How to Make Two-Strand Twists: A Step-by-Step Guide

Behold, two-strand twists.

Behold, two-strand twists.

If you’re like me, your hair is thick, curly and borderline unmanageable. You want it to look nice, but you don’t always feel like blowdrying it straight, and pulling it back in a ponytail gets old really fast.

Enter two-strand twists, the hairstyle that has become my personal savior over the years. It’s attractive, it’s easy to maintain, and once you know how to twist your hair properly, it’s a cinch to do.

I have long, thick hair, and it usually takes me about two to three hours to put my hair in thin, two-strand twists (also called Senegalese twists). So when you’re ready to try some twists, set aside a good chunk of time, put on your favorite movie, get in front of a mirror (or better yet get a portable mirror and position it in front of you) and go to work.

You’ll need the following items:

– brush to detangle hair
– hard-bristled brush to smooth fly-aways and baby hair
– comb to part hair
– several elastics (or clips if your hair is short)
– cream or pomade to help smooth hair and hold it in place (I use Healthy Hair Butter from Carol’s Daughter  — it’s awesome!)
– (optional) spray or oil to add sheen (I use Carol’s Daughter Tui Jojoba and Shea Butter Hair Sheen – it smells great and adds a nice shine)
– (optional) oil or spray to moisturize the scalp

Directions:

1. Starting out, your hair should be clean and dry. Begin at the bottom of your head. I usually take a small section of hair by the nape of my neck, make a horizontal part, separate the hair on the bottom out and put the rest in a ponytail on top of my head.

2. Then, from the loose section of hair, take a small mini-section of hair, perhaps the width of a toothbrush (maybe thicker if you want bigger twists).

3. Brush that mini-section to detangle it, then smooth some cream/pomade down it, then divide it in half. You can also use the hard-bristled brush to smooth it out.

4. Starting near your scalp, wrap one half of the mini-section around the other. It’s as if you’re braiding your hair, but instead of three sections you have two. So instead of weaving the three sections in and out of each other, you’re wrapping the two sections around each other. Do this all the way to the bottom. Once finished, your twist should look something like a rope.

If you have African-American hair, or if you’re mixed like I am, the twist should stay together without coming undone. The pomade you put on your hair will help with this. But if your hair is anything close to straight, it’s probably not going to hold a twist, and this style is probably not for you (unless you want to put elastics on the bottom to hold the twists together).

Note that if the two halves in the twists are the same size, then you will be able to twist all the way to the bottom and won’t have many leftover strands of hair. If one half of the twist was significantly bigger than the other, you’ll end up with a lot of leftover, untwistable hair, so always try to divide your mini-section in half — or as close to half as possible.

3. Once you’ve finished that twist, move on to the next mini-section of hair, and repeat the same actions: Brush and moisturize the mini-section, then split it in half. Wrap those halves around each other to the bottom. Then move onto the next mini-section and twist that, and twist the next one until the whole section of loose hair is twisted. You can spray the completed section with some oil to give it a nice shine, then wrap that section in an elastic so it’s out of the way.

4. Once you’re done with a whole section, you guessed it, create another section and move onto that. Do this by letting the untwisted portion of your hair loose, and parting another section of hair to twist using your comb. Then put the rest of your hair (that you won’t be twisting at the moment) at the top of your head in an elastic. If your hair is short, you can always use clips instead of elastics. Then, begin the twisting routine again.

Once you get to the top of your head, you’ll have some leeway as to how and where you want to arrange the parts. There is no right or wrong way to part your twists, so it’s really your call as far as how you want your hair to look and how you’d like it to fall. I usually do a side part and wear my twists down, with an elastic headband in to keep my hair slightly back off my face.

The finished product!

The finished product!

Once your hair is twisted, I’d suggest sleeping with a silk scarf to preserve the style for as long as possible. How soon you wash it after twisting is up to you; you may be able to go for weeks without your hair looking or smelling dirty and without your scalp getting itchy or flaky, so it’s really just a matter of your own comfort and personal preference.

Once your hair is twisted, you can create many hairstyles — everything from basic ponytails to fancy updos, and don’t hesitate to incorporate some scarves — or just leave it down and let it flow as I usually do, maybe throwing on a headband.

As an added bonus, you can create another hairstyle by untwisting your hair and leaving it out in its crimped and curly state. I get tons of compliments when I un-twist my hair and leave it wavy/crimpy for a couple of days.

The twist-out look.

The twist-out look.

Another twist-out look.

Another twist-out look.

Hopefully this guide helped you out and you’re ready to create some beautiful two-strand twists. Good luck!

