By: Kristen Bingle | Photo: The Gloved Natural
Looking for a style that offers protection and hydration? Think two strand twists. The two strand twist, also known as twists or mini twists, is one of the most popular protective styles for natural hair amongst Black women. It’s easy to see why—twists can be done yourself, they’re relatively simple to install (and remove), and they are very low maintenance. They also work well on absolutely any natural texture. Take a look at some of our favourite two strand twist styles below.
(Click photos to expand).
The twists are created by wrapping–as the name suggests–two strands of hair around each other from root to ends. Most women will have their hair twisted with additional hair but using your natural hair is just as, if not more, beneficial. When using synthetic hair, you can choose your length and colour and you can create other looks, such as Senegalese or Marley twists. The main difference between two strand twists with your natural hair and using synthetic hair is that you’ll split a strand of the additional hair between the two sections of your own hair before you begin the twisting process.
Although it’s a very simple style, twists can take several attempts to really master. Our handy guide below gives you all the key information you need to create your best twists yet.
Let’s talk benefits
The main benefit of two strand twists is that they’re a low-maintenance and low-tension protective style. They require relatively less maintenance (than other protective styles) whilst they are installed, which ultimately limits how much you’re manipulating your strands. This will help you to retain length. Twists also do a great job of retaining moisture in your hair—but this is only the case if you start on thoroughly moisturised hair. Another benefit is that when you don’t add any extra hair to your protective style (as is the case with these two strand twists), you’ll have more access to your own hair and scalp, so it’s a lot easier to keep them both clean and moisturised
As you’re not using any synthetic hair and you don’t need a professional stylist, two strand twists are also great if you’re trying to save those coins. By installing the twists yourself, using your natural tresses, you’ll also save on time with installation lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the size of your twists, the thickness of your hair and how quickly your hands can work. Twists are relatively easy to install and remove as well — which is half the battle when it comes to protective styles.
Because they give your hair more hang two strand twists also offer lots of versatility. You can go for chunkier twists or use smaller strands for a sleeker look. You can also tie the twists up into a ponytail, a bun or try out some other styles. Once you remove your twists, you’re left with a completely new look — a twist out. Some women also choose to adorn their twists with beads and embellishments, so the possibilities really are endless.
How to two strand twist your hair?
Prepping Your Hair
- The key to achieving your best two strand twist look is to start on fresh clean hair. Vlogger Brianna Lynee starts on damp to dry hair as this offers longevity and less shrinkage. You could start on soaking wet hair if you prefer, as you’ll achieve more hold and definition this way.
- The next step is to moisturise your strands. Either the LOC (layering a leave-in conditioner, then an oil and finally a cream onto your hair) or LCO (using a leave-in conditioner, cream and then an oil) method will work well here. Try to find a leave-in conditioner that will offer your strands maximum hydration and a cream that will give you hold and definition. This will help your twists stay intact longer. Using a gel can also be helpful but opt for something that won’t leave your hair crunchy or lead to flakiness. You can apply the product to your strands section by section as you twist your hair.
- Next, your hair needs to be thoroughly detangled — a wide toothed comb, Tangle Teezer or Denman brush is ideal as these will be able to deal with knots your fingers may not be able to.
Twisting Your Hair
- Now that your hair is moisturised and detangled you can proceed to parting your hair. Decide how thin or thick you want your twists and use this as a guide for your partings. For sleek roots, use some edge control at the top of your hair. This will also help to keep frizziness at bay over the next few days and weeks.
- Then you can begin twisting your hair, starting at the root and working your way down to the ends. The twist is created by wrapping two strands of your hair around each other — it’s almost like doing a braid, but you’re using 2 strands not 3. You can wrap the hair in any direction, working towards the front or towards the back.
- Alternatively you could start by doing a braid (using 3 strands) closer to the top of your head, to create more hold for your edges, then splitting the 3 strands into 2 and continuing the twists as in step 2. Be extra careful when taking down your twists if you decide to use this method.
- When you get to the ends of your hair, don’t twist the strands all the way down. Instead, wrap the ends around your index finger a few times to create a curl that will hold the twists in place. This will make the take down process easier as you won’t be dealing with tiny bits of twists to loosen up. Many factors will determine how long the twists take to install but it can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours.
See how vlogger MsVaughnTV creates the perfect two-strand twists protective style in this tutorial using the braid then twist method.
Maintaining your mini twists
It’s recommended that you keep your two strand twists in for about two to three weeks. You can wash your scalp whilst your hair is in twists but this will loosen the roots and lead to frizziness. Minimise frizz by using the pads of your fingers to gently massage your scalp and wash your hair in sections.
Keep your strands moisturised between washes by spraying a mix of water and conditioner onto your hair, focusing specifically on the ends—this is also a great way to refresh flattened twists or give them a new lease on life. You may also choose to use an oil on your scalp to lock in moisture, but be sure not to over oil your scalp as this can lead to itchiness and product build-up.
When sleeping, make sure you’re using a silk pillowcase or bonnet to prevent your twists from becoming frizzy and to retain moisture. If you do regular exercise, tie your twists up into a bun or loose ponytail whilst you workout.
How long will the twists last?
You can get a good two weeks out of your twists, even longer, but the roots will start to frizz. Depending on how much you care about frizz and also depending on how well you keep your scalp and hair clean, you might be able to stretch the two weeks to three or even four. Vlogger Jenn Jackson shows what her tiny mini twists from day 1 through day 22. See video below.
Tips and tricks for the perfect two strand twist
- Minimise frizzing by using edge control at the top of your twists and making it slightly tighter at the root (but not too tight as you don’t want to cause any tension on the scalp).
- If you’ve started your twists on wet or damp hair, make sure that your hair is dry before you head to bed. Sleeping with wet hair (even with a silk bonnet or pillowcase) doesn’t allow the style to set and will cause frizziness.
- Although smaller twists are more time consuming, they do last longer.
When it comes to taking down twists it’s important to be gentle, especially when you’re working with the ends of your hair. You can use some oil or water on your ends to make the process easier and to keep your ends hydrated. Vlogger Tyiece has a great detailed tutorial on how to take down twists.
So there you have it. The ultimate guide to creating your best two strand twist yet. Two strand twists have been a staple in the natural hair community for a while but they’re always overlooked as they’re so simple. However the benefits are virtually endless — from protecting your strands, to saving on money and time, the two strand twist can do it all.