Troubleshooting the twistout. . .
Right after learning to comb through your hair exclusively with conditioner, comes one of the other hallmarks of naturally curly hair: the twistout. Whether done from a single twist (in this sense, usually referred to as a coilout), Senegalese twists or the basic two-strand twist, it's pretty much guaranteed to give you stellar results, no matter how un-stellar your twisting (or styling in general) skills tend to be. Except, that is, when they go wrong.
Here some are the most common errors that occur in twistout creation mode - and the workarounds that allow you to carefully skip the pitfalls like a pro.
Your hair was too wet
Whether you prefer to twist on 100% dry, or wet hair is a matter of trial, error and choice. Still, twists done on wet hair run two risks in particular. Styling on wet hair can dilute the product, making the hold less effective or otherwise unfavorably altering the consistency. And applying product onto wet strands which are already full to capacity, or close enough to it, might make your hair "reject " the product.
The results: the product never has time to sorb onto your hair so yields a straggly twistout that never fully forms. Or even worse, forms an unattractive, crusty layer on the surface.
The Workaround: Apply your product and create your twistout when your hair is 50-100% dry, varying the level of dryness to suit your hair's unique needs. If the deed is already done, see how much of the buildup you can remove by a quick douse with water. Then, create a fluffier free-form style with the aid of your fingers and a diffuser. If this doesn't work, you may have to re-wash and start from scratch.
Your twistout is covered in flakes
If it looks like it's snowing in summer, and only on top of your head, it's probably because of your product. Barring scalp issues, sometimes, if you use just a little too much of a certain product, you pay for it in flakes. Styling creams are notorious for this; some of them contain the same kind of fixatives as gels, alongside other ingredients that are prone to causing a white cast. Together, this combo can produce flakage galore.
Other times, it's a question of incompatibility between products - again, styling cremes tend to be part of the problem here; they are prone to taking issue with other creamy formulas, as well as with leave ins and gels. Gels, too can be extremely flake-prone, though formulas have vastly improved since the days where flaking from gel was almost a given.
The Workaround: Mix a small amount of all the products you are going to be using in your hair at once in the palm of your hands, before you style. If you notice any floccs (little lumps in the emulsion which show some of the solid parts coming out of the mix) then simply do not use; it will cause flakes. To be extra vigilant, even if you don't notice floccs, then wait for the product to dry. If there is only slight flaking this is not usually a reason for concern, as hair is usually a little more forgiving in this respect than skin.
Substantial flaking, though? Take that as a red flag. And here's a trick if you are using gel: apply some oil to your hair before you apply the gel, and again on the finished twists shortly before you take them down. This usually stops any flaking before it has a chance to happen, as well as adding a little polish to the hair.
Your styler was too weak
Many stylers do not have enough hold to create the twistout style. While some people are able to get pretty solid sets with products that have limited hold, like butters and creams, hair with a little more gumption will need a little bit more coaxing to get it into place.
The Workaround: Try adding gels to your twistout product list, or subbing them for the creamy stylers if those haven't produced results. The best gels for twistouts will have a strong to medium hold, be of a heavy, but not too stiff consistency, in order to provide control and molding. Also look for ingredients that give hold naturally like guar gum or acacia gum. These are gentler on the hair and even condition as they hold.
Be wary of the soft-hold shine gels: these usually have a solid consistency which rapidly melts on contact with the hair, disappearing and taking its hold with it. And make sure you skip alcohol containing gels; these allow the set to dry faster, but also dehydrate your hair as they do.
Your hair is tired of your styler
You've been using the same gel to keep your twistouts locked in place since you went natural, but all of a sudden it's not working anymore. You checked the ingredients and it doesn't look like they changed the formula. Still things somehow just ain't the same.
Though many in the haircare industry dispute this, many people do notice a kind of "product fatigue" after using the same formula, year in year out. Whether it is due to your hair getting "used" to the product or your hair actually changing over time (which it definitely does), is not always clear. Whatever the cause, it can be a huge obstacle, especially for those who searched for ages for their Holy Grail product, only to have it snatched away from them by the whimsy of their own strands.
The Workaround: Don’t let the fatigue happen. Always keep a good few 3-4 products in your hair toolbox, just in case one fails you, or if a product only performs seasonally (products with high levels of humectants, for example, can be this way). If the fatigue does happen, make sure you clarify your hair to be 100% sure that you and the product are no longer compatible. Sometimes, buildup can make your hair reject products it truly loves underneath it all. Ditto damage: snip it off and see if that helps.
If every measure fails, then there's just one thing for it: back to the beauty aisle to pick up trial (or the smallest available) size of a few new products. Make sure you read the label before you leave the store, to allow you to keep track of what will and will not work for your hair.
You didn't section well
Grabbing at your hair randomly and fixing it into free-form twists all over your head, might seem the way to go when you're pushed for time. Problem is, on taking it down, your twistout just-so-happens to look uneven.
While you certainly don't have to part your hair into identical geometric sections for a style where the twists themselves aren't the end results, you definitely need to keep it roughly even if you don't want the end results to look like an uneasy nest of wisps and chunks.
The workaround: Separate like crazy! Focus on the larger sections, sliding your fingers down the middle of them to split them into smaller and smaller segments, till they start to look like those formed from the smaller twists.
To prevent this problem before it even happens, try using two mirrors so you can see how the parts of your hair that are not so easily visible take shape.
Realising that even the easiest style in the world has its little tricky bits is a shock. But just putting in place these steps will allow you to achieve twistout consistency each and every time!
DHA Hair Care Experts
Dominican Hair Alliance