Byrdie September 7, 2023



10 Twist Out Tips to Maintain Your Curls for Longer


When it comes to protective styles for natural hair, twist-outs are an obvious favorite. The technique is fairly simple, you take two sections of your hair and twist them, leave them in for a few hours or overnight and then unravel them. It's also a good hairstyle to wear if you're trying to prevent heat damage to your hair as the style can be done with no heat at all. If wash-and-gos aren't for you then twist-outs might be a good alternative.

However, anyone with natural hair knows that perfecting the look and making sure the hairstyle lasts for at least a day can take a bit of trial and error. There's nothing like unravelling your twist-outs, heading outside and realising that your twist-outs no longer look twist-outs only after a few hours. To make sure that the above scenario doesn't happen to you and that your twist-outs not only last for a day but even longer, please read on for some expert-approved tips.


Leigh Hardges is a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago. 

Korell Williams is a hairstylist at Amazon Salon in London, UK.


It's All in the Preparation

If you don't prep your hair before you start twisting, then your twist-outs won't last long and probably won't come out as well as you expected. The first step is to use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner to ensure that the hair is clean and well moisturised. This goes without saying but make sure you follow up this step with thoroughly detangling your hair. "This will help you avoid any knots or tangles during the twisting process," says Korell Williams at Amazon Salon.

Use Water as a Base

"The key to the perfect twist set is water," says Leigh Hardges. Hardges emphasizes this is especially important for high porosity hair, as it needs to be saturated with water for a successful twist set. Applying all your hair product for a twist out in the shower isn't ideal, but a spray bottle will help you re-saturate each section as you layer. Pattern's Mist Spray Bottle ($13) is great for giving your curls a continuous fine mist in a prolonged spray.

Try a Curl Cream and a Mousse

Sometimes a curl cream on its own isn't enough so you might need to combine it with a mousse to achieve good curl definition, hold and shine. We suggest adding The Doux's Mousse Def Texture Foam ($15) to your twist-out routine. As for the curl cream, it's best to look for one that provides hydration to help soften your hair and avoid 'crunchy' twist-outs. "I typically use a curl cream like Oribe Curl Butter ($46) for a twist set," says Leigh Hardges.

Apply Products In Even Sections

To avoid uneven twist-outs, Williams says that it is best to part your hair into even sections using a rat-tail comb and then apply your products. You may want to layer all of your products on your entire head, but it's also best to apply products section by section, encourages Hardges. This way you make sure the product is evenly distributed from root to tip and you don't end up with hair that is weighed down and looks greasy.

Try adding a mousse to your twist-out routine.

Try Smaller Twists

Smaller twists may 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. "Divide each section into two smaller sections and twist them around each other from the roots to the ends. Make sure to twist tightly enough to hold the curl pattern, but not so tight that it causes tension," Williams adds.

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 may even last a couple days.

Try a Pineapple

Pineappling is an excellent tool for natural hair. "For maintenance, a 'pineapple' is worry-free," says Hardges. "Lean the head over, upside down, and tie a scarf around the sides and back. When you come up, your hair will bear resemblance to the plume of leaves atop a pineapple." When it's time to fluff your twist out, Hardges recommends styling at the scalp to prevent disrupting your curls. 

Don't Forget a Silk or Satin Scarf

To preserve your twist out overnight, sleep on a silk or satin surface to help prevent friction and moisture loss. We recommend using Grace Eleyae's Adjustable Slap - Satin-Lined Cap ($20) as you can adjust to it make sure it fits you perfectly. If a silk or satin bonnet isn't your thing and you're also scared that it could slip off your head during sleep, then opt for a satin or silk pillowcase instead — your hair and your skin will thank you.

Don't Rush The Process

Yes, we know that doing twist-outs can be tedious and can cause your arms to ache after awhile but please don't rush the process. As we most things in life, good results take time. Also don't rush to take your twist-outs before your hair has fully dried as this may reduce curl definition and lead to more frizz. "Let your twists air-dry completely before unraveling them, you will need to wait a few hours or even overnight," Williams says.

Embrace Frizz

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 may swell and want 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.