Have you ever been looking at pictures from your favorite natural hair bloggers or YouTubers with their near perfect twist outs that they make seem so simple to achieve, but when you give it a try your twist out is a hot mess? Few things are more frustrating, I know. But what if I told you there were a few simple reasons that may be keep you from achieving the perfect twist out? Here are 8 reasons why your twist outs don’t work:
You Rob Peter to Pay Paul
I’m not sure where this saying “rob Peter to pay Paul” came from, but it’s one I have heard all my Jamaican life. Think of it like this, you’re preparing to twist your hair. You have your section and have separated it into two unequal parts, inadvertently. For the purpose of this example, the bigger section is named Peter, the smaller Paul.
You begin to twist and as you approach halfway through, you take some hair from Peter to give to Paul so he’s not so small (#bars). You might think this is no big deal, but it will be when it comes time to taking your twists down. Since the twist is split in different areas along its length, it will contribute to frizz and disturb the nice curl pattern you worked so hard to create.
So the tip here is when working with your sections and preparing to twist, do your best to separate the section into two equal parts before you start to twist, and most importantly once you start to twist, do not borrow hair from one side to feed the other.
They’re Still Wet
This is an easy one. If you’re looking for that super defined twist out, you have to let them dry completely before taking them down. Taking down your twists before they are dry prevents them from setting completely, you don’t get the smoothness that the tension provides, and as these damp and separated twists dry they will only puff up and lose what little definition they had. A nice trick to help with this especially if you’re short on time and, like me, your hair takes forever to dry, is to twist on dry or damp hair. If you twist on dry hair you will also get the benefit of more stretched hair, so your twists will fall longer.
Your Hair Is Tangled
Detangling should really go without saying. One key to a great twist out is smoothness. You can’t achieve smooth curls with tangled hair. Those tangles are going to cause little (or big) bumps throughout your twists and even knots if you’re not careful. No matter what style you are doing, it is always best to detangle first, with either a wide tooth comb or your fingers.
You’re Using Products Incorrectly
This may seem like an odd reason, but using the wrong products for your hair can definitely contribute to why your twist out is coming out all wrong. If your strands are thin, using a heavy butter for your twist out is only going to weigh your hair down and leave it looking lifeless and stiff. Conversely, if your hair is thick and you use a really thin product, it may not do anything for your hair at all.
Additionally, no matter your type of hair (and I don’t mean the letter and number), you want to make sure you’re not using too much or too little or any product. Too much product can leave your hair lifeless and feeling greasy, while too little product can leave your hair looking dull and lacking definition. There’s no real science to figuring out what is too much, too little, too heavy, or too light, you just have to go through trial and error and pay attention to your hair. Are you achieving the results you desire?
How you take your twists down is just as important as how you put them in, you have to be gentle. I know, being gentle while taking down your twists is sometimes easier said than done when you’re short on time (or late) and trying to get ready. Otherwise, you run the risk of disturbing the beautiful curl you took the time to create and creating fizz.
The easiest way to have a successful twist takedown is to begin by rotating the twist in the opposite direction it was twisted (to unravel), while you separate the pieces. This reduces the likelihood of creating frizz or disturbing the curl pattern. Another good tip for the takedown is to lightly coat your hands with your favorite oil. This will help to prevent frizz (especially if you plan to separate and fluff) while also giving your twists some sheen.
Your Hair Needs A Trim
There are many different schools of thought about whether trims are necessary and if so, how often. But I promise you, regardless of where you stand in the trim debate, if your ends are janky… your twists outs won’t work. This doesn’t mean you need to get your ends trimmed every 3 months, but if you’ve done a few styles and you aren’t happy with any of them, check your ends. It might be that time.
Pick The Right Section Sizes
This is another ‘listen to your hair moment’. I know, it sucks (sometimes) when there aren’t hard rules to things but we have to take the time to learn our hair. One thing I’ve learned about my hair is that for twist outs and braid outs, small sections do my hair no good. At all. So because I have learned that about my hair, I stick to medium to large sections, then separate once I untwist. Obviously, this won’t be everyone’s issue, but you’ll need to figure out what size sections to avoid and which sizes give you the twist out results you love.
Too Much Fluffing & Manipulation
So we are definitely back in the age of big hair being in. I get it. But like everything in life, there is a line where it becomes too much. You take down your twists and have tons of definition, then begin fluffing and separating to get volume and before you know it you’ve gone too far and are left with a big fro and very little definition. How disappointing!
Take it easy with the manipulation. Start by separating each section once, maybe twice at the most and do a little fluffing at the root. Stop there. If you love big hair the great thing about twist out is they are kind of like fine wine—they only get better (and bigger) with time.