First of all, people always say that their hair is not like mine (like I have some special type of hair) and that theirs will not look like mine does (well that part may be true). But, I feel that if I can wear a twist-out for two weeks anyone can.
The first step is twisting (two-strand twists). What works best for me is to start on freshly washed and moisturized hair. You can twist on hair that has been completely dried or on wet (not dripping wet - just towel blotted) hair. When twisting, I start at the back and work my way to the front.Instead of parting, I just grab sections of hair to twist - this way I do not have a lot of holes (resulting from the parts) and when I'm done, the twists actually look fuller. I also moisturize my entire head before twisting. You can also add moisturizer to each section before you twist, but I find that moisturizing before saves time, especially if you are planning to also use a twisting product.
As you twist, make sure you have about the same amount of hair in each section/strand that you are going to twist together. Also make sure the strands are the same length to avoid having to re-split the hair when you get to the bottom of the twist because you find that one side is not even. Having the same amount of hair in each section/strand makes an even definition, and avoiding having to re-split the two sections makes it easier to untwist for the twist-out.
Depending on the thickness/length of your hair and the size of your twists, twisting can take anywhere from two or more hours (it usually takes me about four with breaks in-between). And the fact that it takes me so long, is a reason I like to wear them as long as I can before wearing the twist-out. Two weeks in twists and two weeks out in the twist-out results in me not having to do my hair for about a month :o)
Lately, I have not used any gels, or loc butters when I twist my hair. Deciding on whether or not to use a twisting product really depends on how long you plan to wear your twists before untwisting, because the longer you keep the twists in, the more definition your twist-out will have, and the longer the definition will hold. I keep my twists in anywhere from two days to two weeks, so I do not use anything aside from a moisturizing pomade containing shea butter, and my twist-out lasts for about two weeks with about 90% of the untwisted twists still holding definition.
If you plan on keeping your twists in for a shorter period of time, i.e. a couple of hours or until they set/dry, then it is best to use an alcohol-free gel or twisting product - one of my favorites is Organic Root Stimulator Lock & Twist Gel http://www.organicrootstimulator.com/products/lock_twist.htm. Again, using a twisting product will help set your twists quicker as they dry and the definition of the twists will last a long time, especially in humid weather.
During the the two-stand twist process you may also re-moisturize sections (if you moisturized before twisting on freshly washed/moist hair you may find that some sections may start to feel dryer as you work your way to the top of your head). Also as you work your way to the top of your head consider how you want your twist-out to look.
Do you want more hair on one side than the other, do you want a bang, or do you want all of your hair flowing back and away from your face? Consider this as you begin to reach the top of your hair and twist your two-strands in the direction you want them to lay. At the end of my twist-out (mid-second week) I like to wear headbands, so most often I put cornrows or flat twists in the front going towards the back of my head - this also cuts down my twisting time.
When you get to the end of each completed two-strand twist, roll the ends between your fingers to seal them. I usually add a little more moisturizer on the ends of each twist during this step (just a dab on my finger before twisting the ends). If you are using a twisting product, be sure not to use too much or your twists will be white and take a longer time to dry.
At night, sleep with a satin/silk scarf or cap. I find that using a scarf makes my twists very flat so I prefer using a cap. If you feel that your twists look too flat or spacey, take your morning showers without using a shower cap, not to purposely drench your twists, but to let the steam plum them up which will also eliminate some of the spaces. (Some people even rinse their twists to plump them up, but I would not recommend this since the ultimate goal is to have a nicely defined twist-out.)
I usually do this (shower w/o cap) for just the first day or two after my twists are freshly done. If done too often, especially if you have not used a twisting product, this will cause your twists to become frizzy too soon and you will not be able to wear them for a long period of time without getting the urge to re-twist. During the weeks that my twists are in, I usually rinse my hair once a week with the vinegar and warm water mixture and re-moisturize.
Untwisting for the twist-out...
If needed, you can add moisturizer to your hair before untwisting. Always start at the scalp working your way down the length of the twist to the end when untwisting, again I start in the back and work my way up to the front. On smaller or tight twists you may have to start unraveling by twisting the two-strand a few turns in the direction opposite from which you twisted, making a split in the twist wide enough to get a finger in to then slide it down the length of the twist.
As you are untwisting also be careful not to disturb the form of the twists. When you are finished you can fluff out with your hands to style, and add accessories. Untwisting takes less than 15 minutes. Again at night use a silk/satin scarf or cap, and in the morning just fluff out and go. As the week goes by you will notice that your twist-out slowly will lose it's definition. Some people re-twist at night, but again this is very time consuming.
So to refresh my twist-out (try to wait until the end of the first week if you are planning to wear for two weeks) what I do is just focus on the twists that have lost the most definition, usually more in the back, and I just re-wet (just using wet fingers even if you have used a twisting product) and re-twist those, let them set over night and untwist in the morning.
As the second week goes by my twist-out gets fluffier because it starts to lose definition, and that's when I break out the headbands or clips to try to tame it, but this also makes it easier to detangle for the next style.
You can even stretch your twist-out further, the longest I've worn one is for three weeks, if you can stand that long without washing. I've also bypassed the re-twisting step because I found that frizziness in some spots gives the twist-out more depth, and that oftentimes I was the only one 'conscious' of the frizziness because most of my compliments come during what I call the final stages (last leg) of the twist-out.
I hope this was helpful -- until next time.
Peace and blessings....