Google Header -->
Skip to main content
Curly Nikki

How CurlyNikki Gets the Perfect Twist Out Every Time

By January 27th, 202136 Comments

How CurlyNikki Gets the Perfect Twist Out Every Time
Exhale1913 writes:

In my natural hair journey, I’ve learned that TECHNIQUE can be just as important as products, so therefore I pose a question regarding styling techniques (including products used) that gives the best results for the most defined Twist-Out or Twist-n-Curl.

CN Responds:
I’ve been playing around with this a lot lately… especially considering that Twist-Outs and Twist-n-Curls are my signature styles! My most recent experiments have resulted in the following implementations:

1. Flat Twist the Roots for a More Consistent Pattern 

I guess I don’t quite mean flat twist— take the section you wish to twist, and separate out the uppermost layer. Two strand twist that layer 5-6 times, and then grab the rest of the hair in that section and two strand twist to the ends. I hope that makes sense.
Before, when I was only securing the roots with a duck bill clip, they still managed to come undone and take on their natural texture rather than the wavy texture the twists created on my length. This has definitely changed my life :-)

Read More!!>>>

2. Size of Twists Affects the Tightness of Your Curls 

Obviously, smaller twists result in a tighter curl/wave pattern, and larger twists result in a looser curl/wave pattern. I like to make 8-11 twists depending on my mood. The pic above is the result of probably 10 or so twists.

How CurlyNikki Gets the Perfect Twist Out Every Time

3. I Get the BEST Sets on Days After an Overnight Henna Treatment

The Twist-n-Curl lasts longer, holds better, and frizzes less. Plus, my curls hang well and always come out super chunky and cute. Whenever I have somewhere important to go, I’ll try to squeeze a henna session in shortly beforehand.

4. Choose Products Based on Season 

As far as products, I guess it depends on the time of year. Right now, I’m trying to listen to my hair and obey the ‘dew point’ rules. I have very fine, overly porous hair. It readily and easily absorbs moisture from my shower and products, releases it just as quickly, and then drinks up atmospheric moisture like there’s no tomorrow– leaving my once defined Twist-n-Curl poofy, and frizzy. I don’t hate the look, but it doesn’t feel good to the touch (rough and sticky even), and it sucks to put a lot of time into a style only to have it puff out on you.

With that said, fine, overly porous folks like me should stay away from glycerin and other humectants in the summer time– my hair needs no help absorbing moisture from the air. I’m actually looking into some anti-humectants! Aveda makes one, and I believe their Defining Whip also has a few anti-humectant properties in it as well (although I can’t tell… it’s not doing much by way of humidity). Synthetic ingredients I’m looking for are isopropyl palmitate or certain silicones. But shea butter, coconut and olive oil, beeswax, and hydrogenated castor oil are all known for their ability to function well in high humidity climates.

Anti-humectants coat, flatten, and seal the external cuticle layer of the hair strands, which means build-up is definitely a risk. I’d definitely have to keep shampoo on deck. Another way to keep the frizzies at bay is to make sure your hair is already saturated with moisture and sealed in so that it doesn’t look to the atmosphere to quench its thirst.

How CurlyNikki Gets the Perfect Twist Out Every Time

5. Apply your Leave-In and/or Styler to Damp, not Soaking Wet Hair

This is HUGE for me. My results are fuller, chunkier, longer (less shrinkage) Twist-n-Curls. After my detangling session, I rinse all of the conditioner out of my hair and get out of the shower. I wring my hair a bit, and then blot with a terry cloth towel, Curl Cloth, or whatever I have at hand. I then pull out my computer and waste time… at least 10-20 minutes to give my hair time to dry. Once much of the water is gone, I apply my leave-in and styler in sections, twist, roll, and VIOLA! My hair dries faster and my sets are all the more beautiful.

6. Make Sure Your Hair is Detangled and Smooth before Twisting 

Some use a denman, some use a comb, I use the Ouidad Double Detangler or a paddle brush. Thoroughly detangle and smooth each section just prior to twisting. I apply my product, then comb/brush it through and then twist. Skipping this step will result in a frizzier, less uniform set.

That’s all I got… what about you divas?

This article was originally published in June 2010 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.


  • Anonymous says:

    I will try using my leave in after my hair is dry, maybe that will help define my twisties ?

  • Stacey Queen of Rants and Ramblings says:

    I wish I read this before I cut all of my hair off a couple of months ago into a pixie…. Received a horrible cut that caused my curls to friz like mad…. out of frustration and at my wits end I chopped it…. This is a great site… I am your newest follower :) Can't wait to read more as my hair grows out….

