style two-strand twists that are left in for several hours, overnight, or for a few days. Leaving your twists in overnight will have a nice result for a short period of time, but if you wear your twists for a week, your shape could even last a couple days.

Preserve Your Style at Night

Once you've worn a twist-out all day, you need to care for your hair before going to sleep to preserve it. A cap or bonnet may flatten your hair, so you can either sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase or choose a larger hair bonnet that is roomy enough not to crush your hairstyle. You can re-twist your hair if you like; it doesn't have to be as exact as a twist style you'd wear outside. Or try the pineapple technique. For this, pile your curls on top of your head, and loosely secure them in place with a scrunch or large clip.

In the morning, you might find a little spritz of water or replenishing mist helps refresh your twist-out.

Embrace Your Style

Finally, accept that this may be a one-day style only. If you've tried everything you can think of to make your twist-outs last longer than one day and you still haven't been successful, realize that some hair types are going to frizz more easily than others. For some people, a two-day twist-out is just not doable, either due to hair type or the weather. Natural hair swells and wants to curl in moist air; if you attempt a twist-out during humid summer months, you probably won't get the long-lasting hold you'd get in a non-humid climate or season.

If you live in a non-humid area or attempt a twist-out in the fall and winter, you may have better luck with stretching that twist-out time further.

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