“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.
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.
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!
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.