How to Turn Two Strand Twists into Dreadlocks

Starting dreads with two-strand twists is almost like cheating. Two-strand twists are incredibly low-maintenance, and you don’t even have to visit a salon to get them… you can easily install them yourself. Best of all, …

Starting dreads with two-strand twists is almost like cheating. Two-strand twists are incredibly low-maintenance, and you don’t even have to visit a salon to get them… you can easily install them yourself. Best of all, twists work for absolutely every natural hair type and texture. As long as your hair is at least 2-3” long, a little twisting is the first step to long, thick, healthy dreadlocks.

Here’s how to turn two strand twists into dreads:

  1. Wash and condition the hair, and apply a moisturizer.
  2. Part the hair according to your desired dreadlock size and pattern (in about 1 ½” sections).
  3. Twist the two strands, crossing one over the other repeatedly from roots to ends.
  4. Keep your strands in twists, retwisting every 4-8 weeks until dreadlocks form.

It’s that easy. Below, we’ll discuss what to expect with two-strand twists, especially if you want to transition twists to dreadlocks. Don’t miss our step-by-step guide on turning two strand twists into dreadlocks.

What is a Two-Strand Twist?

The two-strand twist, AKA “twists” or “mini twists,” is a popular natural hairstyle. Why is it so popular?

The two-strand twist:

  • Can be done at home
  • Is relatively easy to do
  • Is a low-maintenance style
  • Works for any natural texture
  • Protects the hair
  • Hydrates the hair

There are different ways to style the two-strand twist, but in general, the twists are created by wrapping two strands around together from roots to ends. A two-strand twist can also be used to twist additional synthetic hair in with your natural hair.

The “twist out” is another natural hairstyle that occurs naturally after removing the twists. The result of a “twist out” can range from loose waves to tight spirals, depending on how tight the twists were.

Are twists permanent?

Two-strand twists can last up to 6 weeks. The tighter they’re done, the longer they will last – loose twists may begin to fall out within 2 weeks.

Keep in mind that twisting hair too tightly can cause breakage. To make your twists last as long as possible, use a twist pudding and wear a silk or satin scarf to bed.

Do hair twists hurt?

Twisting the hair right at the roots can cause some discomfort if it is done tightly. Most people experience a little tension during and shortly after twisting; however, if you are experiencing recurring headaches, the twists are too tight!

What’s the difference between two strand and three strand twists?

Both types of twists are extremely popular among all natural hairstyles and textures, although a three-strand twist may be less common because it’s more intricate.

Although a three-strand twist sounds like a braid, it’s not. While the two-strand twist requires you to wrap two pieces of your hair around one another, resulting in a spiral pattern, a three-strand twist involves 3 individual pieces of hair that intertwine around one another to form a single twist. Fortunately, the two-strand and three-strand techniques are similar, so if you’ve done one you should be able to catch onto the other quickly.

When you remove the twists for a twist out, a three-strand will produce more of a tight, spiral curl look, whereas the two-strand will probably produce small waves. You can refer to the chart below to learn more about the differences between two-strand and three-strand twists.

Two-Strand TwistsThree-Strand Twists
Takes less time to doTakes a little more time to install
Is easy to learnTakes some practice to get the hang of the technique
Results in a frizzier twist out and looser curlsGives a more defined, less frizzy twist out and tighter curls
Gives a tighter grip at the root, so it does not loosen as easilyRequires extra effort to tighten at the root

What are the Benefits?

There are plenty of reasons why twists are so popular.


There is some controversy out there that the tension of twists can break the hair, but the truth is, as long as the twists aren’t too tight, and your hair isn’t in a particularly weak state, the twists should protect the hair from constant brushing and pulling.

Usually, a two-strand twist style is low-tension compared to braids and other options, so it’s not pulling out the natural hair. Twists don’t need to be touched, pulled, changed, or adjusted often, which helps you keep your hands off your hair. When your hair is in twists, it has time and space to grow long and healthy.

The twists also help the hair retain moisture, so be sure to put plenty of moisture into the hair when you install the twists.

Easy to Start

What if you’re not the best with braiding? What if you want to avoid an expensive stylist? Two-strand twists are the way to go.

You can do them in the comfort of your own home, although it may take about 30 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the thickness of your hair and the tightness of the twists. Since it’s just a basic wrapping method, anyone can learn it! You can wrap additional hair in as well, but it’s easiest to use only your natural tresses.


Twists are also very versatile – you can use small strands of hair to build your twists, or you can do them chunkier and messier. The twists can be tied up into various up-dos after they are installed. Plus, it’s fun to add all kinds of adornments like clips and beads to the twists. As if twists weren’t already great enough, you also get a beautiful hairstyle after you remove them (the “twist out”).

