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How to Preserve a Twistout

Avatar • Nov 17, 2011

By Jenteel (pictured above)

Holly says:

Hi there
I was wondering if you help with this dilemma or throw it out to all the knowledgeable ladies who read your site. I am recently natural and experimenting with styles. I recently attempted a twist-out and the results were great BUT I realised I had no idea how to protect the style before going to bed. I carefully tied a satin scarf over it but it did not preserve the style overnight. I also tried using a satin bonnet — not helpful either. It seems like extra work to have to re-twist — that means twisting every night just to get the same results! Not good at all. Especially as I have learned through trial and error that smaller twists make firmer, cuter twistout for my hair type — it takes me over an hour to twist, I really do not think it is practicable to have to do this every night also it seems like way too much manipulation for our delicate strands right? Surely there must be a fool-proof method of preserving a twistout/bantu knotout, etc at night? Please help.
Thank you in advance and also for your highly informative site! I really enjoy visiting it.
Holly

j’s response:
hey there holly!

the difference is in the product…
in general, i’ve noticed that twist outs last longer on kinkier hair types. this hair type loves hair butters like shea. if you have a looser hair type or fine hair, you may want to try some natural gels for more hold or use minimal products. some options include using a homemade daily spritz, setting lotion or a light oil like coconut. heavier products weigh down fine hair and the resulting twist out often looks stringy or too “spacey”.

i generally use my water-based moisturizer but sometimes for more hold, i use aloe vera gel or any gel without glycerin as it attracts moisture to the hair. my twist outs/braid outs don’t make it through hot and humid temperatures. and when humidity hits, my hair blows up! glycerin-based products definitely encourage the look! throughout the course of the day, it shrinks up to my shoulders! for this reason, i do more “out” styles in the spring and fall. as far as the frequency of your sets, i do “cheat” sets. i just re-twist or re-braid the bottom of the hair or “spot” twist/braid sloppy areas. this way i’m not braiding/twisting everything every night. that’s way too much time and manipulation for me!

size matters!
as you mentioned, the size of the braids or twists do matter! in contrast to your experiences, bigger sections work better for me. smaller sections come out too “skinny” looking in an ‑out style. however, smaller sections on any hair type do result in longer lasting ‑out styles (despite how it looks). another idea is to do what i do. i no longer do individual twists throughout my whole head because it takes way too much time! for a twist out, i do what i call “2‑strand flat twists”. it’s like a cornrow but instead of 3 pieces, you use 2. i make anywhere from 6–10 going down my head in whatever direction i want the resulting ‑out style to be in. it takes less time and my twist outs actually come out better than with individual twists (result in above photo).

my hair looks great! how do i keep it this way?!
as far as preserving it, it might help to loosely pin the twist out up at night. longer hair can be put in a loose pony or one loose braid. i know you said it didn’t work for you holly, but in terms of preserving a style a satin bonnet is your best option. the satin scarf will just flatten the style. the key is to get a bonnet that is very large. if it is too snug, it will flatten your hair just like the scarf. sometimes i’ll even sleep with my hair free as i sleep on a satin pillowcase. it’s usually fine the next day. thanks for the BGLH love and for your question 😉

as you suggested holly, i will open it up to the BGLH readers!
chime in ladies! what are your tips for holly?
~j~

*This post was originally published on July 15, 2009*

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LovintheBlessin
LovintheBlessin
11 years ago

I totally agree with much of what J said, I think that if the scarf and bonnet don’t work, a satin pillowcase might just save you.  One thing I’ve noticed is the longer I keep my twists in, the longer my twist-out lasts. So i might twist and leave it for two or three days and then rock a twist out. Also, it probably won’t look exactly the same the next day, but you can work with what you wake up with.  Often, I get a matted curly mess, but the twists are still defined, just clumped. In that case, I spritz… Read more »

? ? [m a r i . b e e]. ?
? ? [m a r i . b e e]. ?
11 years ago

what i do is sleep without a scarf. i find that scarves, hats, nets–whatever–flatten the twists/hair and make them ugly so i just sleep without a scarf but i don’t put my head directly on my pillow. this is soo uncomformtable, but i am able to keep my bantu knots-twist out in for about a week. i’m on a week and half now because i was lazy to wash my hair 😛 the curls/twists are a little looser now, and my relaxed ends are starting to say “hello,” lol but i think i should be good until friday…maybe hahaha my next… Read more »

