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Curly Nikki

Washing in Twists

By January 27th, 202133 Comments

Washing in Twistsby Shelli of Hairscapades

I’ve never had a problem with my hair re-tangling after a detangling session. So, when I initially read about the technique of twisting for washing, conditioning and deep conditioning, I didn’t think it was necessary or relevant for my curl pattern/texture. However, several months ago, I started to twist my hair into four sections after applying a DC. Then, when I started pre-pooing and dry finger detangling, I started to twist my hair as I applied my pre-poo of choice (coconut or Vatika oil at the time). Next, I started to twist my hair after I co-washed and detangled each section. Now, I use twists throughout my wash day routines. The reason I’ve done so is because I’ve found that the twists seem to prep my hair to retain TnC and twist out sets. I have about 4 different textures on my head (who doesn’t, right?) and this process of setting the twists seems to create a “memory” for my hair to follow that wave pattern. However, I believe my TnC and twist-out sets have greatly improved in consistency of pattern, definition and hold from using twists throughout my wash session.

Washing in Twists

Do you wash in twists?


  • Sydney Brown says:

    Hi Lydia! Thanks for the question :) ! My process is as follows: Once a week I fully finger detangle my dry hair and then apply extra virgin coconut oil (pre-poo) to all of my hair. I tie it up with a clip, put on a plastic cap and then I'll either leave the oil on for a few hours or if I don't have the time, I'll sit for about 30 minutes under my hooded dryer. I let my hair cool down a little then hop in the shower and rinse my hair for about 3 minutes (until fully soaked) and then I cleanse. I alternate throughout the month between using a sulfate free shampoo (creme of nature argan oil shampoo), co-washing with tresemme moisture rich conditioner, or a bentonite clay treatment. After cleansing I detangle (with fingers and my Ouidad double detangler) using loads of Tresemme moisture rich conditioner. I split my hair in two halves and then working from the back forward I further divide into small sections that I drown with conditioner and then detangle. Once I've fully detangled I add more conditioner and manipulate my scalp to get off any residual gunk then I fully rinse with warm/lukewarm water. I then lightly t-shirt try my hair and apply my DT. My DT staple is Miss Jessie's Rapid Recovery. Know I know a lot of people are anti-MJ but this product is amazing and I can honestly credit it with keeping my hair on my head when I used to blow dry and flat iron weekly (ugh, I had no clue back then). Another DT that I love and is SUPER inexpensive is Lustrasilk aloe vera cholesterol. I actually ran out of MJ last night so I used this and my hair feels awesome. When I DT with MJ I will sit under under my hair steamer for 2 full sessions or I'll throw on a plastic cap and sit under the dryer for 30minutes. With the cholesterol you don't need a heat cap so I just left it on for 30 minutes. ****Here is the kicker**** Before you rinse out your DT, apply on top of it a cheapy conditioner to "seal" in your DT. If you've used heat, first allow your hair to cool, apply the cheapy conditioner all over and then rinse them both together and you will be amazed! Promise! After I rinse out my DT, I towel plop then apply my home made curl refresher spray (aloe vera juice, olive oil, argan oil, and grapeseed oil) to my whole head and top that with Shea Butter Leave In. I divide my hair up and put it in 22 twists using the refresher spray first, the leave in, and then seal all that with One N Only's Argan Oil treatment. Sorry for rambling but this process is working wonders for me! I have 4a hair and it is now past bra strap length and retains moisture for days after this process. I re-seal my twists with oil at night and will use my refresher spray as needed. I can get about 3/4 days out of them before I have to undo smooth and re-twist certain sections. Hope this is helpful!

  • Lydia G. says:

    What is your deep treatment process? What do you put on your hair?

  • Sydney says:

    I don't wash in twists because it just adds more steps to my already extensive wash day routine. I find that since I always pre-poo, use sulfate free shampoo, super slippery co-washing conditioner, and an out of this world DT that my hair does just find in a loose state on wash days.

