How Long Should Your Retwist REALLY Last?

“How long do you expect your retwist to last?”— I asked this question to over a hundred people with locs and all the answers were different. Some measured their retwist in weeks while others measured it by the number of workouts. One response that really stood out to me was— “my hair should grow from my scalp locked”. I laugh, but it is not funny how common this belief is. So, once and for all, let’s break down the myth of the everlasting retwist…

How long should your retwist really Last?

Before we can even discuss the lasting effects of a retwist let’s be clear about the technique. A retwist is intended to help shape the root area of hair into condensed, rope-like, cylindrical sections of hair. I should also note that even without retwisting locs will still form— hence freeform locs— but they are often flat or misshapen [no shade]. So now that we know what the purpose of retwisting is – to shape – let’s get into its longevity.

retwist on thick locs

myth: your retwist should last for 4+ weeks.

For most textures, at best your retwist may last for 2 weeks. And by “last” I mean stay together, without unraveling and/or loosening at the roots. Before you start shaking your head, understand that this is a common belief when cultivating locs from a holistic approach to hair locking. On the other hand, if you ask a loctician that cultivates locs from a stylistic approach they will likely tell you that a retwist should last 4+ weeks. Which is possible but the types of products to make that happen often cause extreme buildup.

Related Article: The 4 Different Philosophies of Hair Locking

Have you ever considered that the belief that your roots should stay in place for 4+ weeks is a byproduct of European standards of beauty? Think about it— our hair is textured —it has curls, coils, kinks and waves that do not want to just lay flat. And yet somehow we’ve been made to believe that “laid” hair is the standard so we have to purchase “tight hold” and “no frizz” products to subdue our hair. I spoke more about this belief in one of our weekly live “Q&A With A Loctician” sessions titled “The Everlasting Retwist”.



how to deal with your retwist not lasting

Instead of working against your natural hair, you can work with your hair and learn to achieve longer-lasting retwists not with product, that suffocates the hair and scalp, but with technique. Learning clip organization, compression styling, and grooming are just a few simple but impactful methods of loc cultivation that don’t cause harm and support a (reasonably) lasting retwist.

With that said, I encourage you not to become frustrated with your retwist unraveling or loosening at the roots— it’s natural. Instead empower yourself to trust the process, understand that patience is required and know that you’re not alone…we’re always growing through these stages.

In the comments, I would love to hear how long your typical retwist lasts!

For more information about hair locking techniques and grooming methods register for the “How to Retwist Your Locs at Home” workshop.

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Jocelyn Reneé

Jocelyn Reneé is a Licensed Cosmetologist, Loctician and Textured Hair Educator. She was born and raised in the Washington DC area and is a graduate of the Aveda Institute Cosmetology Science program. With over 14 years in the Hair Care Industry, from Salon Assistant to Natural Hair Blogger to Professional; Jocelyn is passionate about cultivating healthy hair.

Blog Comments

Good morning my Regina Davis my question is i has psoriasis and can you tell me what kind of shampoo and what kind oil can I used for my scalp

Peace Regina! Yes, I teach you what shampoos, oils, and relief techniques work best for managing a scalp condition with locs in the Scalp Care Workshop. Click here to get started.

My retwists, when I do them, last for a short while. I have to wash my hair almost every week. I stopped worrying about how it looks and so I retwist when I feel like it.

There is so much more freedom when you embrace your roots and give them space to just be!

Good morning my name is Regina and my question what kind of shampoo and oils can use on my on scalp since I have dandruff or might be sco

Hi Regina! Using mediated/anti-dandruff shampoos typically offer a lot of relief for dandruff/itchy scalp. Your goal is to control and manage the dandruff so that it doesn’t cause buildup in your locs or result in thinning from overly scratching. In the “Scalp Care & Irritation Solutions” workshop, I teach you how to build your regimen to address the scalp concerns and each of the necessary products for long-term relief.

Hi my retwist only last about a week or a week and a half. I’ve had my locs for 5 years.

Yeah 9-14 days is about my range too

I retwist my myself. I’m currently washing and interlocking my hair every 2 weeks. Is this something that can cause my hair damage over time?
I’ve been told to Re tighten only every 4 weeks. But My hair grows really quickly (about half an inch every 2 weeks) and I feel I couldn’t manage it if I was to Re tighten every 4 weeks.

Yes that is way too often. Checkout and read this article, Unhealthy Hair Care Habits With Locs, I think it will really put things into perceptive for you.

My retwist last a week in a half, 2 weeks max

Yup, that’s about right!

Two weeks is about the max my retwists last and I’m not overly active.

What are your thoughts on interlocking?

When I used to get my hair palm rolled, it lasted 7-10 days at best. Now that I get my hair interlock’d, I can easily go 6-8+ weeks.

Yes! There is such a difference with the longevity of palm-rolling versus interlocking!

Hi. I’ve recently passed my 1 year mark and I wash and retwist myself. In the beginning I used to retwist (palmroll) every week because it got fuzzy quickly and I was still experimenting with products. Now I am learning to just use oils in my retwist and I noticed it’s lasted for 2 weeks now with less irritation on my scalp which I am so happy about. Your post help alot, thank you

Peace Carla-Maria

Thank you for the support, happy the post helped.

my hair last about 2 weeks. I was every 3 weeks, sometime I retwist and sometime I let it do what it do.

My retwist lasts anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.

That’s great! What products are you using, if any?!

I’m newly loc’d 9 months to be exact. My twist last a little over a week. What I have learned is to embrace the frizz. I no longer twist on a schedule routine. Last twist was about 5 weeks ago. I now wash without retwisting and my starter locs are thriving. My hair is not thick, but I noticed my locs and my roots have gotten so much thicker…I love the frizz, the loose roots and of course the journey. You are so right patience is key!

So happy you have found what works for you and your locs! Healthy and thriving are the goals!!!

GM young lady I’m using jamaican mango & lime lock fro, is this good for lock it’s the oy one that helps my locks

I do agree that it probably will keep your hair together which may feel like your hair is “locking” but in the long run it will cause build up.

Love this article and your blog in general!! My retwist pretty much lasts longer depending on how the after care gone be and also the size of a specific loc, smaller ones are more intact. But generally about 10 days, I use palm rolling method

hi! i have a question that is unrelated. can dying your locs make it grow at a slower pace? i’ve had my locs for about 2.5 years now

The dye should not directly affect the growth rate, but if you are not caring for your colored hair (and health) properly it will slow down the growth.

Hi, I’m 4 months into my loc journey and I wash my hair every 2 weeks and retwist every 2 – 3 weeks. I find that my retwists last only until my wash day, and after then, I can only go about a week or so before they start to combine. To be honest, I don’t really mind the frizz, but I’m not ready to free-form just yet, and I get worried that if I wait too long to retwist, my roots will tangle so much, that I’ll have trouble separating them during the next retwist, and that ripping the combined locs apart all the time can cause my locs to weaken down the line.

Sounds like you need to do loc popping in between your shampoo/retwist sessions to keep them separated. Watch this video:

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