Alicia
Alicia
11 years ago

I’m in the same boat as Holly. Well, I’m not recently natural but I still don’t know how to preserve a twist-out for more than like a day! My hair is more curly thank kinky and I think that has something to do with it. After about two days it just starts looking like normal (kind of puffy) curls instead of a defined style. I get stuck re-twisting every two days and that is no fun.  I do agree with J that flat two-strand twist make a cuter twist-out and are less work. I’m going to try sleeping w/out anything on… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

i generally put my hair in a bonnet. Then the next morning I hop in the shower and let cool water run over it and it will reset itself. This works great because you don’t have to worry about retwisting at night or slepping cute lol. However, after 3–4 days I will retwist the top to prevent frizz. That way you can keep your twistout for 1–2 weeks. 🙂

?reciä
?reciä
11 years ago

I agree with j. 2 strand cornrows ‑flat twist for quicker finish and more curls (small n quick) Pin them down and follow with either the scarf or bonnet. i guess the pillow case could work but i haven’t followed that one. It does indeed last longer on kinkier hair types.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

You have to experiment to really find what works for your hair. Take tips from other people, but find what really works for you. No 2 heads are the same. I have fine hair, so twist-outs don’t stay defined on my hair. I kinda like the look though. I keep twists in for 2–3 days, then take them out and work with whatever I get for the next 2 days. I sleep with a large satin bonnet and have found it to be very helpful in preserving whatever style I’m rockin. I kinda direct the hair toward the top of my… Read more »

sewdope
sewdope
11 years ago

hi- i sometimes just re-twist the back and sides before going to bed. the top of my hair stays pretty much the same as it did the day before. i also sleep on a satin pillowcase… no bonnet.

good luck!

Sheena
Sheena
9 years ago
Reply to  sewdope

same here…just retwist the sides and the front because the front is so loose. Also, when retwisting try making the twists bigger…it helps hold the style but doesnt give you a headache trying to retwist a million tiny twist

Shari
Shari
11 years ago

Thanks for this post, Jen!

SEWING STARDOM
SEWING STARDOM
11 years ago

i scrunch all my hair on the top of my head using a ponytail holder. this usually perserves the twist out!

Alicia
Alicia
11 years ago

Anonymous @ 3:29 am — you run cool water over your hair and it resets itself into the twist-out you just had? I’m confused. Running water over my head would leave me with a soaking wet head full of curls (I guess a wash and go look). You are able to keep a twist-out after you wet it? That is some magical hair. lol

Jai
Jai
11 years ago

I twist my hair while damp with my favorite hair butter or shea butter/coconut oil mix; I wear my twists for at least a week before doing a twistout(the longer I wear my twists the more defined my twistout is). I untwist my hair in the morning and at night I twist my hair in about 8–10 big twists and sleep with a satin bonnett. In the morning I untwist, fluff and go. Every two days before I do my big twists I mist my hair with water and add shea butter/coconut mix and continue this process until I wash.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

Dont’ comb.…retwist into big twist with a moisturizer…I have 4a hair and it last for at least a week.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

@ Alicia. Yes I run water over my hair every morning until Im ready to re-twist again. I really can’t explain why my hair resets itself but it does. So to answer ur question I guess I do have magical hair lol

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

Excellent question! I had to figure that one out on my own since I saw all these beautiful twist n curls and no one talked about how they made their hairstyles last. I agree with much of what’s been said. I generally add moisture and oils to my hair at night and either pin my curls (day 1) or put them back in a loose ponytail (day 2–6) with a satin scarf. My style generally lasts with a great gel or setting lotion which gives me defined curls. It’s good to know tho what others are doing to preserve their… Read more »

Holly
Holly
11 years ago

Thanks for the suggestions! I will be experimenting with some of your suggestions; hopefully some will work just fine!
Holly

Joven
Joven
11 years ago

I usually sleep w/ my hair out. i like the style more and more as it gets bigger each night. if i want it to be more defined for longer, i’ll do like 6 really big braids then curl them under like a pincurl, and pin it down for the night, and wear a bonnet. when i’m getting dressed i take my hair down 1st so that it has some time to fall. 

good luck!

The Notorious Z.A.G.
The Notorious Z.A.G.
11 years ago

My hair is curly and fine, the best twist-out is when I blow dry my hair first. I two strand twist, rock that for one week, untwist and rock the twist-out for a week. Wash and repeat. I touch up jacked up pieces the night before by re-twisting…and I use a satin scarf which does flatten my hair o_o but I wet with my hands and fluff it out… Also, spot twisting fuzzy sections on the way to where ever I’m going also helps. Good luck with the hottness!!!

