Twisted hairstyles, like two-strand twists, are a popular choice for natural hair. However, one of the biggest challenges faced by those with textured hair is shrinkage, which can make twists appear much shorter than desired. In this article, we will explore tips and tricks for preventing shrinkage and maintaining the length of your two-strand twists for a longer-lasting, beautiful look.
How to Prevent Two strand twists from Shrinking
A shrinkage in textured hair is caused by the natural curls and kinks of the hair shaft, which cause the hair to curl up and shorten when wet or exposed to humidity. This is due to the shape and structure of textured hair fibers, which are more coil-like than straight hair fibers.
Additionally, the natural oils produced by the scalp are not able to travel down the hair shaft as easily in textured hair, leading to dryness and shrinkage. Other factors that can contribute to shrinkage include the use of harsh products, heat damage, and lack of moisture.
Shrinkage can significantly impact the appearance and longevity of two-strand twists. When the hair shrinks, it can make the twists appear much shorter and tighter, ruining the desired look. This can lead to frustration, as the hair may have taken hours or even days to twist and style, only to shrink shortly thereafter.
Shrinkage can also cause the twists to unravel or loosen, which can lead to frizz and tangles. In addition, shrinkage can make it difficult to maintain the length and shape of the twists, as they may need to be redone more frequently.
Tips for preventing two-strand twists from shrinking includes:
1. Moisturize and Seal
The major causal factor of shrinkage is moisture loss leading to dryness, it is no maths that if you can provide your hair with the moisture it needs the dryness will be kept at bay. Keeping the hair hydrated is essential to prevent shrinkage.
Use a leave-in conditioner, this would provide an all-day lasting hydration followed by a moisturizing oil or cream to lock in the moisture. However, choose a product suited to your hair’s porosity for an effective outcome. Your hair’s porosity is how well it absorbs and retains moisture.
Low porosity hair would require lightweight products as it doesn’t readily absorb moisture but has a high retaining capacity. Heavier weight products are advised for high porosity hair as it readily absorbs and loses moisture.
2. Maintain the Twists
Regular retwisting and touch-ups can help to maintain the length and shape of the twists, preventing shrinkage and ensuring that they last longer. To retwist, follow these steps:
Using a residue-free shampoo and hydrating conditioner is a good place to start. After that, properly hydrate your hair with an oil or leave-in conditioner. Work on one portion of your hair at a time, dividing it into sections based on the direction it was previously twisted.
Be mindful of the hair as you brush through a portion, then twirl the hair around your finger to secure it with clips. Repeat for the entire head, and then tightly twist the two parts together with the right section on top of the left for that definition. You can use a hooded dryer or let the twists air dry.
3. Trim Split Ends
Trimming split ends regularly can also help to prevent shrinkage, as damaged hair is more prone to curling and shrinking. It is advised to get a stylist’s help with the trimming procedure to avoid doing more harm than good to the coils.
4. Setting on Rollers
Rollers are a fantastic option to help with shrinkage. It is a go-to method for most natural hair enthusiasts. For this method, grab a hold of the section of twists particularly prone to shrinkage, say, the front hair bit, and take a roller.
Attach the ends of the twists to the roller and wrap tightly upwards. This is best carried out at night, possibly after a wash which inevitably comes with a shrinkage. After the rolling process, wrap your hair in a protective head wrap and go off to bed. Wake up the morning after and remove the rollers, refresh your twists, and be blown away!
5. Low Ponytail
Another unique method for preventing shrinkage with two-strand twists is to take a couple of scrunchies and put the twists in a low ponytail. For shorter lengths, you could do as many ponytails as you need. This would ensure the twists stay stretched.
6. Braiding at Night
Braids work just well in preventing shrinkage, ironic isn’t it? Split your hair into two or four sections. Grab a hold of a section of two-strand twists and braid them all together. Repeat for the rest sections. Do this before bed and wake up to defined length and stretched twists.
7. African Banding Method
This is the commonest and most highly effective way to prevent shrinkage with two-strand twists. To do this split your hair into four sections.
Grab a hold of a bunch of scrunchies and with a section, take a scrunchie and tie with enough pressure to ensure the twists stay stretched and progressively tie downwards. Repeat for the remaining sections, dorn silk or satin head wraps to keep frizz to a minimum as you go off to bed.
8. The Bobby Pin Technique
Divide your hair into two portions, front to back. Begin wrapping the twists around my head from the front of one side, pinning them in place along the way. Finish that side first before moving on to the opposite side of my head.
Stretch your hair as you work without over-tightening the twists. Too much stress can cause breakage, thinning edges, and traction alopecia– a condition characterized by hair loss borne by excessive pressure on the scalp.
9. Twist Your Hair When Damp
Another way to prevent shrinkage is to twist your hair when it is damp. When you twist your hair when it is dry, the hair fibers tend to contract, leading to shrinkage. However, if you twist your hair when it is damp, the hair will dry in the twisted form, helping to retain the length. You can twist your hair with a leave-in conditioner or a styling cream to provide added moisture and hold.
10. Use the Stretch and Stitch Method
The stretch and stitch method is a technique that can help to keep your two-strand twists from shrinking. This method involves gently stretching the twists while they are wet and then securing them with a stitch or a bobby pin.
This helps to maintain the length of the twists and prevent shrinkage. You can do this by gently pulling on the twists and holding them in place with a stitch or a bobby pin. This technique can be repeated as many times as necessary to achieve the desired length.
11. Sleep with a Satin Scarf or Pillowcase
Sleeping with a satin scarf or pillowcase can also help to prevent shrinkage. Cotton fibers tend to absorb moisture, which can cause the hair to shrink. However, satin fibers help to reduce friction, allowing the hair to move freely and retain its length. Using a satin scarf or pillowcase can help to prevent shrinkage, especially when combined with other preventative measures.