Seriously, if you don't even know how to braid, two-strand rope twists are some of the easiest things to do. My husband cannot braid to save his life, but he can do a two-strand rope twist.....yes, they're that easy!
The weird thing is, I saw a lot of videos of how to do these when I was trying to learn and I just plain wasn't getting it (I had the same problem when I was learning to cornrow). Everyone has their own way of holding hair and if it's not exactly how I'm used to doing it it just messes me up. Don't even get me started on my having to learn to braid under-handed instead of over-handed. That's a whole other post!
What really helped me was to read how it was done and then try it. And then read, and try it again. And again. Finally it clicked. Of course, I feel like a complete idiot that it took me so long to figure out something so simple, but I just thought I'd share where I stood in on the learning curve.
To start, be sure to have on-hand whatever styling gel/cream you plan to use to set your twist. We are currently using Blended Beauty's Happy Nappy Styles, but you can use whatever works best for you. Whether or not you want to band the hair first before you twist is up to you. Boo has mostly 4a hair and can hold twists pretty well without banding at the base, so we don't do it anymore. When she was younger and her hair less curly we used to band first. If this is your first time trying out a twist it might be helpful to band the base just to have a secure section from which to start your twist.
1. Divide the block of hair that you want to put into a twist into two equal sections:
If the sections are not equal you will quickly be able to tell when you start twisting the hair. You will see a much thicker rope followed by a thinner rope, and that just doesn't look pretty.
2. Coil the hair in your right hand around your finger clockwise until it twists into a nice single strand of "rope:"
If you are not using bands, be sure to twist very closely to the scalp in order to get a really secure base to the twist.
3. With the hair in your left hand, also start twisting the hair in your hand (just that section) clockwise to form the second part of the rope (do not cross the strands yet):
At this point (unlike the photo above) you will have one section twisted (clockwise) in your right hand and one section twisted (clockwise) in your left hand. (You can see that I already created a large portion of the twist above. I added a lot of conditioner to the hair to provide contrast for the photos and it's easier to see--in photos--how the hair is twisted when it's not so close to the scalp.)
4. With one "rope" in your right hand, and one "rope" in your left hand, cross the right rope over the left rope, wrapping the two coiled strands together:
This was the key that I was missing in all the videos that I watched: Twist the two individual sections together in one direction and then twist them around each other in the opposite direction. I do the individual strands clockwise and the twist counterclockwise, but you can do it the other way around.
5. Grab the strand that you just passed to your right hand and repeat the process of twisting clockwise and passing over counter-clockwise:
How you want to finish off the ends is also a matter of choice and hair type. Boo's hair is curly enough to hold a twist on the ends without any banding, snaps, or barrettes. I will, however, usually finish them off with beads or barrettes just to make them look pretty (and because that's usually what she wants). If you are working with less than 4a hair, you will definitely need something on the ends to keep the twists from unraveling.
So there it is. My really long-winded instructions on how to do possibly the easiest hairstyle since the puff! As always, please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or tips to share.