Google Header -->
Skip to main content
Curly Nikki

When is a TWA No Longer a TWA?

By January 27th, 202117 Comments

When is a TWA No Longer a TWA?
Hola Chicas!

Many naturals, at some point in time, have rocked a TWA, which is short for “teeny weeny afro.” For most, the image of someone following the Big Chop is what comes to mind when they think about a TWA. But when is a TWA no longer a TWA?

Simply put, a TWA’s length can range from about a quarter of an inch to two inches.
Once it grows past that point, it is in medium afro territory. The fun news is that along with more length comes more styling options.

Do you have more versatility in styling? “When you have some more versatility, you don’t have a TWA anymore,” according to Jahmeela Bolade, the owner of Houston’s Strictly Roots Natural Hair salon.

“When you can braid your hair, grab it from the root and actually twist it or something, [it’s not a TWA]. You can do more with your hair,” explains Tikur Leoul, who sports a large afro.

Also, more effort has to be put forth in terms detangling sessions and overall upkeep. “Either way, it takes a lot of maintenance, because you need to take care of split ends. But it’s more work when the hair is longer,” says barber Roy Long of 3rd Ward’s Finest Kutz in Houston.

Sometimes the illusion of a TWA can be created for those with hair much longer than two inches, thanks to shrinkage. This would lead some to believe that they may have a TWA although it doesn’t appear as one when stretched with styling.

“As far as how the hair looks, even though it shrinks, it doesn’t diminish the amount of hair you have,” says Leoul.

More resources for TWAs: 

Are you in the TWA stage? Or medium afro stage? 


  • ChicaRizada94 says:

    Wow…according to this article, I never had a TWA. When I did my BC three months ago, the majority of my hair was 2.5-4 inches stretched. It just looked short because of shrinkage. Muy interesante.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow! I'm with Keisha. According to this article I never had a TWA — even when I thought I did! Interesting…

  • Anonymous says:

    Is it really that serious? I mean I can twist or braid out to stretch..rock a puff and when I wash and go I shrink like no ones business. I just think it's just short natural Hair..and growing…LOL

  • The Melanista says:

    That in-between stage is tricky! When I realized I had to begin to section my hair to wash and detangle is when I realized I was no longer in the TWA stage. Also, when I discovered my hair had enough length to stretch and I could do styles like twistouts or braidouts, my hair was out of the TWA phase.

  • MoodyMauve says:

    It is my opinion that a twa is no longer when it can be pulled into a ponytail with one elastic…without the use of bobby-pins, berets, or headbands etc.

  • lexibugg says:

    sooo, are we measuring stretched or with shrinkage, because when my hair is stretched its past my shoulders but if i attempt a W&G you'd think i just big chopped, and my hair ain't staying pulled back for nobody,no puffs no single pony, no headbands!!!! not stretched and left in its natural tightly coiled state my fro is teeny!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    I have 3 inches crown height and 1 inch at the sides and nape. My stuff shrinks up like nobody's business!

    IMHO, the hair's length doesn't matter; it's the "depth" if you will. If you stick a ruler in your hair during its shrunken state and it's less than one inch in depth; meaning it looks like the lovely woman in the image above, it should be considered a TWA.

    I feel the TWA defines a hairstyle that lies more closely to the scalp than a "'fro" or "BAA". If you can rock a twist, band,or puff on Monday, but your wash-n-go shrinks to a TWA on Tuesday, you have a TWA! ^_^

  • caracara says:

    The first time you can pull it back and "bun" it without using bobby pins.

    Now with my shrinkage from doing Wash n gos, I go from a good 5-6 inches to 3 inches. It looks like a very full twa. lol BUT when I bun or rock twist outs, people are amazed by my sudden growth. lol

  • Kanisha says:

    I think that when you can make a decent sized "puff"- it's no longer a TWA.

  • Unknown says:

    According to this article I never had a TWA. When I BC'd my hair was 3-4 inches long (the back grows a bit faster than the front). I puffed it the very first day….
    Now my hair is around 6 inches long. So what do I call it? it's not a BAA is there an acronym for a Medium sized Afro??? MSA…lol!

  • Lynnieluve says:

    I think once you've reached 4 inches, you are no longer in the TWA stage.

  • NappyChronicles says:

    I don't agree with the article. IMO once you can put it in a ponytail (one ponytail) you're no longer TWA. Once you can put it in one ponytail you've graduated from TWA to BAA.

  • Moni says:

    Hmm, I considered my hair to be a TWA for way longer than the article (and the other comments so far). I got comb coils the day I BCed and it was long enough for a headband (not a puff), but I still considered it a twa. I had plenty of shrinkage, so it still looked plenty small!

  • MAYgem says:

    I agree with Shones. If you cant pull off a Puff then you have a TWA. My hair is longer than two inches and yes it can be braided, but my puff is not quite there yet so i consider myself to still have a TWA. WASH-N-GOs for me and several different headbands and flowers :)

  • ForeverCurlyCatrina says:

    You know what, I think this term "TWA" is so personal. I never really considered the fact that I had what some would call a TWA. I just thought of my hair as short, and then it was a little longer, and then it was shoulder length. I like the way the article broke it down though. However, I could style my hair when I still considered it a TWA. I only had two styles…well maybe three: wash-n-go, wash-n-go with a ribbon, and comb coils, but it was still quite short in my opinion.

  • LBell says:

    Interesting article. People always kill me wanting to do styles with TWAs…I'm like, "If you can style it, it's not a TWA!"

    Note that by styles I don't mean adding accessories to it — even bald folks can slap a headband on! Accessories don't count.

    My hair — okay, the sides and back — is too short for even comb coils, so to me that means I have a TWA. (Unless someone were to spend 6 hours with a teeny-tiny comb, in which case…)

  • Unknown says:

    "Teeny weeny" is so relative! I look at longhairdontcare2011's vlogs and suddenly my 6 inches seems really small. but anyway… if I had to measure it, I'd say you have a TWA if it's not "puffable." Once you can put on a headband and actually pull it back, and it stays pulled back, I think you've officially moved beyond TWA.

Leave a Reply