Yarn Braids: Inspiration and Why You Should Get this Protective Style

Go as subtle or as creative as your heart desires with yarn braids.

As the name suggests, yarn braids are braids made up of, you guessed it, yarn instead of regular hair extensions. Yarn braids are one of that fun, creative looks that have caught our eye on the street (and on social), and although this hairstyle isn’t necessarily new, it’s certainly a cool and creative trend that, yes, can also look really natural and beautiful when done correctly.

Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind with yarn braids is that it’s a more affordable alternative to hair extensions. Acrylic (not wool!) yarn can be half or even just a third as much as weave hair. Acrylic yarn also gives you a lot more color variety—the possibilities are endless!

There are so many styles and colors you can try out with yarn braids. Keep scrolling to get inspiration and find out why you need to try this protective style next.

Love the look of colorful yarn braids, but don’t want to commit to dyeing your hair? Maybe you want the freedom to change your length and color often? Yarn braids are a perfect solution to this! Check out some inspiration styles below.

1. Two-Toned Hairstyle

girl with pink and blue yarn braids
Can’t decide on a shade? Pick two! Photo Credit: Nikola Topic

So, you’re torn between two shades and can’t pick? You don’t have to, go for two!  We love the vibrant high contrast of the pink and blue together.

2. Natural Yarn Hairstyle

girl with yarn braid ponytail
Combine a lighter shade throughout. Photo Credit: Tanaka Pendeke

Yarn braids don’t have to be a vibrant color. Feel free to opt for a natural-looking hue, woven throughout your strands. To make sure your strands stay in the best condition between braidings, use a scalp soother, like SheaMoisture Wig & Weave Tea Tree & Borage Seed Oil Scalp Soother to avoid any dryness and discomfort.

3. Turquoise Hairstylegirl with turquoise yarn braidsPlayaround with aqua colors for summer. Photo Credit: Jacob Godisable

What better time to try aqua hair than in the spring or summer? Use tones of turquoise in your braids to create a mermaid-worthy style.

3. Yarn Highlights

girl with yarn braid highlights
Opt for a natural-looking hue. Photo Credit: Francis Onyango

Yarn braids don’t have to always be extensions, you can use them as highlights too. If you’re wanting to add options for a highlighted look, choose a shade two to three shades lighter than your natural color.

5. High Contrast Look

girl with white yarn braids
Gather all of your hair into an updo. Photo Credit: Clarissa Carbungco

Needing a look that’ll make a major impact? Lean into the silver, white, and bleached hair color trend by opting for white-colored yarn.

6. Green Bun

girl with green yard braids
Use color to make your updo stand out even more. Photo Credit: Atiya Walker

We love how this striking green hue looks against dark hair color, the shade pops so much more! Creating a top know with your colored hair is extra exciting because you’ll have color woven throughout the look, making it look 10 times more interesting.

Yarn braids can also yield pretty awesome results that can rival the look of other protective hairstyles that use regular extensions, provided the ends are sealed off properly.

1. They’re natural-looking.

yarn braids long
There’s so much to love about yarn braids.

That said, a lot of women choose an acrylic yarn that’s close to human hair color (such as black or brown) for a more natural-looking braided style. Just like regular hair extensions, acrylic yarn is secured onto the root with a few twists then braided towards the ends. The ends are commonly burned off to ensure a natural-looking tip. That’s all there is to it!

2. They’re low maintenance.

short yarn braids
A few yarn braids near the hairline and cut in a lob length make for a trendy, fashionable look.

Said to be easier to clean up than regular weave extensions, yarn braids are also relatively simple to manage. Yarn retains moisture too, which makes them a great protective hairstyle for dry-haired naturalistas. However that also means they can get really heavy when wet, so you don’t really need to do much in terms of hair care: Just making sure your scalp and natural hair are clean before braiding, and an occasional application of SheaMoisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Leave-In Treatment is enough to moisturize and dry shampoo will keep your scalp fresh. We suggest really locking in that moisture and Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Water & Mimosa Flower Dry Shampoo to keep your hair grease-free and smelling pretty.

3. They’re super fun.

girl with blue yarn braid
Try out a blue shade. Photo credit: Allyson Allapont

Since the yarn is cheaper and comes in a wide spectrum of shades, the world is quite literally your playground! Experiment with darker, natural hues, or run the gamut and try out every color imaginable. Your hair will never touch a drop of dye or bleach—such is the boon of having this protective hairstyle. Bright, colored yarn does have a noticeable fade though, so fans of yarn braids say it’s best to leave them in no longer than six weeks.

4. They’re highly tweakable.

blonde yarn braids near fringe
Lighter-colored yarn braids mimic the look of highlights.

Yarn braids can be tweaked and personalized to fit every taste and commitment level. Some women like the look of a few accent pieces near the fringe (à la highlights), while others crave the whole shebang and go for the full protective look. However way you want your braids to look is completely up to you, so go on and get crafty!

5. They’re Very Lightweight

a long braided afro woman smiling
Super neat yarn twist style.

Gone are the days of heavy braids weighing you down. Yarn braids are so lightweight that you will forget you even have them on your head. Not to mention they are less bulky which means you will be able to style them in a multitude of ways.

Will you be trying yarn braids? Be sure to show us by tagging @AllThingsHairUS and subscribe to our newsletter below for more hair tips!

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