In my natural hair journey, I've learned that technique can be just as important as the products, so I pose a question regarding styling techniques (including products used) that gives the best results for the most defined Twist-Out or Twist-n-Curl.
I've been playing around with this a lot lately... especially considering that Twist-Outs and Twist-n-Curls are my signature styles! My most recent experiments have resulted in the following implementations:
Flat twist the roots for a more consistent pattern. I guess I don't quite mean flat twist — take the section you wish to twist, and separate out the uppermost layer. Two-strand twist that layer 5-6 times, and then grab the rest of the hair in that section and two-strand twist to the ends. I hope that makes sense.
Before, when I was only securing the roots with a duckbill clip, they still managed to come undone and take on their natural texture rather than the wavy texture the twists created on my length. This has definitely changed my life.
Obviously, smaller twists result in a tighter curl/wave pattern, and larger twists result in a looser curl/wave pattern. I like to make 8-11 twists depending on my mood. The pic above is the result of probably 10 or so twists.
I get the BEST sets on days after an overnight henna treatment. The Twist-n-Curl lasts longer, holds better and frizzes less. Plus, my curls hang well and always come out super chunky and cute. Whenever I have somewhere important to go, I'll try to squeeze a henna session in shortly beforehand.
As far as products, I guess it depends on the time of year. Right now, I'm trying to listen to my hair and obey the 'dew point' rules. I have very fine, overly porous hair. It readily and easily absorbs moisture from my shower and products, releases it just as quickly, and then drinks up atmospheric moisture like there's no tomorrow — leaving my once-defined Twist-n-Curl poofy, and frizzy. I don't hate the look, but it doesn't feel good to the touch (rough and sticky even), and it sucks to put a lot of time into a style only to have it puff out on you.
With that said, fine, overly porous folks like me should stay away from glycerin and other humectants in the summertime — my hair needs no help absorbing moisture from the air. I'm actually looking into some anti-humectants! Aveda makes one, and I believe their Defining Whip also has a few anti-humectant properties in it as well (although I can't tell... it's not doing much by way of humidity). Synthetic ingredients I'm looking for are isopropyl palmitate or certain silicones. But shea butter, coconut and olive oil, beeswax, and hydrogenated castor oil are all known for their ability to function well in high-humidity climates. Anti-humectants coat, flatten, and seal the external cuticle layer of the hair strands, which means build-up is definitely a risk. I'd definitely have to keep shampoo on deck.
Another way to keep the frizzies at bay is to make sure your hair is already saturated with moisture and sealed in so that it doesn't look to the atmosphere to quench its thirst.
Apply your leave-in and/or styler to damp, not soaking wet hair. This is HUGE for me. My results are fuller, chunkier, longer (less shrinkage) Twist-n-Curls. After my detangling session, I rinse all of the conditioner out of my hair and get out of the shower. I wring my hair a bit, and then blot with a terry cloth towel, Curl Cloth, or whatever I have at hand. I then pull out my computer and waste time... at least 10-20 minutes to give my hair time to dry. Once much of the water is gone, I apply my leave-in and styler in sections, twist, roll, and VOILA! My hair dries faster and my sets are all the more beautiful.