7 Tips for Maintaining a TWA

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By Sasha Shae of AfroniquelyYou.com

Having natural hair comes in phases. For some of us there is the transition, for some we’re dealing with medium length hair that doesn’t past the arm pits, for some it’s learning to handle all that hair, because it’s so super long…but still there are those, like myself that have the TWA. Our hair is super short, but there are still things to be mindful of.

1. Moisturize Daily

Moisture is key in hair growth. You can’t expect hair to grow that has never been wanted. Think of your hair as a plant fiber, if that plant isn’t watered, it’s not growing..same with our hair. It needs some moisture. Good sources are water, aloe vera juice, or you can see some suggestions here. Also note that, while the TWA is the shortest hair of the bunch, it’s actually the most dry. The moisture dissipates very quickly, and therefore we need to moisturize daily to make sure our tresses are feeling supple.

2. You Still Need to Protect the Ends!

So yes, the main thing about having a TWA is not worrying about it brushing against the collar of our shirts, or brushing against rough materials, but friends, let’s face it…we ALL sleep! At night, a TWA rocker can do so much damage. If you’re sleeping without protecting your hair, watch out! You’ll soon see serious damage. Point is, even though our hair is very short, we must keep it protected to keep the longevity of it. See my post on protecting the hair at nights

3. Co-Wash and Clarify Washes

No matter what you do, you must cleanse your scalp and your hair. If you opt to do co-washes, then be sure to know you will also need to clarify wash once in a while. Co-washing is great for the TWA because it can be a good source of moisture washing for the hair. But without caution and with too much over-use of conditioners, you can experience build up. Build up on the scalp is never good. So clarify the muck by using a sulfate free shampoo or you can try an ACV rinse. Check out how I wash my TWA

4. It can be Styled!

This is one of the TOP complaints/topics I get in regards to TWA. People assume short hair means no style…huh? Says who? Last I checked, once there is hair, there is an opportunity to style! I recently posted on some styles you can do if you have a TWA. Don’t ever limit yourself because your hair is super short. Modify a style to meet your needs and make it work for you!

5. Accessorize It!

One of the quickest and easiest ways to make a TWA pop is by using accessories. Headbands, bows, clips, scarves, ribbons you name it. Go out and find the accessory lover in you, and add spice to your hairstyles. Even the most frizziest messiest twist-out can look amazing when you add the right piece to it. ;)

6. It will grow if you treat it right

Yup, everything comes down to good TLC..if you’re not loving your hair, you think it will love itself? You’ve got to love your hair, despite the times when it gets rough. You have to treat it right. Treating it right means, being gentle, being patient and also investing quality time and practices to nurture good hair growth. Treat your hair to a nice deep treatment, see some awesome suggestions here and also here.

7. Enjoy the Easy Days

One reason I will ALWAYS love the TWA phase, is the ease and quickness of doing my hair. Enjoy this phase while it lasts. Jumping in the shower, washing and then moisturizing sealing and out the door. It’s lightning fast to do your hair, it’s easy to slap a clip in to jazz it up and then go! Once it gets longer, it requires more time, and more discipline. Try making the most of these days.

EXTRA: As the winter approaches, take extra caution to protect your hair from the harsh weather. Wear hats with silk/satin lining and be sure to wear your hair up an away from your clothing. Moisture will be essential in these times. The air is dry, and your hair will suffer if not protected, so be sure to keep it tucked away, and do moisturizing often…avoiding products with glycerin and heavy humectants if you’re in humid and extremely dry areas.

Well those are my 7 tips for now. The TWA phase is a beautiful one. Don’t be a in a rush to get out of it. Think of this time as preparation for when it gets super long!

Ladies, how do you maintain and style your TWA?

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21 thoughts on “7 Tips for Maintaining a TWA

  1. I totally agree with this article! I love short hair, so this TWA phase is okay with me! I want the big hair, but that will come in due time! I transitioned for 3 months, then BC’ed in March. I absolutely loved my TWA by the third month in! It was perfect! I had even added some color! Now I have more fullness so I wear it in more styles. The ‘FroHawk’ is my ultimate go to style! But I consider cutting it back down quite often!

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  2. Great article. I learned the “lack of moisture” problem the hard way. I’m looking forward to bigger hair and I’m rapidly approaching the “in-between” stage…of which I’m a lil’ scared..lol. All and all the TWA is an experience I’m glad I didn’t miss. I tried transitioning but it just became to much real quick, and the shorter hair has allowed me to learn my hair without dealing with tangling and massive styling.

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  3. I’ve been natural for 12 years, and recently big chopped due to hair dye damage. I’m loving the short hair. Way less product. I have a nice simple routine that I hope I can continue. Also, I feel like my hair is growing like crazy and is soo soft since I’ve wetting my hair, adding some leave in, and sealing with shea daily. My hair is so amazing right now. Loves it!

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    • I totally agree. She looks fab with that short hair. Her pic was one of those I came across when I was doing a search on big chops & TWAS.

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    • Except for the last point, pretty much…

      I’ve worn the TWA off and on for years; my most recent BC was two years ago last month. When I think about it the only real difference between then and now in terms of care is TIME. More hair = more time. And I don’t even do a lot of complicated styles, which would add even more time.

      Each stage of hair growth has its good and bad sides. Some women get so freaked out by having short hair that they miss the good stuff…namely, being able to just get up, do the do, and GO. I STILL have days when I miss my TWA.