DVD Review: “Biggie Smalls: Rap Phenomenon” reveals little about late rap superstar

biggie_rap_phenomenonWith the 2009 release of the movie “Notorious” came the buzz about the life of the Notorious B.I.G, and with that buzz came documentary spinoffs such as “Biggie Smalls: Rap Phenomenon.”

Unlike “Notorious,” which deals with the life and death of one of rap’s brightest stars in more or less chronological format, “Rap Phenomenon” is an homage to Biggie’s prowess as a rapper that features footage from live shows, candid moments with the larger-than-life rapper and interviews with rap journalists, producers and rappers such as Snoop Dogg and Bad Boy affiliates The Lox.

The DVD is divided up into chapters — including “Swagger,” “Crew” and “Lyrics” — each of which pay homage to a different aspect of Big’s style. Still, the documentary feels as though it lacks direction.  Read More

CD Review: Musiq Soulchild’s “Onmyradio” sends all the right signals

onmyradio[Atlantic Records]

On his fifth album, Musiq Soulchild sticks to his thus-far successful blueprint, blending the classic and the contemporary with a collection of down-to-earth tracks about love — and not the kind to be found in this club.

He also adds an edgy flavor to a handful of less conventional songs that make the album sparkle.

Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of soul to go around — whether or not you want to add the “neo” designation to it — from the dusty, old school sound of “until” to the straight-out-of-the-’70s “deserveumore,” a track that borrows a page from Smokey Robinson & The Miracles’ “Ooh Baby Baby” as Musiq fiends for his significant other.  Read More

CD Review: “Cadillac Records” soundtrack can’t measure up to music legends

Cadillac_Records_Music_from_the_Motion_Picture[Music World Music/Columbia]

Measuring up to music legends such as Etta James, Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry is virtually impossible. So you’ll have to forgive the soundtrack to “Cadillac Records” — the movie that chronicles Chess Records co-founder Leonard Chess, who gave rise to some of the greatest blues, R& B and rock music to emerge in the ’50s and ’60s — for falling short.

The collection is a mixture of cover songs featuring Beyonce as Etta James, Mos Def as Chuck Berry, Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters and Columbus Short as Little Walter, along with new, retro-flavored material from Raphael Saadiq, Beyonce’s younger sister Solange and gospel duo Mary Mary.

Give the actors credit for rising to the challenge and taking on material originally sung by greats. But sometimes the results make you want to reach for the skip button.  Read More

CD Review: Kanye West’s “808s & Heartbreak” is more heartbreak than 808

808s_&_HeartbreakRoc-A-Fella/Def Jam

Chased the good life my whole life long/Look back on my life and my life gone/Where did I go wrong?

It was bound to happen. Kanye West couldn’t rap and sample Curtis Mayfield and Otis Redding forever. He had to become a New Wave singer.

The shift actually began on “Graduation,” when the Chi-town rapper/producer moved beyond a soul-infused sound toward electronica, pop-punk and some quirky, minimal beats (“Homecoming”) unlike what he’d done before.

But if “Graduation” was Kanye’s coming out party — a feel-good album that was part sonic experimentation and part celebration of the good life — “808s & Heartbreak” is the fallout, the morning after when your house is trashed and your head is pounding.  Read More

Five Songs that Sampled Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”

thriller_25With the release of Thriller 25 — the 25th anniversary edition of Michael Jackson’s crowning achievement and the world’s biggest selling album of all time — it’s a good time to look back and consider the influence that Thriller had on the music world. In addition to laying down the blueprint for the Justin Timberlakes of the music world to follow and ushering in a new brand of high-pitched exclamations (hee-hee!), Thriller provided some fodder for later pop, R&B and rap acts to sample.

Consider these five songs, all of which used elements of tracks off Thriller to boost their own success:  Read More

Top 10 songs by 50 Cent

50 centHate him or love him, 50 knows how to make hits.

Since the 2003 release of his debut album, “Get Rich or Die Tryin,” 50 Cent has basically run the rap game, single-handedly destroying the careers of lesser rappers like Ja Rule, racking up multiple #1 hits and garnering 11 Grammy nominations.

If you want to understand 50’s appeal, look at his album covers. He appears both shirtless and disgruntled, a gangster with sex appeal, or a sex symbol with a violent streak. Either way, the formula has founds its way into his songs, and it works.

On club joints, 50 gets right to the point: Go to a club, party, go home with multiple females. Not exactly the stuff that after-school specials are made of, but it’s fun to dance to.  Read More

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