by Shelli of Hairscapades

I was originally going to call this post, “Afro Puffy Twists or How My Dream Turned into a Nightmare.” However, time has allowed wounds to heal and a level-head to prevail. Now that I’ve sufficiently recovered from my PTSD (Post Twists Stress Disorder), I feel that I can give a breakdown of the Pros and Cons of my long-term, winter protective style, Afro Puffy Twists.
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Pros:

  • I love the look of Afro puffy twists. I finally had the lush twist that I’d lusted after for the last couple of years.
  • The style looks very natural and real. The older it got, the better it looked. The ends of the hair curled on their own as natural hair would. It was nearly impossible to distinguish my hair from the Nafy Collection Afro Puffy Twist hair (though, this pro became a con with the take down).
  • I had a braider that was gentle, didn’t comb through my hair, parted it gently and didn’t braid too tightly.
  • I requested cornrows at my hairline and they prevented the extensions from dangling on my finest strands. So, I didn’t lose any twists/hair due to the weight of the extensions.
  • 6 weeks of NO detangling.
  • My fingers and nails had become extremely ragged and rough due to the drying winter air and inside heat. I didn’t have to worry about destroying my strands with my busted fingers as I wasn’t handling my hair as often.
  • Ease of daily styling … this is for real, get up and go hair. I loved that I could wake up, do absolutely nothing to it and it still looked great going out the door.
  • Styling versatility (check out my FB album for more pics).
  • Ability to have a style that showed length, but still protected my strands to a large extent. Although I wore the twists in updos the majority of the time, I could wear them down and out with little risk.
  • Limited daily maintenance. At the most, I would oil my scalp and moisturize and seal the length every 3-4 days.
  • Limited weekly maintenance. Although my plan was to wash it once a week, I only washed and conditioned the twists once in the 6 weeks that I wore the style.
  • Limited styling products. I used my essential oil mix for my scalp, kimmaytube leave-in or Oyin Juices n’ Berries to moisturize and EVOO to seal. The one time I washed, I shampooed with diluted Shea Moisture Raw Shea Moisture Retention Shampoo and conditioned with Aussie Moist. I didn’t pre-poo or DC during the 6 weeks.
  • My hair feels and looks like it is in very good condition, with minimal breakage and normal shedding, post twists.
I’ve seen this much hair shed in one week post wash/detangle session. So, I was very
pleasantly surprised that this is all I saw after 6 weeks of no finger-combing/detangling.

Cons:

  • The anxiety of finding the right braider who won’t pull hair too tightly or comb through it with a fine-tooth comb from root to tip instead of tip to root. However, the anxiety was for naught.
  • The anxiety and time to blow-out my hair myself to reduce the likelihood of a braider causing heat or mechanical damage. Again though, it was for naught because the blow-out process went pretty smoothly as I did my research first and took my time.
  • 7 1/2 hours to install.
  • I had a lot of flyaways. I think this was because the braider didn’t use any product on the length of my hair before twisting it.
  • I had some serious matting of twists at my nape. Hair from multiple twists started matting together. This area was especially vulnerable to ensnaring sweater and scarf lint, dust and gunk. Given that this is the finest hair on my head, this was not good.

  • 3 day, 20+ hour twist take down (see here and here). This pretty much negated the timed saved in daily styling.
  • It was difficult to distinguish my hair from the twist hair, which meant I had to handle the twists as gently as I would have if they were all my hair. This extended to the take down as well.
  • The difficulty in removing the twists due to the way that they were installed. Two spray-in detanglers, conditioner, and a EVOO “steam bath” did very little to ease the take down. Each twist took a good 5-10 minutes to remove as my hair extended the full length of the twists. So, there was no cutting off a part of the twist before untwisting. Between the added hair at the end to cover my hair, the rolling of my hair in the twists and the braids at the roots with all three sections containing strands of my hair, there was no quick way to remove the twists without damaging my own hair
This is the hair and sections in ONE twist!
Final Verdict:
So, in conclusion, would I get twists with the Nafy Afro Puffy Twist hair again? Yes I would. Surprised? I think the pros mostly outweighed the cons. Ultimately, though the take down was trauma inducing, it didn’t result in any permanent damage and my hair felt great after my wash, henna, DC and style. Also, I loved them so much and I think that the drama of the take down could be averted with some different techniques.

Next Time:
  • I would have the twists installed using the Senegalese twist technique at the roots instead of braids.
  • I would ask the braider use some type of holding product on the length of my hair so that I wouldn’t have as many flyaway hairs.
  • I would request that the length be loosely twisted, rather than twisting the individual sections first and then twisting the two together. I think that this caused my hair to be ensnared in the extension hair more than it needed to be.
  • I would keep a more cautious eye on the nape twists and remove them when I start to feel appreciable matting. I would either have them “refreshed” or just twist my own hair until I was ready to take down all the twists.

I’ve been thinking that I may try to do my next install myself, using bigger sections. However, I know myself pretty well, and don’t think I’d have the patience or willingness to actually make a go of this on my own. Maybe I’ll try Havana Twists next? I have 3 bags of hair left!

Have you worn puffy twists? Would you do it again? 

This article was originally published on January 2012 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.