Daily Archives: June 16, 2011

Senegalese Twists/Twist Out (Two-in-One!)


As my hair is fine and not tightly curled, I have problems with maintaining two strand twists as they tend to unravel at the roots and the ends. Last year, in my search for ways to address this problem so that I could wear twists, I came across a blog wherein a young woman explained the Senegalese twist technique. I decided to give it a whirl. Little did I know that the technique would not only enable me to maintain decent twists for a week, but the release would result in a second style. What’s better than a two-in-one?!?!

So, without further ado, here’s the bulleted tutorial with some pictorial and video assistance;-).

Senegalese Twists

  • Shampoo and/or co-wash hair and deep condition. Section hair into 4 sections and clip 3 sections out of the way.
  • Apply leave-in conditioner and styler to first section (optional: oil scalp).
  • Use a rat-tail comb to section hair for a twist. You can section in a square/grid method or with half-circles.
  • To create the twist, separate the section of hair into two pieces. Twist EACH piece, SEPARATELY, in one direction, close to the scalp. Then, take the two pieces and twist them together in the opposite direction. Before twisting each section together, continue to twist the individual sections in the opposite direction of the twist.  This creates a rope like effect and a tighter twist (see the video below).
  • Repeat until entire head is twisted, re-wetting hair as needed with water and/or leave-in conditioner).
  • Seal ends with oil/butter. Optional:  Set hair on rollers and allow twists to air dry or use bonnet dryer on low/medium heat.
  • Once dry, release and style as you please. Because my hair is fine and my twists are “scalpy,” I styled in an updo.

Maintenance: At some point during the first week, I did wet my whole head in the shower in an attempt to make the twists “plump.” It worked a little, but not enough for me to wear my hair down. I oiled my scalp, moisturized and sealed my ends with JBCO every couple of days.  I wore my hair like this for 10 days.

Senegalese Twist-Out

  • Carefully release twists allowing each section to remain intact. Hair will look “piecey.”
  • Spray released twists with a moisture spritz (I used 4 oz of distilled water, 4 oz aloe vera gel – the food quality kind, 2 oz DevaCare One conditioner, 1 tbsp of JBCO and a drop or two of lavender essential oil) and seal ends with oil/butter of your choice.
The separated twists should “plump” so that they look like long finger coils/locks. I was so pleased when I got this second style.  I only was able to wear it four additional days, but think I could have gotten another two out of it if I hadn’t gotten so spritz happy=).

If you decide to do this style and keep it in as long as I did, you must have patience, be gentle and prepare for a long detangling session. I typically shed a lot of hair and had a very large hairball after detangling. However, as I hadn’t done my hair for two weeks and the strands were shed and not breaking, I didn’t freak out.


Mineral Oil v. Coconut Oil


Around this time last year, I watched a youtube video on CurlyNikki’s site about pre-poos with coconut oil. The YouTuber mentioned that coconut oil is the only oil with molecules small enough that it can actually penetrate the hair shaft and enter the cortex. She then indicated that this unique ability of coconut oil enables it to prevent hygral fatigue. Hygral fatigue? What is that you ask? Well I did too. In my search for more answers, I found the information below in an article on NaturallyCurly.com.  It not only explained the benefits of coconut oil, but dispells the misconception that mineral oil has absolutely no benefits and is all bad.


Coconut oil and improved resistance to wash-wear

The presence of coconut oil inside the cortex of hair provides multiple benefits. It acts as a plasticizer to soften the hair and provide more flexibility and toughness. Coconut oil also increases retention of keratin molecules within the hair shaft, which reduces protein erosion that normally occurs during wash cycles. Continuous loss of protein over time from routine washing damages hair and can result in color fading, split ends, and breakage, so anything that can moderate this phenomenon is beneficial.

An additional advantage to coconut oil inside the hair shaft is that it decreases the amount of swelling of the hair shaft that normally occurs when immersed in water. Normally, when hair is saturated with water during the washing process, it absorbs up to 30% or more of its weight in water. This causes each strand to swell considerably, which can lead to several undesirable effects. Increasing the diameter of the hair shaft causes the outer covering of cuticle scales to lift and separate, which increases tangling and breakage. But, perhaps more subtle, is the damage done over time from many cycles of expansion and contraction.

Hair is a highly complex biomaterial composed of layers of differing materials, ranging from varying types of keratin structures to pigment molecules to fatty acids. When it is saturated with water and swells and then subsequently dries via natural or thermal means, it undergoes what is known as differential drying and differential deformation (because each separate type of molecule within the overall structure dries and deforms at differing rates). This leads to moisture-induced stress on the hair, which can lead to delamination (cuticle layer stripping off), breakage, fiber fatigue, and rupture (split ends). This whole phenomenon is referred to as hygral fatigue. So, anything that reduces hygral fatigue is great for the health of your hair in the long term.


As I often see people asking about the benefits of coconut oil, pre-poos and swearing off mineral oil as the devil, I thought this would be a good article to share. It lead to the addition of pre-poos, coconut oil and/or Vatika oil to my regimen. One caveat, I don’t like coconut oil as a sealer because it makes my hair feels like straw the following day (I use JBCO to seal; LOVES it!!). But coconut oil as a pre-poo and/or added to my deep conditioner is *mwah mwah*!!!


Later Today:
Senegalese Twists/Twist Out (Two-in-One!)
Question of the Day