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Curly Nikki

How Long Will You Be In The TWA Stage?

By January 27th, 202130 Comments
How Long Will You Be In The TWA Stage?
Janiece’s Big Chop Story

I don’t know how many times I’ve thought I was out of the TWA stage, only to be reminded when I tried to do one of those styles for long hair… you know, the ones that definitely don’t work for TWA’s no matter how you try to tweak it. If someone broke down a TWA to me and how long it takes to get out of this stage before I BC’ed… who knows… I might have transitioned a little longer, lol!
My hair straightened may be shoulder length, but If I wash my hair and let it air dry with no product, I’m basically a curly ear length… I can’t wait for the day when I can really wash and go and have at least neck/shoulder length curls.

So approximately how long will you be in the TWA stage?

It all depends on your amount of shrinkage, curl pattern and hair style.  These estimations are primarily for wash & gos, or unstretched styles-

  • If your hair is tightly curled/waved and shrinks up anywhere between 50% – 90% expect to be in the TWA stage anywhere from 2 – 4 years.
  • If your hair has medium curls/waves and shrinks up anywhere between 40% – 80% you can expect to be in the TWA stage for about a year or two.
  • If your hair has loose waves or curls and your shrinkage is about 20% – 60% you can expect to be in the TWA stage for about a year and a half.

These values are based on my own calculations from comparing the shrinkage of many naturals with different textures and hair types and is also a calculation for girls who are starting off with 2″ – 3″ of hair, tops. If you have hair that doesn’t shrink as much in any texture, you will be able to see your length sooner than later. And of course the opposite is true for us girls with major shrinkage, it takes forever!!!

How long has it taken you ladies to get out of the TWA stage?!


  • Unknown says:

    2 to 4 years! TWA stage! No matter what curl pattern you have that can't be true. I have seen natural hair woman with a TWA and a BSL length when they straight it out! I am not a hair guru but my friend you need to check your regimen if that happen to you.

  • April Amanda Caddell says:

    LOL. 2 to 4 years. That's almost disheartening. Well, I can see the truth in it. I'm on my second BC, and this time will experiment more with stretched styles to show off my length and reduce tangles.

  • livelovelaugh331 says:

    I would have been in the twa stage for atleast 3 years because my shrinkage is serious. I wanted to grow my hair out but the stages were unbearable for me. Right now I am trying to break into a career and I just could not figure out how to control my hair, meaning that it always looked different and changed throughout the day, sometimes for better or worse. I love short hair and I love how brand new my hair feels after a trim so I have decided to keep a tapered twa in a nice shape. I cut my hair 1 year 4 months after my big chop. It was a good decision for me and I love it. The twa stage was hard for me because I had never experienced it, after growing for a while I ran back to it. I look best and feel most confident with short hair so I will continue to cut it into different twa styles and hopefully inspire ladies who are in that stage

  • Brit P says:

    Yep, I'm definitely in that 2-4 year range. The end of December will mark my 2 year anniversary from when I BC'ed (completely shaved off) and still have a TWA (tightly coiled hair).

  • lolololololol says:

    Well that explains it then. I have insane shrinkage. It's in the 80-90% region. Have been natural for 2 years. My fro unstretched is less than 2 inches – and I'm currently at 14 inches stretched. Well got another 2 years to go …

  • Megan M. says:

    I know my hair strinks alot people think I got my hair cut when I do wash n' gos.

  • melissa_mak007 kemp says:

    It's funny. I was wondering just this morning about how long I would be in the twa phase. I am not complaining by a long shot. I am just learning about my hair as I go along. I actually love my hair. I did my big chop in April. I see growth. I have also just gotten a second trim. I may wait a little longer next time. I did my bc because I just couldn't take the tangles. I tried to be a longer term transitioner. I don't mind shrinkage either. I guess I was relaxed for so long, I am just enjoying my hair.

  • Pat says:

    Guess that I will stay in the TWA phase since I don't want shapeless and massive hair all over my head. I keep mine shaped up and trimmed about every 3-4 months.

  • CurvyCurly says:

    I transitioned for 6 months before chopping which left me with about 3 inches of hair. My hair is mostly 4a with some 3c and lots of shrinkage, so I was in the TWA club for about 2 years. I was so glad to grow out of it because I was having a hard time with styles during that in-between stage.

  • Loveofmylife says:

    Who makes natural hair rules and regulations? When I first went natural I was very confused by listening to more information that was needed. I was too concerned about "what inches were considered twa and when will I be out of this stage" but only according to what other naturals claimed. I truly became free when I stopped listening to all these rules and began following my own. I was out the twa stage when "I" wanted to be and when "I" felt "I" was out of it and not according to the Natural Hair Code of Ethics Inch Rule.

    So it may take forever to get out of this twa "stage" because its the nature of your hair, it shrinks. It's going to shrink forever and forever and forever. If this is the case, the twa "stage" will last how long? 4 years. No ma'am. Get out the stage when you're ready, it's simple.

  • Courtney says:

    Yeah, maybe I don't know what it is either because I thought the same thing.

  • Kinky Curlys says:

    How long is your hair now?

  • Kinky Curlys says:

    Thanks. I detangle when I DT and I think I will be getting a trim once a month.

