I know this sounds absolutely crazy but i have come to realise that it’s most definitely essential for me to take certain precautions with my techniques whilst my hair is in protective twists.
The point of me wearing my protective twists is to protect my hair from the harsh cold of the winter and therefore maintain it’s health and retain length. Some ladies choose to wear extensions (braids, twists, cornrows) others choose to wear weaves and some wigs, but i’ve decided to leave the artificial hair alone this winter and just care for my own hair. So putting my hair ‘away’ in these twists is my way of protecting it through the winter.
However it’s coming to my attention that if i don’t properly care for my twists using the right techniques then this whole process could be counterproductive, even damaging.
The potential problems
- Straggly ends – I can see this becoming a problem if i don’t take the time to undo the twists carefully. The ends have the potential to break and get damaged by too hasty a take down.
- Excessive breakage – This is one reason why i do my twists quite chunky. This stops my hair from clumping and knotting in too small a section so it’s easier for me to detangle. You’ve heard me mention detangling several times in the past few posts because this could really cause irreversible damage to my hair and cause too much hair to be lost or broken if proper precautions are not taken.
- Dry ends – As the ends are the only parts of my hair to be constantly exposed it can become very dry and cause breakage. This will exasperate the straggly ends i mentioned earlier
My strategy for protecting my hair
- Keep my twists chunky to minimise breakage from excessive shedding during takedown. I only keep my twists in for 1, sometimes 2 weeks at a time so it’s important that i don’t make the twists too small to keep the ends healthy.
- Take my time in undoing the twists. Especially the ends, as this part has the tendency to be ripped through, causing straggly, split ends.
- Moisturise my hair every day/other day with my spritz mix and seal with my oil mix or whipped shea butter mix, focusing on the ends to keep my twists moisturised and soft.
- Pre-poo overnight if possible before every wash to help soften the hair and make detangling easier.
- Oil-rinse in the shower to add extra softness and provide slip to make separating the clumped strands easier and lessen breakage.
- Detangle gently with the Tangle Teezer from ends to roots in small sections to reduce clumped breakage.
If you decide to wear you hair in twists or braids over the winter then i would advise you to follow similar rules to gain the maximum benefits of your protective styling. You can keep your twists in for longer periods of time, like 3-4 weeks at a time, which is fine and even recommended by most naturals. But even more precautions must be put in place as the hair can almost loc when kept in for long and will be quite hard to detangle.
Long Term Twists Tips
- Minimise washing to just once a week if you have the tendency to wash more often.
- Pre-poo when you takedown the twists overnight and incorporate oil-rinsing in your wash routine to help soften and separate your strands for easier detangling.
- Make sure you deep condition as well to add in maximum moisture to help keep your hair supple whilst in those twists.
- Resist the temptation to skip moisturising your twists. It’s so easy to just pass over this step but if you do, you’ll have dry crunchy hair at the end which will crumble and break when it comes time to take it out!
- Detangle even more gently. Set aside some time during a day that you’re not busy. Remember your hair would have been clumped together for weeks so will not easily separate. Gently, gently will get the tangles out without breakage.