When I big chopped in 2011 after transitioning for ten months, I rocked fingercoils that I only had to touch up twice a week. Then came the awkward stage. My coils were not long enough for a ponytail and the fingercoils were starting to hang like starter locs. Twist outs left my hair looking like Icarus from the Disney Hercules cartoon (I am not offended if you laugh), so I was frantically trying to figure out my next style. My fingers cramped at every attempt to braid, so flat-twist outs became my best friend! For the next two years, I would reserve an hour an every night to flat twist my fine, 4a coils. Did you notice I said fine? Do I regret that? Well, I can address that in my response to AmandaCurls101 from Q&A.
Is it okay to retwist/rebraid/rebantu etc. every night? So I have short very kinky hair that has a ton of shrinkage. If I don’t retwist or rebraid my hair at night it will get very matted up and very tangled. Will retwisting at night cause too much breakage?
Nature of Coily Hair
First, let’s start with the nature of curly and coily hair. Because of the natural bends of curly and coily hair, it tends to be more porous than straighter hair because the hair shaft is more open. The tighter the curl pattern (Type 4), the higher the likelihood of that texture struggling to maintain moisture in comparison to looser curl patterns. Your profile states that your curl pattern is 4b, but I am not sure if your strands are fine, medium, or coarse in width and I do not know if your hair is kinky, which is also important to consider.
A lot of people think that kinky is synonymous with a tighter curl pattern, just like people think coarse is synonymous with a tighter curl pattern. JC from The Natural Haven identifies kinky hair as having strands that twist around themselves. She says, “The simplest analogy would be the wringing of a cloth where you turn one clockwise and turn the other anticlockwise.” This creates weaker points along the hair strands.
Single Strand Knots
Also, I do not want to assume that your hair experiences more single strand knots than looser textures but mine certainly does. Single strands knots are the knots along the individual strands (primarily at the ends) that are created when a strand ties around itself. The tension from those knots tend to cause breakage.
When you take into account that tighter curl patterns tend to have kinks, single strand knots, struggle to maintain moisture I would not encourage you to re-twist nightly. Although I did re-twist nightly, I contemplate whether my hair would have required less trimming if I had not manipulated it nightly.
Nighttime and Morning Routine
Since your hair is short, I suggest that you try to multi-pineapple your hair and wear a bonnet. If you do a regular pineapple then I suggest that you wear a satin or silk scarf and a bonnet to maintain your stretched styles. Whenever I exclusively wore a scarf, my ends were still exposed. Whenever I exclusively wore a bonnet, my hair was flat. Now, I wear both and it is fantastic! Some naturals simply do about five chunky twists, so this completely based on preference and trial and error. In the morning, your hair may or may not require a refresher. Depending on your climate you may or may not need to fluff your hair. In Austin, I release my pineapple before leaving my home and drive with the windows down. By the time I make it to work, nothing is sticking out of place.
Why I stopped twisting my hair nightly
My schedule did not permit. I was in my last semester of undergrad with a 7 am workout, 9 am internship, and evening classes. I was not willing to sacrifice studying in the evenings, sleep, or spending time with my friends for superb curl definition that may not even last all day.
I was over it. It was that simple. I discovered that I was insecure about shrinkage and I did something about it. I wanted to feel comfortable with my hair in any state. I am not projecting my experience onto you, but this was true for me. Because of this, I taught myself to master the wash and go and my hair has been flourishing since. My hair does not matt at night and it is never an issue to detangle. Sister Scientist wrote a great piece on How to Tame Frizz, According to Science that discusses the importance curl alignment to maintain curl definition after the hair dries, which I think is the key to enhancing curl definition and reducing tangles for wash day. I will have my modified pineapple video coming soon.
Do you re-twist your hair nightly?