  • Courtney says:

    I don't see anything wrong with doing wash and gos all the time. I do wash and gos 70% of the time and I'm almost 2 years natural. I haven't had any issue with growth.

  • kitka82 says:

    I WNG'd nearly my entire first year natural, and I have tightly curled/coiled hair. I don't think there's anything wrong with it. The main issues with wash & gos is moisture retention, proper detangling, and trimming split ends. I think your routine sounds great.

  • kitka82 says:

    Yeah I'm with you. I have tightly coiled hair, and my wash & go's get hang time. I'm 2 yrs natural. I wouldn't call that a TWA, not exactly. My hair is between SL and APL stretched. But I get the gist of the article.
    I'd really need a definition for TWA like this one:

  • Bobby says:

    Very good article and this is exactly why I will never big chop! I dont want to wait for my hair to grow back when I already have the length, Whats funny is the next article is about not asking a transitioner when they are going to big chop hahahaha.

  • Kinky Curlys says:

    It seems as though WnG's are bad… or even taboo. So my question is what else can you do to ensure health and length retention in your twa?

    I bc'd the beginning of September and plan on getting a trim in about 2 more weeks. I style my hair in WnGs because that's the only way I know to style my hair and it looks good. I wash my hair once a week but I may wet my hair and condition it like everytime I shower. I will DT twice a week. And add leavein everytime my hair is wet.

    I have 4a (I think) hair. Its about 21/2 in on top 31/2 in on sides and back when stretched out. (During a time of pure bliss I bc'd my own hair and cut a lil too much off the top. The professional had to correct it) but its all seemingly 1in when completely dried. I can twist it but it does not look good at all and the WnGs let's my curls form and stay. There's lots of frizz, but I like it. I think its cute.

    Ashley is the name 😉

  • Nyjae says:

    To the author: You're right!!! If I would've known that I probably would have transitioned longer. Thank Goodness i came to that realization ( it would take approxiamately 2 years) before I read this article or I might be crying right now :)….

  • Bree says:

    I am currently in the TWA pahse. I transitioned for about a year, and big chopped around this past March. I'd say I have about 5 inches in the back, 3-4 inches on the sides and top ( thats if its stretched). I straightended my hair this past weekedn just to see how long it got. I never got bone straight (i guess I was too scared to turn the iron no higher than 340 plus I was scared that that the first time i used a strightener in forever, that my hair would never go back to curly). Anyway, I'd never seen my hair so THICK even when I relaxed my hair, it always lookd limp and lifeless. I was happy to seen that my hairy actually touched that area on your back right below your neck. When relaxed, I could NEVER get it to even come close to my back, let alone the bottom of my neck.
    I guess what I'm tryna get at it is, When i wear a W&G or twist out, I kinda feel like I have no hair ( I guess this comes from always wanting long hair, idk). It dosen't help i live in a predominetly white area and in a white household(w/ my bf and his parents). I just hate walkin around town or the house with looks like "Wow, she couldnt even do her hair?" I've henna'd to loosen the curl pattern, the striaghtner loosed it some, even bought some natrural kinky clip ins to cope with the length deprivation.
    I feel like I'm gonna have this mini 'fro forever lol. But curlynikki an some of you ladies really help keep me going. I hope to have hair like some of you some day

  • Carla says:

    Taking one day at a time and enjoying each stage of the process. One day we'll miss that TWA when we have all of that beautiful hair to work with 🙂

  • Davina916 says:

    I was in t.w.a. stage for approximately 8 months.

  • Landry says:

    I have 4a/b hair, and have been natural for one year, and I transitioned for 10 months. I have major shrinkage so I probably be in the TWA stage for a while if we are talking unstretched wash and go styles. However stretched, which is the way I wear my hair, it is shoulder length,and about the length it was prior to big chopping. Like I said, I don't do wash and goes so I don't mind it!

  • TiAnna Mae says:

    Maybe I don't know what a TWA is, but I always thought TWA length was anything from bald to about ear maybe even top of the neck length hair. For me, that only lasted for about 6-7 months and I transitioned for 5 months. I also have very tightly curled shrinky hair.

  • dajewel says:

    i agree with you, as well!

  • Mars Bar says:

    My hair is between BSL and MBL (longest layer is about 17inches) and when I do wng it still shrinks above my shoulders…so maybe I will be in TWA stage indefinitely.

  • Descriptdds says:

    Actually, 'long hair' is technically considered to be anything shoulder- length and below. As medium is anything between ear and shoulder and short above ear. So, she's right on that point!

  • Kami says:

    I agree with you. It really doesn't make any sense. A person can appear to be TWA, but really have BSL length hair. Also, no offense to the author, but long hair isn't SL, so a long hair style wouldn't work regardless.

  • CurlyNikki says:

    Lela7, it's been edited for clarity. She's talking about wash & go or unstretched styles. I hear you about the advantages of stretched styles though, but that's an article for another day! xx

  • Lela7 says:

    I disagree with the estimations on tightly curly hair.This would only apply if you constantly wear wash and gos which is not advisable for this hair type. If you stretch your hair, it's unlikely to last 4 years!

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