They are modern, beautiful, and exceptionally creative. In one word, they are yarn braids. Of course, you might already be familiar with them because they have been causing quite a storm on Instagram and Pinterest for a few seasons now. But you might not know all the ins and outs when it comes to yarn braids. Which is exactly why we’ve decided to dedicate an entire piece to them. Keep reading to find out what they are, how to create them, how to take care of them, and what are the benefits of yarn braids in 2021.
What Are Yarn Braids?
All these topics sound very interesting, but we need to start right at the beginning in order to understand this gorgeous hairstyle. Namely what exactly are yarn braids? Just as the name suggests, yarn braids are braids made of, you’ve guessed it, yarn.
Yarn is a natural fiber made of cotton that has been spun very finely into what looks like thread. This is what specialists, hairstylists, and different manufacturers use to produce yarn braids.
They come in a variety of colors and they get attached to your scalp, mimicking real, natural braids. Of course, they are synthetic. This is the main reason why there is a debate going on around yarn braids.
Some people are completely against them because they are cheap and can look childish or entirely non-natural. While others think that yarn braids are an out of the box idea that will give you a fresh and edgy look. They allow you protect your natural hair but get as creative as you want in the hair styling department at the same time.
The truth, as usual, is somewhere in the middle. The reality is that yarn braids are very cheap and they can look bad if done incorrectly. The process of installing yarn braids should be left to professionals. You can do it by yourself at home, but you should practice first. However, when installed correctly and when the right aesthetic is chosen that fits you well, yarn braids can actually produce a beautiful style that will be envied by everyone.
What Are the Benefits of Yarn Braids?
Yarn braids are a bold move, that’s true. But once you get the courage to braid up, you get to experience the amazing benefits that come from sporting yarn braids. Here are just a few.
Yarn braids are extremely cheap
And by that we mean dirt cheap. In fact, they might just be the cheapest option around when it comes to synthetic braiding. The reason is that they are made of cotton. Therefore, you will only need one or two packs of yarn braids to begin with for your entire head, depending on how thick you want them to be. And this will only cost you around $5. How’s that for a bargain? We can guarantee you will never find a braiding hairstyle cheaper than this!
They look quite natural
Yes, we know, you will immediately say how can this be? They are made of cotton, how could they possibly look natural? But it’s true. However, the trick here is to have them professionally installed. Or, if you insist on doing it yourself, you will need to spend a considerable amount of time learning how to do it.
When yarn braids are installed properly, they can look almost natural. In the sense that other people will have to lean in very closely to be able to tell if this is your real hair or not. All for the price of a few dollars!
One of the main reasons is that the yarn is super fine. It can then be twisted and turned in such a way that it resembles natural hair. Apart from that, yarn braids are then burned off and frayed at the edges to make them look even more like your typical strands of hair.
Yarn braids are low maintenance
They are simple to manage because they require less upkeep on your part than a typical type of weave that you have braided. In other words, you won’t have that much to do other than make sure your yarn braids are always moisturized. If not, they can start pulling at the roots of your natural hair and actually rip it off.
You can achieve that easily enough by using organic hair oils to soak your scalp in. Leave in conditioner will work just as well to keep your braids happy and healthy.
They retain moisture
Building on the above, another amazing benefit of yarn braids as opposed to other types of extensions and even natural hair is this. They retain moisture because they are made of yarn, which is essentially cotton, a highly absorbent type of fabric.
What does this mean for you? That yarn braids can be the perfect protective hairstyle for you if you have dry hair or scalp. Seeing as they retain more moisture than other kinds of extensions, they will be able to hydrate you and fix your problem. It’s almost like a hydration vacation for your hair, which will be able to stay moisturized all the time. And you won’t have to work hard at all for this to happen.
However, this also means that they can get wet extremely easily. Never forget that they are made of cotton, after all. As a consequence, yarn braids will become very heavy when wet, which could damage your natural roots because of the added weight. This could create a problem when trying to wash them, as you will see below.
Yarn braids eliminate the need for dye
This is the real meaning of the term ‘protective hairstyle.’ Yarn braids come in literally every color and shade you could possibly want. And all the combinations you need. Therefore, you will never have to dye your own natural hair as long as you wear yarn braids.
As a consequence, you can give your hair a break if it needs it. Or you can protect it by not exposing it to all the chemicals found in hair dye or bleach. Just let your creativity run wild and choose the colors that appeal to you the most.
They are super personalizable
This means that you can get any type or style of yarn braids you want. For example, you can simply go for a pop of color here are there, in the style of peekaboo highlights. Or you can opt for some yarn braids near your face that showcase your favorite shade.
Otherwise, if you’re bold, you can choose to have your whole head done. The idea here is that yarn braids can truly cater to any style you have in mind.
The Cons of Yarn Braids
Because we want to give only the best info on your preferred hairstyles, let’s take a look now at the cons of getting yarn braids as well.
They are super heavy
Yes, that’s true. Especially if you haven’t worn extensions for a long time or if you have never had extensions installed, yarn braids will really seem like a burden. But there’s a trick to overcome this. Try not to get tempted by how cheap the fabric is and install more braids than you need or your neck can carry.
Instead, limit yourself to a decent number of yarn braids that will feel comfortable, that will not pull at your scalp, and that will not give you neck pains.