  • Anonymous says:

    These tips are great I have been trying to do a braid-out on my TWA and it never comes out right. I braided it last night and will take them out when I get home..wish me luck

  • AnaDion says:

    When I do twist outs but want my hair to look thick, I do them on wet hair and then take them out before my hair totally dries: about 75%-90% dry (give or take, depending on if I’m rushing or not).
    Because my hair is still slightly wet, it allows it to expand, getting ride of piece-y-ness.
    Because you do this before your hair is dry, you’ll probably have some frizziness, (but I like my frizzies, so it does not bother me), but it isn’t as bad if you make sure to touch it as little as possible.
    ***Do not bother separating, when it fluffs up it expands enough on its own.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow! Thanks Lynn for the link to Curlyprof's video. I see the mistake I have been making with my hair. No wonder I end up with a frizz after I undo my twist out. I will also try drying out my hair before putting in my leave in conditioner.

  • Lynn says:

    Curlyprof has great tips on twist-outs. That said, she does flat twists. She gets great results though. Here is her video.

  • mangomadness says:

    I get defined braid outs and flat twist outs by following some of the advice in this article: (

    I style on damp hair and I do smaller braids/twists. I make a side part, section, apply my leave in/moisturizer, smooth, braid/twist tightly and then seal my ends w/ shealoe. I air-dry overnight and take down the next morning. I don't separate.

    For a braid out…I braid the length and twist the last inch. It makes the take down easier and gives me great definition.

  • Vonyè says:

    Hey Nikki/CN Community,

    May be you can help me with this…

    I've been natural for almost 7 years now and I have yet to achieve the proper way to twist my hair. I've been experimenting with the TNC for the past couple of months and find that when twisting and rolling, my twists "untwist" causing big, poofy, swelled twists (like a 5 year olds hairstyle…lol). The products that I use are Aussie Moist as a base and Garnier Fructis Curl Sculpting Cream Gel to set. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. I brush and smooth with a paddle brush then I flat twist at the root while further securing with silver clips. I am going to try this style one more time before giving up….sigh!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I just achieved my best twist out today. And just did a dry twist out that I'm wearing now 11/24/10. I was so pleased I had to chronicle it and you will see it in the last part of my video here:

    All I did was clarify using:

    Giovanni 50.50 Clarify
    (will never use again..I don't like makes my hair feel brittle)
    Finished w/ TGIF Foxy Curls Non Sulfate

    Suave Naturals Coconut and Deep w/ AOHSR

    using my shea twist potion see link
    did large twist wore them in up do for a week

    took down and whalla.

  • amcmillanmd says:

    My twist out has good and bad days. I am working on keeping it consistent but am really just learning which products work for me (I was a slow transitioner ~ 11 months and have been fully natural for about 7 mos now).
    My biggest issue now honestly is detangling now that I have much more length (my hair is just below shoulder length when stretched). Blogs like this keep me going. We all want longer but especially healthy hair. Eye on the prize ladies!!

  • Unknown says:

    Hi am new here – just seen your beautiul pics of your hair. I am presently growing mine out most of is relaxed and so do my own curly look (4 months post). but yours look FANTASIC!! lovely big fat curls!!! the problem is – I just dont get it!!! I dont understand you at all – could be because am from london !! have you or will you consider a tutorial on say u tube or on here – so that i can SEE what you mean by flat twist?? and 2 strand twists?.. I'm sure this twist doesnt get the look you have !! it cant be as simple as that!! can it? please demonstrate…

  • Embracingmycurls says:

    I am still trying to achieve the perfect twist. I don't know what I am doing wrong. It comes out still as if I did a wet and go. HELP!!!

  • Unknown says:

    @ Exhale1913
    OOO-OOP!! I decided to register on this site, since I'm always on it!

    @Curlynikki this site has been extremely helpful! I can honestly say that it has been the epitome of me embracing my natural hair. My last relaxed was February 2009, and since then I have been SLOWLY trimming away my relaxed ends. Finally, 2 month I cut off the last inch of relaxed hair, (it felt like a BC LOL). Even though its all natural I was still struggling with accepting it and contemplated relaxing again!! But I’m truly grateful to see all of these other people with!!!!

  • Exhale1913 says:

    @Odi – yes I am OOO-OP!!

  • tweet says:

    I have alergies to many leave ins any suggestions?

  • Odi says:

    Hey exhale1913!! Are you a soror (DST)?