SistaOpinion
SistaOpinion
11 years ago

I do retwist each night but I make big twists in most areas (smaller ones in the back, which always tends to flatten out). It helps to have the length to do it; shorter hair would require more twists and more time.

One thing that used to work for me when my curls were especially firm (thanks to my using gel or something similar) was to put the hair into about 6–8 sections, very loosely bun each section, and secure with a hairpin.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

I start with a new set that is braided at the root and double strand twisted to the ends. This makes it easier to cowash, quickly retwist weekly and change styles from an updo to free flowing. Nightly I use my daily spritz and grab about 6 large sections and braid or double strand twist (takes about 5 mins). In the morning I fluff and go (may put light oil on my fingers to fluff).

? ? [m a r i . b e e]. ?
? ? [m a r i . b e e]. ?
11 years ago

what i do is sleep without a scarf. i find that scarves, hats, nets–whatever–flatten the twists/hair and make them ugly so i just sleep without a scarf but i don’t put my head directly on my pillow. this is soo uncomformtable, but i am able to keep my bantu knots-twist out in for about a week. i’m on a week and half now because i was lazy to wash my hair 😛 the curls/twists are a little looser now, and my relaxed ends are starting to say “hello,” lol but i think i should be good until friday…maybe hahaha my next… Read more »

?reciä
?reciä
11 years ago

I agree with j. 2 strand cornrows ‑flat twist for quicker finish and more curls (small n quick) Pin them down and follow with either the scarf or bonnet. i guess the pillow case could work but i haven’t followed that one. It does indeed last longer on kinkier hair types.

? ? [m a r i . b e e]. ?
? ? [m a r i . b e e]. ?
11 years ago

what i do is sleep without a scarf. i find that scarves, hats, nets–whatever–flatten the twists/hair and make them ugly so i just sleep without a scarf but i don’t put my head directly on my pillow. this is soo uncomformtable, but i am able to keep my bantu knots-twist out in for about a week. i’m on a week and half now because i was lazy to wash my hair 😛 the curls/twists are a little looser now, and my relaxed ends are starting to say “hello,” lol but i think i should be good until friday…maybe hahaha my next… Read more »

?reciä
?reciä
11 years ago

I agree with j. 2 strand cornrows ‑flat twist for quicker finish and more curls (small n quick) Pin them down and follow with either the scarf or bonnet. i guess the pillow case could work but i haven’t followed that one. It does indeed last longer on kinkier hair types.

? ? [m a r i . b e e]. ?
? ? [m a r i . b e e]. ?
11 years ago

what i do is sleep without a scarf. i find that scarves, hats, nets–whatever–flatten the twists/hair and make them ugly so i just sleep without a scarf but i don’t put my head directly on my pillow. this is soo uncomformtable, but i am able to keep my bantu knots-twist out in for about a week. i’m on a week and half now because i was lazy to wash my hair 😛 the curls/twists are a little looser now, and my relaxed ends are starting to say “hello,” lol but i think i should be good until friday…maybe hahaha my next… Read more »

?reciä
?reciä
11 years ago

I agree with j. 2 strand cornrows ‑flat twist for quicker finish and more curls (small n quick) Pin them down and follow with either the scarf or bonnet. i guess the pillow case could work but i haven’t followed that one. It does indeed last longer on kinkier hair types.

? ? [m a r i . b e e]. ?
? ? [m a r i . b e e]. ?
11 years ago

what i do is sleep without a scarf. i find that scarves, hats, nets–whatever–flatten the twists/hair and make them ugly so i just sleep without a scarf but i don’t put my head directly on my pillow. this is soo uncomformtable, but i am able to keep my bantu knots-twist out in for about a week. i’m on a week and half now because i was lazy to wash my hair 😛 the curls/twists are a little looser now, and my relaxed ends are starting to say “hello,” lol but i think i should be good until friday…maybe hahaha my next… Read more »

?reciä
?reciä
11 years ago

I agree with j. 2 strand cornrows ‑flat twist for quicker finish and more curls (small n quick) Pin them down and follow with either the scarf or bonnet. i guess the pillow case could work but i haven’t followed that one. It does indeed last longer on kinkier hair types.

