Category Archives: Protective styles

Six Benefits of Two Strand Twists

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Two strand twists are a staple style in the natural hair community and can be suitable for different hair lengths. Here are the benefits I have found by regularly styling my hair in this way. Putting your hair in two strand twists does not have to result in you looking like Celie in the color purple, or looking like a school girl. They can be both glamorous as well as practical. Here are six benefits:

Nikkimae's thick two strand twists.

Nikkimae’s chunky two strand twists.

Two strand twists are a great protective style

Styling your hair in this way is basically putting it away. There’s not much manipulation (if any) required, once this style is complete. Two strand twists are an excellent style for meeting your hair growth goals. It is very satisfying to see how much length has been retained once the twists are taken down. Even if you decide to wear your twists down, rather than pinning them up into an updo, you will at least be using a low manipulation style. Tucking your ends away will fully protect them and lead to even more length retention.

They are convenient

Although the initial installation of the twists can be time consuming, two strand twists save you time in the mornings. If you have a busy lifestyle and don’t have time to be styling your hair regularly, try two strand twists.  If done with the best method, they can last at least two weeks. They also work well for people who work out regularly as they hold up pretty well compared to styles that involve maintaining curls such as braid outs or twist outs.  When they start to look a little messy you can easily redo the front twists, rather than taking them all out and starting from scratch. They are also a practical style to do when going on holiday.

It is easier to moisturize your hair in two strand twists

To moisturize, simply spray lightly with water or a leave in conditioner and seal with a natural oil. Your hair is completely accessible with twists and you don’t have to worry about ruining the style. With other protective styles such as weaves and glued on wigs, your hair simply isn’t accessible. Any slight moisture with a twist-out can cause frizz and compromise the longevity of the style. This is not the case with two strand twists. Any frizz created is nothing that some water, aloe vera juice and a satin scarf couldn’t fix.

Two strand twists are very versatile

While your hair is in two strand twists, you can still enjoy many styles. They can be causal, formal,  intricate and original. Leave the twists down or pin them up into an updo. Combine the twists with flat twists or install them loosely for volume. They can be done large, medium or small, depending on your preference and how long you want to spend installing them. I enjoy wearing my twists in a bun, using a sock bun or pinning them to the side to create a low side ponytail. You can also try different decorative accessories, like flower clips and stylist head bands. Here are just some variations of two strand twists you can try.

  • Loose two strand twists
Loose two strand twists.

Loose two strand twists.

  • Twisted side bun 

This is one of my favourite two strand twist styles. I like to accessorize it with a large flower clip.  I also adapted this style to create a low side jumbo braid.

  • Intricate updos
updo (3)

Updo

They create a great twist-out at the end of the week

If you have an event to go to, simply take them out gently and you will have a great twist-out. Smaller twists create more definition and larger ones more volume. You could leave your twists in during the week then take them down for the weekend. They don’t have to stop you from enjoying your hair, quite the opposite in fact.

They are relatively easy to maintain

As mentioned before, If your twists start to look messy, simply redo the front ones that are visible. If you want to redo the whole head you can use your existing twists as a template.   Re-twisting your existing twists saves you time sectioning and parting your hair all over again. You can extend the life of the style for as long as you choose to, or until your next wash day. Some people even wash their hair in the twists and simply re-twist.  This is likely to reduce knots and tangles and make the hair easier to manage during washing.

Here are a few quick tips for maintaining your twists.

  • Keep your edges neat by spraying them lightly with water and putting your satin scarf on firmly. After 10-15 minutes your edges should be laid flat and neat.
  • Use aloe vera juice to banish frizz. The Ph level of aloe vera causes the hair cuticles to lay flat on contact. The result is less frizz and more shine. You can use aloe vera gel on your edges or lightly spray the juice all over your twists.
  • Use a rat-tail comb to part your hair neatly when installing the twists. This will help them appear neat for longer.
  • It is easier to install them on stretched hair as well, especially if you want length. You can stretch your hair using a blow dryer (try the tension method) or a heatless method.
  • If your twists start to shrink and you want your length back, wrap your twists at night. This is done in the same way relaxed hair is wrapped. Take a few twist at a time and wrap them in one direction around your head and pin down.
High Bun with Two Strand Twists

High Bun with Two Strand Twists

Do you wear two strand twists? Share your styling tips below.