  • LaTissa ChaNelle says:

    I just started experimenting with a pre-poo/detangle/wash in twists routine, and it worked wonders! I had sooo many probs with detangling while wet, i have a patch of thick unruly hair right at the crown of my head, and this seemed to really wrangle it in :)

  • Unknown says:

    I'm definitely a wash in twist kinda girl, I find that since I don't ever have a lot of product build up, its no point to focus on the hair, but the cleansing of my scalp. Washing in twists also helps me to remember the way I twisted my hair for my styling process. Doing this has cut my hour long process to thirty minutes.

  • Unknown says:

    I've recently began washing in twists. The jury's still out. My detangling sessions are shorter but I'm not sure if it's that or the new products I've been using.

  • Naturally Twisted Hairstyles says:

    Since I keep my hair in small to medium sized twists (most of the time), I decided I would try washing and conditioning my hair with them in. It's worked out; I feel like my hair and scalp are clean and conditioned, and since I generally redo my edges around the time that I co-wash, fuzziness isn't an issue.

  • Vernadette says:

    I have been washing my hair in twists for over a year…if I didn't I would have a matted tangled mess! My hair is about 4b and super thick…so washing in twists is a must for me.

  • Lana says:

    Now that my hair is longer, I've just started washing in twists. My hair is VERY thick! So this process takes forever…but I do like the results, in that my hair stays detangled. Perhaps I'll try the braids next. I'm also having issues of unraveling.

  • Anonymous says:

    Anon @ 8:23- no disrespect, but you sound like one of those "natural police". relax.

  • cellotlhicks says:

    I wash in braids. i finger detangle and braid it into about 10 sections and then wash and DC.

  • hairscapades says:

    Anon. @ 4:46, some don't find it necessary or helpful with shorter hair, but if you have enough to twist or braid, you can probably do/try it so see if the added step is of any benefit. Again, as you see above, many twist or braid their hair in sections to prevent/reduce tangles after the hair has been detangled (by fingers, denman, wide tooth comb or whatever the detangling method of choice is).

    To those who commented that they use braids, this is a post I wrote in the summer. I actually have started experimenting braids about 2 months ago. I started reading Chicoro's Grow It and she talked about using loose braids. I decided to experiment with those instead of twists because of the reduced tendency to unravel (a problem I had with twits) and the idea that braids provide more surface area than twists, thereby enabling more even product distribution and thorough rinsing.

    Anon. @ 8:23, no, not in a permanent manner anyway. If the hair doesn't dry in the twists, then it won't retain the pattern of the twists. Essentially, the principle is the same as any wet set with rollers, flexis a braid or twist out. It only relates to a set that hair is allowed to dry in fully. So, if I'm doing a braid or twist out (which I tend to do to stretch my hair for a protective updo … right now I'm in Afro Puffy Twists though), then the twists throughout the process seem to make the set hold better (my hair tends to frizz and lose definition quickly). When I do WnGs though and allow my hair to air dry without any setting techniques, then my natural curl pattern is the result.


  • Dana says:

    I try to wash in twists to minimize tangles when using a mudwash, clarifying, and for better product distribution, but it just seems to add so much time to my pre-poo, wash, and condition time that I usually forego it.

  • ChicaRizada94 says:

    My hair's not long enough to wash in twists yet…it's only about 3.5 inches long stretched, on average. But I do try to section my hair into chunky twists for the detangling process, which works well.

  • Anonymous says:

    "and this process of setting the twists seems to create a “memory” for my hair to follow that wave pattern. However, I believe my TnC and twist-out sets have greatly improved in consistency of pattern, definition and hold from using twists throughout my wash session."

    Create a memory? Twist set greatly improved consistency of pattern?

    So your basically training your hair with twist to follow a curl pattern that's not your own?

  • Claire says:

    I recently started cowashing in twists. I kind of wish I'd started doing it sooner. It's saved me from a lot of hair stress.

  • Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a formula for success!

    Has this worked for others with shorter (5 inch) 4c hair?

  • Anonymous says:

    Oops sorry about the typo should be "wish mom knew…"

  • Anonymous says:

    Yep sure do, every since it started growing out and saw Naptural85 do it, my hair twin–so much easier…which mom knew about this 40 some years ago!