? ? [m a r i . b e e]. ?
? ? [m a r i . b e e]. ?
11 years ago

what i do is sleep without a scarf. i find that scarves, hats, nets–whatever–flatten the twists/hair and make them ugly so i just sleep without a scarf but i don’t put my head directly on my pillow. this is soo uncomformtable, but i am able to keep my bantu knots-twist out in for about a week. i’m on a week and half now because i was lazy to wash my hair 😛 the curls/twists are a little looser now, and my relaxed ends are starting to say “hello,” lol but i think i should be good until friday…maybe hahaha my next… Read more »

?reciä
?reciä
11 years ago

I agree with j. 2 strand cornrows ‑flat twist for quicker finish and more curls (small n quick) Pin them down and follow with either the scarf or bonnet. i guess the pillow case could work but i haven’t followed that one. It does indeed last longer on kinkier hair types.

? ? [m a r i . b e e]. ?
? ? [m a r i . b e e]. ?
11 years ago

what i do is sleep without a scarf. i find that scarves, hats, nets–whatever–flatten the twists/hair and make them ugly so i just sleep without a scarf but i don’t put my head directly on my pillow. this is soo uncomformtable, but i am able to keep my bantu knots-twist out in for about a week. i’m on a week and half now because i was lazy to wash my hair 😛 the curls/twists are a little looser now, and my relaxed ends are starting to say “hello,” lol but i think i should be good until friday…maybe hahaha my next… Read more »

?reciä
?reciä
11 years ago

I agree with j. 2 strand cornrows ‑flat twist for quicker finish and more curls (small n quick) Pin them down and follow with either the scarf or bonnet. i guess the pillow case could work but i haven’t followed that one. It does indeed last longer on kinkier hair types.

K.
K.
9 years ago

First I twist my hair in small sections when it’s damp/wet with a thick/creamy conditioner which gives me great hold. To make it last I retwist every night in big sections with no product or a little shea butter (or other non-water based product) if my hair feels dry which is usually not til the 3rd day. I’m talking BIG sections of maybe 10 twists at most and put on my scarf and go to bed. This takes all of 10 mins every night. When I wake up my hair is stretched and my curls are intact — all I… Read more »

K.
K.
9 years ago
Reply to  K.

My hair is 4A I would say.

Lita
Lita
9 years ago

Sounds silly, but how are you twisting your hair? I find that making sure to really twist each of the two sections makes as difference. Also, twisting on wet hair, while causing me tangles, makes a more defined twist out for me. The same goes for twists that have been wet/washed before drying and unravelling. My hair is thick and dense, but pretty much 4abxyz so holds braids and twists pretty well.

Ebony
Ebony
9 years ago

I apply coconut oil to the ends and re-twist every night…cover with a bonnet or silk scarf. Over time it becomes elongated and more flexible.

Lori
Lori
9 years ago

I cut off all my hair like 3 months ago just to get a new start I was natural. I was loving the low look but now my hair is growing and I need some Ideas what can I do with it now? It’s still short and I can’t really do anything with it.. Also I want my hair to feel soft is there anything I can use on it to make it look and feel soft and to bring my curls out more? PLEASE HELP.. Lady F Needing answers.

Shanna
9 years ago

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but It really depends on what is growing out of your head. There are people who can run through a rain storm and keep a twist out. For others, if they even look at water, their hair puffs up. Some people’s hair holds “sets” better then others. If you have, for lack of a better term, twist out resistant hair, the only thing that works is a strong gel, re twisting every night or keeping your twists in for 2–3 days before doing your twist outs. Try a few of the suggestions… Read more »

LBell
LBell
9 years ago
Reply to  Shanna

+1000 I wish more commenters would state the kind of hair texture they have because some (most?) of these techniques being cited will work for some, but they won’t work for all. Back when I wore twistouts with the goal of preserving the definition, my longest-lasting ones were either done with a strong holding product for twisting (usually gel) and/or were the result of twists that had been left in for 3–5 days. And even then, if ANY kind of moisture touched it — water, shower steam, humidity — it was over. But that’s my mostly-4b head talking…others’ may differ. Nowadays,… Read more »

Anastasia
Anastasia
9 years ago

Can anyone post a picture of how you pin your hair up at night. I’m having a little trouble visualizing. Is it like doing pin-curls?? Thanks!

mykelcarli
mykelcarli
9 years ago

I have a TWA but like to style my hair in the tapered twa look. I do little twistouts at the top of my head but the problem is that my hair kind of shrinks down to a shorter length and I’m driven to continually manipulate it to stand up higher so the style is more accentuated. Is there a way to keep twists in shorter lengths from shrinking and becoming shorter? thanks.