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The Versatility of Natural Hair (Part 2)

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If you haven’t seen part 1 check it out. Here are some more examples of why natural hair is so versatile. It certainly dispels the myth that I had when my hair was relaxed, that you can’t do as much with natural hair. I haven’t covered everything as there are many more styles and techniques I am yet to discover myself. I hope this inspires you and really gets you to explore the different styling options available to you. Of course the beauty of natural hair is that it can be straightened as well. The only difference is that it isn’t permanent (if you take care when doing it). So  you can try out all these different styles and still straighten your hair occasionally or wear wigs and weaves. There are many options available to women with natural hair.

Puffs

This is definitely my back-up style. If all else fails I just put my hair in a puff.  I also found this style suitable for work and very convenient to do in the morning. You can cut off the leg of an old pair of tights or pantyhose and use that to put your hair in a puff.  Or you could use a stretchy headband. I use the Goody brand.  You don’t need to gel your hair back first, you could just use Shea Butter or Aloe Vera gel  to smooth your edges.

Side puffs

High Puffs

Normal Puffs

Curl formers

I haven’t actually tried these myself (curl formers are expensive!) but they show how versatile natural hair is. Check out these tutorials.

Short hair

Long hair

Flexi rods

Again I never thought it was possible to put natural hair in rollers or rods (I know, silly right?). I thought perhaps natural hair was too thick to stay in the rods and that our natural curl pattern would interfere somehow.  Anyway, below is my favourite flexi rod tutorial. These styles would be great for special occasions. Putting your hair in flexi rods or curlformers also helps to stretch out your hair, so you could take advantage of this by doing a twist-out or braid-out afterwards. It will turn out great with stretched hair.

Updos/buns

Great for work and formal occasions. There are so many updo styles I can’t list all of them in one post! Below are some of my favourite ones.

High bun

High bun (without donut piece)

Grecian inspired French twist

This is one of my favourite protective styles.  It is easy and quick to do and lasts for about one week. I can’t really do one big twist all the way around my head so I do two on either side.  Check out the tutorial below.

Cornrows and Flat Twists

These are great for protective styles and when you are transitioning.  I have started cornrowing my hair and it is a skill I really want to develop. I believe it is a skill that will come in handy when you have children. YouTube is great for learning how to cornrow and flat twist.  Below is a picture of a style I achieved through following a tutorial. The video taught me how to section my hair before cornrowing. Although it was a style done one a child’s hair,  I thought I’d give it a go, and I was happy with the results. Unfortunately that YouTube account has since been closed.

Cornrowed Bun

If you are feeling really creative natural hair is so versatile you could try out all sorts of styles with cornrows and flat twists.  You can even create your own styles when you become really good at it. Who knows what you could come up with? All it takes is practice and creativity and you could practically learn anything with YouTube

Felicia Leatherwood Cornrowed Updo

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Mini twists

This style is great for going on holiday or for when you miss your hair resting on the back of your neck. Mini twists are a good low manipulation style, meaning that once they are done you can leave your hair alone for a while. I usually try to keep them in for a month. You can wash and deep condition your hair in mini twists and you can curl them and try out different styles. Check out Naptural85’s tutorials and styling ideas on mini twists.

The Afro!

No explanation needed.

I hope this has been helpful. Share your favourite hair styling ideas here and anything I may have missed. I’m sure there is a lot more to discover.

A convenient protective style

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Protective styles are great for retaining length and very convenient since you don’t have to do anything to your hair once it is styled, other than moisturise it. This style is very easy to do and to moisturise you can keep it pinned up and simply spray our hair with water or you can let the twists down and use water and an oil of your choice (I use coconut oil) to moisturise the twists individually, then just pin it back up.

What you will need for this style:

>Bobby pins

>Hair pins

>A moisturiser of your choice (I use Shea butter and Coconut oil)

  • Create a side parting (quite far to the side)
  • Comb the other half sideways so  some of your hair falls over the side of your face

    After doing two flat twists on the side and two-strand twists with the rest of the hair

  • Make two flat twists on the side that has less hair
  • Then do medium-sized two-strand twists on the rest of the hair
  • Pin the twists together tucking in the ends  from the sides to the back
  • Use Bobby pins and Hair pins to secure as desired.

Give it a try and post questions below. If you are going out and you want to jazz up the style,  you can do a twist out but leave the flat twists on the side.  When I do this I will post some pictures.

You can also add a flower clip.

Tucking in and pinning down the ends

The back