You can’t wash them
The reason here is pretty self-explanatory. If you’ve ever washed a thick, cotton shirt by hand you will understand how it will feel to wash your yarn braids. Getting them wet is simply not an option.
First of all, you cannot, under any circumstance, use shampoo or conditioner on them. It will prove almost impossible to rinse it out of the braids and you will be stuck with buildup.
Second of all, you will have a very hard time trying to dry them off. Even when you think the yarn has completely dried off, that might just be the outside. There is absolutely no way to tell what is going on in the middle of the braid. Since they are thick and made of yarn, the braids could retain moisture and slowly mold or rot on the inside.
Therefore, do not wash your yarn braids and try not to get caught in the rain or snow while wearing them.
Installing them will take a long time
Whether you choose to do it yourself or see a professional hairstylist, the installation process can take up to three days. Of course, it all depends on the length and thickness you want. But you still have to be prepared to go through this lengthy process.
Hairdos are heavy as well
If you’re thinking about large and messy buns or fishtails, you will have to think again because they will be very heavy. Probably much to heavy for you to support. The reason is that when you’re trying to tie all your yarn braids into a single fishtail braid or bun, their collective weight will be too much for your neck. This, in turn, will limit the number of hairstyles you can create with yarn braids.
They may attract lint
This is down to the source fabric once again. Since they are primarily made of cotton, yarn braids will attract a certain amount of lint. They will pick it up off your clothes, scarves, and pillows case. Therefore, you can try to limit this process by swapping your pillow case for a silk one or by wrapping your hair up in a silk scarf while you sleep. You can also run a small lint brush through your yarn braids to remove the excess.
How Long do Yarn Braids Last?
The limit with these braids is somewhere between five and eight weeks. However, you can remove your braids sooner if you feel they are getting messy or your natural hair is pocking through the loops.
In the same way, if the braids are smaller and thinner, in the style of pencil braids, you can wear them for up to two months without the need to take them out. Still after two months, you will notice a lot of growth especially around the roots. This is when the style will become unaesthetic and you will have to remove and replace your yarn braids.
If you want, you can give your hair a break of a few weeks between installments.
You can also choose to remove your yarn braids after a few weeks when you start to see some discoloration in them. As time progresses, the color in the yarn will fade because of friction, sunlight, and moisture. That’s when it’s time to take them off and get a fresh set.
Does Your Hair Loc with Yarn Braids?
Here is a very common question that a lot of women ask when it comes to these braids. Will my hair loc if I wear yarn braids all the time? It’s a natural question to ask because yarn braids are not natural and because you cannot wash your hair like you normally do with other types of weaves or extensions.
The answer, however, is somewhere in the middle. Yes and no. Meaning yes, your hair will loc much faster than with other kinds of synthetic hair extensions or with other styles of braids.
But also no. Here’s why. Your hair will only loc if you use natural yarn extensions. The natural yarn fibers which are made of cotton will slowly but surely disintegrate because of the natural every day friction and start mixing with your hair, locking it. This is also why removing natural yarn braids is such a long and difficult process.
However, if you use synthetic yarn, you shouldn’t have to worry about locking at all.
How to Do Yarn Braids at Home
Installing yarn braids on your own at home is not difficult, but it will take some practice and quite a lot of time. Here are all the steps you need to follow.
- When you decide what length you would like your final braids to be, measure the yarn and double that length. That’s the amount of yarn you need.
- Brush your hair very well until there are no more tangles left.
- Separate all your hair in different sections, depending on how many braids you will be doing. A rat-tail comb is best for sectioning but you can use a normal one as well. Secure each section with a clip or an elastic band.
- Moisturize the section you will be braiding very well with hair oil.
- Take two pieces of your yarn by their centers so that they form a loop. Place that loop that you’ve just created right on your scalp next to the section of hair you have moisturized. Pull the section of hair through the loop. Hold the hair and the loop of the yarn as tightly as you can at the root.
- Now that you have combined your hair and the yarn, you can divide them into three sections. Place two pieces of the yarn on your left, your own hair in the middle, and two more pieces of yarn on the right.
- Secure the top or root of your hair and yarn together. Start braiding a simple, three-strand braid.
How to Do Yarn Braids at Home
- Stop braiding only when you have about half an inch of your natural hair left. At this point, you need to cross over a piece of yarn from your right hand side and start braiding with it. As it goes you should now have the two pieces of fabric on the left that you started with, only one piece of fabric on the right, and your hair plus a strand of yarn in the middle.
- Keep braiding in this formation until you reach your desired length or the end of the yarn that you have originally cut or prepared for yourself.
- When you are done, you can secure the end of the yarn braid with an elastic band to keep it from unravelling.
- Continue with the same process for your entire head.
- Burn the ends of your braids to keep them from unravelling. However, please be careful not to burn yourself in the process. If the yarn is synthetic, then the ends of the braids will burn slowly, and you will have time to manage the situation. However, if the yarn is natural and made of cotton or wool, it will burn in a matter of seconds and you can easily burn your entire braid or your hand. Caution is necessary when burning the tips of your braids!
As we’ve already seen, yarn braids are not a simple solution fit for every single woman. However, there is absolutely no doubt that they are cheap, fun, and protective toward your natural hair. Choose the right type of yarn and work on perfecting the installation method if you’re planning on doing them at home by yourself and you should be good to go!