Most naturalistas can agree the toughest part of their haircare regimen is wash-day followed by achieving the perfect twist-out. Beyond adding much-needed definition to your unique kinks, coils, and curls, twist-outs also serve as an amazing protective style while eliminating frizz and avoiding breakage.
Don’t get it twisted—there are a ton of how-to tutorials floating around, but we when straight to the source for the best advice—celebrity hairstylist Vernon François. He works with the likes of Lupita Nyong’o, Ava DuVernay, Cynthia Erivo, Serena Williams, Solange Knowles, and Tracee Ellis Ross, so naturally he has the hair game on lock. We asked him some of your most common questions to help you get one step closer to your dream curls. Scroll down for his hot hair advice plus a video tutorial featuring Vernon.
Q: How long does your hair actually have to be for a successful twist-out?
Vernon: Any length! ½ inches or longer is preferred. The secret to a successful twist-out is keeping your hair in the twist as long as possible so the pattern sets and holds more easily, that way you will have a nice twist consistency.
Can all hair textures benefit from a twist-outs from 2A to 4C—why or why not?
Q: Yes, all hair types can benefit from a twist-out. There are many different ways that you can do a twist-out even if you have wavy, curly or coily hair such as a 1-strand twist with your finger or a 2-strand twist. For example, wavy hair can be semi-dried, twisted into a two-strand twist and pinned to the scalp to let it set.
Q: Give us the scoop on the step-by-step process on how to start the twist-out process from start to finish?
VF: First, separate your hair into four sections so each section is neat. Once sectioned, use your finger to pick sections from each one of the four sections and use a centimeter by centimeter for width then twist away! The more freehand you are, the more authentic the look.
The goal is to make sure the twist is to the root, very tight and make sure to ravel it through your finger. Continue to twist towards the end so it doesn’t bunch. Spray ends with moisture spray or leave-in conditioner to ensure hydration. For coily and kinky hair types, let hair dry naturally.
For soft curls, use a diffuser to speed up the process but make sure to leave hair twisted for a couple of hours to make sure it’s very dry.
Finally, untwist hair and brush out with a wide tooth comb to provide volume and enhance your beautiful curls.
Want to see Vernon's method in action? Check out the video below made exclusively for BET.com.
Q: What tools and products do you recommend for twist-outs?
VF: For the twist-out process, I use VERNON FRANÇOIS® Pure~Fro® Loc and Twist Holding Wax ($20, and VERNON FRANÇOIS® Styling~Cream ($25) both launching soon at Sephora.
The Pure~Fro® Loc and Twist Holding Wax is perfect for kinky/coily hair types and it also adds a glossy finish. The Styling~Cream provides a light weight but strong hold for styling and leaves no residue, this cream is for all-hair textures.
Q: Some girls straighten their hair and/or stretch the curl before twisting it out. Is that really necessary?
VF: Yes, I love the idea that girls straighten their hair before twisting it out. I think it’s one of the strengths of managing coily and kinky hair because you can manipulate in so many ways while still wearing it in its natural state. I think it’s very necessary and something everyone should explore when looking for new hair opportunities and methods to twist-outs.
Q: Do I really have to sleep on my twist-out overnight—or can I achieve the same result in a rush?
VF: I would advise to sleep on your twist-out because the longer you can leave it in, the better they will look! You can do it in a rush but your root may be exposed to moisture allowing your hair pattern to kink in a different curl pattern. Drying your twist-out is key so if you’re in a rush, make sure that is handled!
Q: Do weaves and/or wigs benefits from the twist-out method? Do I need to use lighter or different products?
VF: Weaves and wigs definitely benefit from the twist-out method. It’s important to treat them like your own hair. Be sure to section and twist your hair before bed and if you sleep with your wig or weave, make sure to wrap it in a silk cap which will help retain moisture and maximum your hair pattern.
Q: Ok, so my hair didn’t turn out as planned, what can I do to save my hair so I don’t look crazy?
VF: Hair never turns out as planned! Always have a Plan B or Plan C but note that even if your hair doesn’t turn out as planned, styling it will be amazing. Styling your hair from a twist-out needs to be open-minded. Deep partings work really well, but when in doubt put it in a ponytail—and you’re set!
(Photos from left: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images for Women In Film, LA, Max Mara, and BMW, Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, Mike Windle/Getty Images)