  • MB430 says:

    I wash and condition my hair in smallish braids(10-12)after dry detangling with my fingers. I used to do the standard detangling with conditioner in the shower in 4-6 twists, wash each section, and re twisting etc but I discovered that was the cause of my SSK's. All those tiny 4a curls snapping back after each pass of my comb were knotting up on each other and defeating the purpose of combing. I've only had to cut off SSKs here and there since I stopped wet combing so I'm certain that was the cause.

  • mangomadness says:


    I detangle each section (8-10 of them) with my pre-poo, twist it up and let it sit under a plastic cap. Then, I shampoo (with the twists in), moisturize, style and seal (edges and ends). Washing in sections cuts down on tangles and breakage in my tightly coiled hair.

    Doing everything in sections (detangling/pre-pooing, washing, moisturizing snd styling) makes every hair-related task easier and more effective.

  • Anonymous says:

    I work out (hardcore, sweaty cardio) six times a week. So, I had to find a regimen which could benefit my hair, be fast and fit into my work/life schedule and allow for reduction of sweaty hair. So, I do the following 2-3 times per week and on weekends I do a deep treatment and/or henna. Seems to work well, so far.
    I have 3b-3c hair that is on the finer side. I have never had much of a problem detangling. I completely soak my hair with water then place conditioner on in sections. I use a Jilbere shower comb to comb conditioner through, part in four sections, twist each section, then a "tie" the 2 sections that are on each side of my head together. I perform other shower duties then lightyl run head under water to get 50% of conditioner that's closer to the scalp washed out. Since the ends are protected with each other (from the previous "tie" process), they keep the conditioner.
    I then use a microfiber towel to get excess water out, leaving it damp. Sometimes I untie the 2 sections of twists (which contain 2 twists each), place a bit of oil on the ends, tie them back together and place a satin scarf on my head. In the morning, i take it down and could either wear it out or out it in a bun. So easy and I always have clean, well conditioned hair.

  • Jada07 says:

    I don't start out in twists but I do wash in sections and then as I complete I twist and go from there. It makes applying product afterward much easier and improves the detangling process. I have 4a/b hair that is about 13" stretched.

  • Beauti says:

    I haven't tried washing in twist, except for when I'm wearing mini twists. I do find it easier for me to deep condition in twists though. Maybe I will give it a try and see how it works for me.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yep. I do everything in sections. My hair isn't at a length where my twist will stay so I keep it in clips or plaits. This makes the cleansing and conditioning process very easy for me. ~Tnisha

  • FemmeFox says:

    I wash my hair in twists about 95% of the time. Since I damp detangle and prepoo, it helps keep my hair from retangling. Also I find that it helps me retain moisture and makes styling easier.

  • Trice (BreatheFashion3c) says:

    I have very fine 3c strands, and I tried this method wih no success. To me, it seemed as if my hair tangled more and my scalp was a little sore after trying to wash and/or conditon in twists. I am learning that less is definitely more with my hair because of scalp tenderness. I am still trying to perfect a "regimen", but I feel like I am nowhere near it :-(

  • Jessica says:

    I wash & do my DT in twist and it's the best thing I could have done for my hair. I have a lot more curls and a lot less frizz. I absolutely love it!

  • CurlyHue says:

    Washing in twist is the ONLY way to do it around THESE parts! With Twinkle's hair alone, its the only way to reach it all. I began washing in Twist for Allie & me once our hair reached a certain length after Big Chopping.

  • LaQuinda says:

    I've never tried twist, but I do put in plaits while washing…generally 4 in the front and 4 back to make detangling easier…it really does help to save time.

  • Malisia says:

    Yes, yes, yes. I BCed in March and with only 4in. of hair I didn't need to twist but now 9 months post BC I find it necessary to twist when I wash or else it will take hours to detangle my hair.

  • ShoeHOTLINE says:

    I have never tried this since I only detangle my hair while it's wet and full on conditioner.

    But my twist outs only last a day or two so I may give this a try to see if it helps them last longer.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yuppers! My hair is EXTREMEMY kinky and curly and if I wash it loose, it's nearly impossible to detangle. It was easier when I had shorter hair, but since it's longer now (6in+), if I want to keep the hair on my head, I wash in twists. lol!

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