  • Carmen says:

    I just discovered your site while perusing the Internet. Great source of information, especially for those who are still scared or doubtful about enhancing their natural beauty and would rather harm themselves with chemicals or even worse weaves. I would like to add your link to my website with your permission. You can check it out at Please contact me at

    Thanks for sharing the knowledge and providing a foundation needed for sisters to find themselves amongst a society of wannabes. We are such an incredibly beautiful species without all the hoopla. Keep up the good work!


  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, Nikki. I have decided not to chemically treat my hair anymore and have gone about 7 months without any chemicals or any type of heat. I have worn braids in which I have decided not to do anymore, too much pulling on the hair, I now am wearing a sew in weave which I feel is less stress on the natural hair. Do you have any suggesitons for sew in's? Also, I have daughters who have never had chemicals in their hair. One has very thick wavy hair and the other on has thin wavy hair. I tried the twist-out on the thick hair and it wasn't that successful. I think that I was too excited about the mousse. LOL. Any tips and advice is appreciated. By the way love the site.


  • Zay says:

    Hi Nikki,

    As I write this my heart is fluttering and my eyes are watering up becasue I found this site by accident but when I saw your hair (which as you described it) is EXACTLY like my own I knew I had to read on. I have had soooo much trouble trying to keep my natrual hair curly as I love to workout and have VERY little time to do twist. I have resulted to trying things that I regret such as purchasing wigs that I've never worn because the glue for them stuck to my natural baby hair and scared me sooo much that I havent tried it since ($300 gone down the drain) Ive tried weaves which look just like my natural texture….but I just got them because I have no clue as to how to maintain my own curls after a day or so (Frizz upon Frizz) which I've taken the $200 weave jobs out within days of getting it. I am soooo glad to see how you do your hair and though I am new to this site I hope to find out the products you use as well.

    Thanks sooooo much!

  • CJ says:

    Hi Curly Nikki and everyone else. I'm new to this website and omg I have been on here everyday this week lol. I'm finally natural after a year (me being pregnant really helped) and I've turned into a product junkie. It's funny I wasn't one when I had a relaxer but I am now. I guess I'm just trying to find the right thing and take suggestions from others and there's so much lol. Anyway your website is great and it's a blessing to others so that we may have help and ideas for our hair and it also helps women to embrace their hair and know they're not alone. My hair also looks exactly like yours when twisted out/braided out. It's the first time I've seen someone's hair that resembles mine. The charts for hairtypes don't look exactly like my hair so I'm a little confused on my hairtype. what hairtype are you? Anyway thanks again for the site and congrates on your lil one. I have a 3month old lil girl and they're truely a blessing:)

  • Tiffany says:

    Everything seems so easy, but can't do a twist to save my life.

    Peace, Love and Chocolate

  • Terra D says:

    Thanks Nikki! My hair is definitely the same. Extra porous, though medium to fine strands. My hair sucks every bit of moisture out of the air. It gets huge…I mean huge! The crazy thing, is that last year, my hair loved glycerin in the summer, now….not so much!

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the tips Nik! I need to up my twist game, but I mostly wear braidouts. I guess much of this would apply to braidouts too though. Great site and beautiful hair!


  • Brown Babe says:

    I, like closetconfections, just tried care free curls and loved, loved, loved the moisture…my hair has been feeling extra dry. I twisted it up overnight and woke in the morning to a puffy frizz ball – no bueno! Back to the drawing board.

    Now for my twistouts, I've only had the best luck with flat twist outs, I twist around my fingers as I go. As far as product, I usually mix a little DevaCare One with water & oil in a spray bottle as a leave in, then seal with a coconut oil/Shea butter mix, then twist. Untwist in the AM with coconut oil and voilà! To maintain I'll put in big twists overnight then fluff out in the AM – I can keep this up for a week.

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    Glad it helped ladies!

    Anon 5:28, there will be an article tomorrow dedicated to this. Basically, glycerin is GREAT for most in the summer time… drawing moisture from the atmosphere into your hair. But for those that have porous hair (hair that soaks up and loses moisture very easily), glycerin in humidity can lead to frizzy, undefined hair. Basically, you'll only know if glycerin in the summer is for you after you try it. It'll be very apparent. Either your hair will swell and lose all definition (and feel icky to the touch), or it'll curl up even more, and gain beautiful volume. Mine swells with glycerin…it's a no no for me.

    @dream, the cone thing is debatable. Some folks avoid them like the plague (i was one of them), some use them on occasion, and some seek out cones. I'm one that uses cones on occasion. They make my hair smoother, easier to detangle, and seems to help lessen single strand knots and splits. My hair handles amodimethicone, dimethicone, and the cyclo cones just fine. I just make sure to poo after long term use. Other ladies can only use amodimethicone, or dimethicone. Trial and error… that's all I can suggest. Definitely don't be afraid to try cones… just make sure you keep shampoo in stock in case of build up.