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  4. These are tips to grow out hair from a TWA rather than to maintain it. If you keep your hair really short, you don’t need to do so much – that’s the whole point of having short hair! (They’re still good tips, but washing and moisturising are enough for TWA maintainance.)

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    • Honestly, all I do these days is wash and cowash my TWA and it’s still growing…so I agree that not much needs to be done to a TWA at all.

      However, I did not see many extra tips on here except accessorizing, styling, and covering your hair at night. And the first two don’t even sound necessary to growing out a TWA, so I don’t see how the tips entail doing a lot.

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  5. I recently did my second big chop like.. yesterday lol (im at 1 to 1 1/2 inches of hair) and i did it not because of damage but because i realize that my obsession with long lengths (or lack thereof) was causing me to focus less on other things. I also realized that for me I really wanted long hair to feel validated .. and that is not healthy. so now im back to a twa and i love it… and i feel more free and less worried about whether Im 2 inches or 1 inch away from apl or whether i should color it or not because i know that i can grow it back to a healthy twa in no time.

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    • Yep, I did the same thing in August because of the long hair obsession I was getting. I love my short hair, so easy and freeing!

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  6. So.. as I was looking for somewhere to post a question on some kind of natural hair website for advice (which is hard by the way), I came across this article which I am very grateful for. I big chopped about three weeks ago today and I have been doing research every single day. It never fails. This is my first time working with my natural hair EVER. I got a relaxer when I was 6 and before then, my mom of course was doing my hair so i’m verrrrry new to this. ANYWAY, most people don’t blog in detail about maintaining healthy natural hair while having a TWA. Not saying that it’s a VERY big difference, but there are certain things you can’t do, or at least I feel like you can’t do with a TWA. Most blogs, vlogs, articles etc. talk about using a lot of protective styles, tucking away your ends, staying away from wash and go’s or wearing your hair out but for people with short hair, they only way to really accomplish that is throwing on a wig lol or if you have a good grip of hair, but braids in it. But at this point, my purpose is to LEARN my hair and I can’t do that if its hidden all the freaking time. Trial and error right? I’m new to this so I wanna play in my hair all the time (but I don’t) but y’all still get the point. Whole point, thanks for this lol. I found it very helpful and hopefully I can find more detailed articles on having and maintaining a TWA.

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  7. OMG I’m so happy to see that you posted this last month. I did my BC on the 9 of march and then got braids the next day because I moved to Germany and it was cold. As of now I still have the braids in but I’m do anxious to take my hair down because I’m wondering if it’s getting moisturizer properly. I’ve never been natural myself and wanted some tips from you as to how things are going with your twa and what are you doing to it now

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  8. Hiya! I’ve done the big chop just about two weeks ago as my hair was getting thinner and would break so easily with all the chemicals and perms I would put in it to make it look ‘nice’.
    Your blog has loads of interesting insights on how to take care for my hair.
    To clarify my TWA, I’ve been using water and vinegar to rinse out the products I put in my hair everyday. But I’ve got no idea what a co-wash is… I also seal moisture with a combination of oils and shea butter, however I haven’t found a way to actually simply moisture my hair. Any tips on that?
    Some of the links you’ve put in this article are expired for some reason so please help !!
    Thank you !

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    • Hello there! For me, with adding moisture, I get a spray bottle and mix water, olive oil and a little bit of my favorite conditioner. That provides plenty of moisture and conditioning for me. Take care and be blessed!

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  9. I can’t twist my TWA. It is too short to twist and I just cannot manipulate the fine tooth comb to twist and forget about the back. It’s 4C/D all over. My hair is the length of “snap of a finger” and it looks terrible within a few days after my stylist gives me the comb twist out. I cannot afford to go to the salon weekly, so I’m back to braids but I do want to wear my own hair out. Suggestions?

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    • Hey girl I feel ya. My hair is so short and I can’t twist it or do anything with it. you need to try a wash and go. I have been rocking that and it works. As for products try Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Eco Styler Gel or As I am Gel. This works wonders for my 4a hair. I actually prefer the As I am Gel because it has no crunch. I hope this works for you.

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  10. I did my BC last night. And I’m so happy; no regrets or tears! I transitioned on accident for 7 months. I run and this past summer started having hair issues after 1 1/2 years of running and went to braids. As most of my runners have natural hair subconsciously, I guess I wanted that experience; less expensive and less hastle. So, after my second round of braids I choose to go natural. I was going to do the transition for another 6 months but having relaxed hair and natural was a MONSTER! So, off with my hair I went.

    Thanks for this article but I’m also looking for daily hair regimen. I will be adding water, olive oil, and conditioner to my spray bottle. But I’m curious about do you put a leave in conditioner before the Eco Styler or As I Am and specific products you use at night. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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  11. I am 2 months natural with a TWA. I use Wen hair care products by Chaz Dean. I have tried a couple styling products, eco gel, Mizani, and KCCC and the Wen products seem yield better results. I do mostly wash and go’s using the Wen cleansing conditioner (Fig) to wash and as a leave in. Then I use the Wen hair oil to seal and with that I use the Wen styling crème and/or the Wen defining paste to define my curls. Wen also have a re-moist conditioner for deep conditioning and I deep condition every week. My hair/TWA does well with the Wen products, they provide excellent hydration, my hair feels soft and have a shine. Wen products are all natural and the key to success with Wen is to follow the instructions for use to the letter. I am definitely a Wen girl!

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