mykelcarli
mykelcarli
9 years ago
Reply to  mykelcarli

wanted to add the shrinking happens the same day that i do a twist out

Erica Sweeting
Erica Sweeting
9 years ago

I have a couple of different options that I use. Most of the time I just put it in a large bonnet like you suggested. If now, I might just retwist it as if I were doing another twistout, but It’ll be about half the amount of twists. Most of the time I do about 14 twists, at night I may do 6 or 7. And instead of combing them out and putting more product and spritz in it (like I do the first time I do the twist out) I’ll just grab a section of hair and LOOSELY retwist… Read more »

Smallfr
Smallfr
9 years ago

I first moisturize my hair. Then cover with scarf, then bonnet. In a.m. Fluff and go. My twist outs lasts 5–7 days. Benefit of kinky hair, holds styles well. I have very coily
and fine hair. I can twist with almost anything and it holds. But,wash n go 4 me is a mess!

Lynnette
Lynnette
9 years ago

I was having the exact Same Problem keeping up my twist out I have 2b-3b hair and the top of my head of hair gets straight within a day or so. But the advice I got it to wear my hair in a very loose puff on top my hair at night and wrap a scarf around that. My hair contains volume in the morning, I moisturize at night and un wrap and fluff it out.

Sherry
Sherry
8 years ago

Good evening ladies, I’m over 2yrs natural and I mostly do 2 strand flat twist using Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Shea Moisture products and Jane Carter products and also faithfully using my Huetiful Hair Steamer. The problem I come across is when I wake up and either the back or side of my twist are flat mind you I wear a roomy satin bonnet every night so it’s just coming from laying on it throughout the night. Can’t afford to be sleeping on my hands or hanging of the bed to keep the doo new. What would be a really… Read more »

SWEETLO
8 years ago

[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/P1010062.JPG[/img]

Rciyah
8 years ago

O M G! I JSUT ASKED THIS SAME QUESTION ON NATURALSUNSHINE.NING.COM AS I AM IN THE EXACT SAME BOAT AS YOU! My twist outs only last 4hrs then its frizz, more shrinkage and a hot mess! with what started so good! I don’t like the idea of gel all in my hair. Sticky is it not? I am now though a proud owner of shea moisture curl enhancing smoothie…I hear alot of positivity about this, so maybe it does depend on THE PRODUCT used before starting the twist out.….…Good luck to you Holly…AND ME. (sigh) lol

Stal
Stal
7 years ago
Reply to  Rciyah

I was in the same boat and I found out that glycerine really does destroy the longevity of my twist outs/flat twist outs…that awesome curl enhancing smoothie that I actually own too has glycerine high on the ingredient list so I suggest u don’t use it when u style. Try using a product with little to NO glycerine and is aloe-based, I find tat the aloe practically eliminates frizz resulting in a shiny perfect twist out! Good luck 🙂

Lisa
Lisa
8 years ago

For my two Strand twist out,at night i finger part my hair in four sections (any combination)put hair tyes on each section. Put a silk cap and go to bed. Next morning,take them off and take my fingers and to remove the parts by shaking my head with my fingers.It works and i have very thick hair.

Colette
Colette
8 years ago

Wonderful! I just love it. I’m going to have to try this soon because the small twist outs don’t look very good and take waaaay too long.

Gloria
7 years ago

Pineapple your hair (put it into a ponytail on top of your head) and sleep on a satin pillowcase. This will stretch your hair and keep the curl pattern defined through the night. This is easily the best method I’ve found for preserving my curls at night…my hair usually looks better the next day.

Also, retwisting into looser, bigger twists at night might help a little. Just put your hair into 8–10 big twists and sleep on those. You can separate the twists when you wake up in the morning into smaller, more defined curls.

Michelle@Radiant Brown Beauty

Grabbing all of the hair that’s been in a twistout and then putting it one loose braid with a tie on the end helps. I then lay on a satin pillow case (no bonnet.…to darn hot). Morning: Fluff with fingers, smooth any frizz with conditioner.

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chellechelle
chellechelle
7 years ago

Your hair is lovely!

Kim Jones
6 years ago

I have 4b hair. To maintain a twist out, I twist large sections of my hair at night. I end up with 8 large twists. I’m essentially twisting all the small twist outs in large groups. This keep them protected at night, and they stay moisturized because they’re all tucked away. I throw on a satin cap. In the morning I apply Aveda Anti-Humectant product to the large twists(works wonders for taming the frizz), then I take out the large twists. Amazingly everything pops right back in place. I can do this for about 4 days. See my blog for… Read more »

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