  • Anonymous says:

    This article has me so confused!! I too am fine-haired and overly porous. I have been trying to solve my porosity problem since going natural 2 years ago. I have read everything I can find on porosity and it all says to avoid humectants in the winter b/c they will draw moisture from your hair but to use them when it is hot and humid b/c they will draw moisture from the air. Your article contradicts this. Your hair is so beautiful so you must be doing something right but can you please clarify this for me? Also, is porous hair an on-going problem or can it be resolved? I have been trying to "fix" my porosity issues and it would be great to know if I am wasting my time. Thanks.

  • Angie says:

    Your advice to those with fine and very porous hair is much appreciated! I have had quite a few a-ha moments from reading it. For example, whenever I use certain products I get so much breakage, then I realized my hair was protein sensitive. Also, I put glycerin in my conditioner with oil as a leave-in, this works fine for a wash and go, but for a twist out, it causes frizz and loss of definition! thanks so much for elucidating that for me!

  • ClosetConfections says:

    This post was right on time. I didn't realize Glycerin pulled in moisture from the atmosphere. I just bought a bottle of carefree curl, and loved how soft it made my curlformer set. Unfortunately, I was horrified by the droopy, frizzy mess it left on top of my head by the time I got to work. I had to run to the drugstore for some bobby pins to make myself presentable, lol. DUH!

  • DreamchaZer1920 says:

    I'm sorry, I was hurried trying to get to a client, but also wanting help on this subject (Excuse the HORRIBLE grammar in my previous post). I have tried the twist and curl with frizzy results, and I'm trying to fix that. With my 3c/4a hair….what do you suggest? Are there any "good" cones?

  • DreamchaZer1920 says:

    So….I'm still new to the game of really taking acre ofmy natural hair. are there any "good" cones? I have been a wash and go girl, and I'm not trying the twist and curl. but my 3c/4a hair is a fuzz ball. I'm in the Carolinas as well Nikki. HELP!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Nikki- My hair is very similar to yours,however I wear washngos 90% of the time so you can imagine the frizz ball I get in the summer with my glycerin laden products. Your post was really helpful and Ive been doing the same thing-looking for anti-humectant and glycerin free summer products. One product I found that has been working wonders for me is BedHead control freak conditioner frizz control and straightener, its a long name but it fits. I used to use it for my twa but shelved it for my EOproducts natural line. Anyway just pulled it off the shelf a week ago and WOOHOO! It tames the frizz like nobodies business. Its not natural so I moisturize moisturize moisturize at night and then use control freak as a leave in during the day. Here are the ingredients:water,cetrimonium chloride,polyquaternium-37,amodimethicone,guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, polyquaternium-11,propylene glycol,dicaprylate/dicaprate, hydroxyethyl cellulose, propylenehydantoin, methylparaben,trideceth-12,ppg-1,trideceth-6,citric acid,benzophenone-4,limonene,hydrolyzed wheat protein,hydrolyzed wheat starch,simmondsia chinensis,jojoba seed oil,linalool,citral,and color.

  • PinkPearls says:

    I will definitely try your tip on flat twisting my roots. I've been using duck bill clips, but I think I'll have better results with twisting.

    Thanks for the tips!

  • beautywithcurls says:

    I Twirl My Hair Before Twist It Too Bonni :~D I Sometimes Braid Or Flat Twist The Roots Especially When I Do That Chunky Twist.

  • bonni says:

    My 2 tricks…

    1. Twirl the hair around the finger before twisting…

    2. Twist with my hands farther apart to keep the ends from tangling as I twist.

  • Au naturelle says:

    Trust me Tiffany, it works! Apparently if you apply products to wet hair, you are effectively (or rather ineffectively) moisturising the water in your hair as opposed to the hair itself.

    Thanks for the tip CN, along with your advice of "less is more" when applying products. I now have a more defined and shiny twist out :o)

    CN – you rock! Thanks so much for your blog! It has been an inspiration and a joy to read. Especially since I am based in London, England. Unfortunately we are behind y'all in the States when it comes to haircare. I visited a "natural" salon recently to get advice. When I told them I was a 3c hair type and was rocking a twist n curl – they looked so confused. Lol! So understandably, I am grateful to you and the many other bloggers who help us girls out with our natural haircare regime :o)

  • Redbonegirl97 says:

    Hmmm maybe I will wait a little longer before I put in my leave in conditioner.

    Pace, Love and Chocolate

Leave a Reply