Great for those starting with long hair

Two strand twists come in a variety of different lengths. Both men and women can wear them. Twists can work for anyone, whether you have 2-3” hair or hair that extends past the waistline. If you plan to transform your twists into dreadlocks, hair 3-4” or longer is best. This will give the locs a solid foundation.

Locs should grow thicker

If you start dreadlocks with two-strand twists, the locs will turn out thicker than if you form them with finger coils. If that’s the look you’re going for, start your locs out with the easy twisting method. Let’s talk more about getting dreadlocks with two-strand twists.

Can two strand twists turn into dreadlocks?

Yes, you can start your dreads out with twists! As the twists begin to loosen, the hair will begin to dread. Two-strand twists hold the hair tightly together so it can start locking over the weeks and months.

How long does it take for two strand twists to Loc?

What do you need to transform twists into dreadlocks? Just a little patience.

Two-strand twists can take up to 2 years to fully lock, although it happens for some people after 6 months. Your hair texture and density will determine how quickly the dreads lock.

You can also start dreadlocks with braids or comb coils, but some say that dreads form faster with twists than braids because the hair is looser. Two-strand twists are a great locking method that works for all hair types.

How do you do two strand twist locs?

Step-by-Step Process

If you’re ready to start locking your two-strand twists, here’s the step-by-step guide.

  1. Shampoo with a clarifying shampoo to destroy buildup.
  2. Deeply condition the hair.
  3. Moisturize with an oil or penetrating moisturizer. Cover every strand.
  4. Determine what size of locs you want – larger twists mean larger locs. Two-strand twists tend to result in medium to thick locs. Remember that twists always swell as they become dreads.
    1. For the smallest locs, part your hair in ¾ inch sections or smaller.
    1. For small locs (about the size of a pencil), part your hair in 1 ¼ inch sections.
    1. For medium locs (about the size of a pen), part the hair in 1 ½ inch sections.
    1. For thick locs (about the size of a Sharpie marker), part the hair in 1 ¾ inch sections.
    1. For the thickest locs, part the hair in 2-inch sections.
  5. Once you know what size of loc you’re going for, you can begin parting. There are a few different parting systems to consider…
    1. Square: The most straightforward technique, this type of part has straight sides and should be done with a bricklaying pattern. Check out this video on the square parting technique.
    1. Organic: The easiest method, organic parting involves grabbing hair with the fingers without doing neat parts with a parting comb. Try to make sure your sections are all the same size.
    1. Arch: Arch parting (AKA crescent parting) involves shaping each section in a half-circle shape. Check out this video on the arch parting technique.
    1. Diamond: Diamond parting involves sectioning each part into a diamond shape at the root, and it is beautiful, but difficult to achieve. You may want to visit a salon for diamond parting, or refer to this video.
  6. Section the hair into four equal sections with a highlighting or rattail comb. For square or diamond parts, ensure that the parts are perfectly straight.
  7. Tie each section with an elastic to separate them from one another.
  8. Make your first part, starting with the back sections, using the parting pattern you chose.
  9. After making one part, separate the parted section into two strands, and cross one strand over the other again and again until you reach the ends.
  10. Continue the parting and twisting process, ensuring your twists all go in the same direction.
  11. If your twists begin to unravel as you try to allow them to dread, just re-twist them back to the ends. At a minimum, retwist your hair every 4-8 weeks.
  12. You should see your dreadlocks begin to bud in about 3 months, although progress will continue for 6 months to 2 years.


Have more questions about two-strand twists?

How do you keep two strand twists from unraveling?

Unraveling twists can be frustrating. Here are some tips to deal with loose twists.

  • Install a coil: When you first twist your hair, install a coil at the bottom centimeter of the hair. Wrap the last centimeter of hair around the finger to prevent the twists from unraveling.
  • Use the right products: Before twisting, use a gel, preferably one specifically made for twisting. A heavy oil like Jamaican Black Castor Oil may also prevent the twists from unraveling.
  • Bobby pin: Keep the roots bobby-pinned until all twists are completely dry.
  • Use a tighter twisting technique: Instead of a standard two-strand twist, try a three-strand twist or rope twisting technique.

How do you keep two strand twists from frizzing?

To minimize frizzing, use a twist pudding when you first install the style. Refrain from moisturizers with humectants, which can make the hair frizz. Smaller, tighter twists frizz less. Over-moisturizing can actually make twists frizzier, so don’t spray your twists daily if you don’t have to.

Let There be Locs!

A two-strand twist is a popular way to get to dreads because although it requires some patience, the style is low-maintenance and conducive for forming dreads. For busy people who want to look stylish while their dreads lock, starting with two-strand twists is the way to go.