Ahhh, Jayke, that's EXACTLY what I do! I thought it was just me and everyone else could do it without needing to twist it and then make the U shape lol.
Yeah, so apparently twisting the end a bit and the folding it into a U shape is a good method on how to get beads in you can put them in at any stage, and the size and length depends on how thick or thin your dreads are, I suppose.
Another way is if the hole of the bead is small is to get a darning needle and thread with embroidery thread, wrap the other end of thread around your dread where you want the bead to beand tie a knot, weave needle through end of your dread and then through bead, then slide bead up the thread and the dread. Just cut knot end of thread and pull out. Its a great way for getting smaller things that r not going to go on the dreads easy:)
Here is the simplest way I have found to put on beads. Get some dental floss, fold it in half and put it through the bead. You should now have a loop out of the end. Now put the end of your dread in the loop and pull the floss back out. floss. Easiest way to get beads on small dreads or ones with thin hair at the tips. Has worked for every bead I ever put on. ...peace