|V on her 4th birthday!|
Q: Why would I want to put in yarn extensions?
A: I feel like yarn braids give you a similar experience to locs, without the permanency of locs. They are SO versatile. Once you have a whole head of braids you can do whatever you want with them to change up the style daily: ponytail, pigtails, half up, you can even cornrow them! You could get this same effect from doing a box braid style without adding yarn, but since the yarn braids have a lot of length and thickness to them, I feel like they are more versatile. Also, if your child still has pretty short hair, it is fun to have the extra length that you can get from yarn braids. Thirdly, they are a very long lasting style! I only do yarn braids about once a year, but when I do, I love that I can leave them in for close to two months!
Q: Why use yarn for extensions instead of synthetic hair?
A: I feel that yarn is much easier to use. You only need two pieces of yarn per braid and you don't have to separate out a bunch of tiny little hairs. That can be messy and frustrating! Also, yarn is inexpensive and you can get it in almost any color you want!
Q: What kind of yarn do you use?
A: The important part is that you use ACRYLIC yarn. The brand doesn't really matter. It is also up to you what weight you use. I like to use Medium (4). For V I also like to use BLACK yarn because it matches her hair color so well. You can only tell the difference between her hair and the yarn when you are looking up close. But B has brown hair, so if I did this on her I might choose more of a deep brown color. I have used red yarn at Christmas time and Pink/Purple yarn for a back to school look. Both times I only used the colored yarn on some of the braids for fun. I didn't give her a whole head of red hair!
For this style I only added the pink/purple yarn to the braids coming from the heart cornrows on top. After 4 weeks, I removed the cornrows and put in more regular box braids with black yarn on top so she no longer had the colored yarn. We left them in for another 4 weeks!
Sorry these are the best pics of the red yarn braids. I only did 8 braids with the red yarn along the center part on the top of her head and then a few more along the back. I also used red and black beads on the ends. GREAT Christmas hairdo, but she didn't have very many other red things to wear for the next 6 weeks, so it wasn't my favorite!
Q: How long does the hair need to be?
A: That is hard for me to answer personally since the first time I tried them on V her hair was already at least 6 inches long. I think you could do them on almost any length of hair though! You would just need about two inches of hair to get a good grip on it to start the braids. BUT, you should keep in mind that the yarn is a bit heavy, so if you are working with shorter hair, I would stick with shorter braids, the longer the natural hair, the longer you could make the braids.
Q: How old should my child be?
A: This kind of goes with the length questions. For a little one who doesn't have very long hair, I would make much shorter braids and I would start them with bigger sections of hair. A toddler's hair is going to be a little more fragile so I would recommend using larger sections of hair to give them more of a base with less strain on the hair. I also might not leave them in as long on a little one.
Q: How long can you leave them in?
A: That is totally up to you! I have left them in up to 8 weeks. You might find that yours start to come out sooner than that. Or maybe yours look great, and don't smell so you want to leave them in longer! I find that around 6 to 8 weeks, they start feeling kind of yucky and the new growth at the scalp is getting obvious so they look a bit messy. I don't usually get many that start to slip out, but I have had a few do that towards the end. I know other people keep yarn braids in almost year round. They will just replace a few at a time so that they get new ones every few weeks.
Q: What is your daily maintenance with them?
A: I just spray her scalp with our watered down Taliah Waajid spray like I do with any style, EXCEPT, I really only spray near her scalp, not the whole length of the braid. I know some people also wash the hair with the yarn in or at least rinse the braids. The only hard part about this is that it takes FOREVER for the yarn to dry! I haven't done it because I didn't feel it was necessary.
Q: How do you take them out?
A: This is a good question! Some people have been able to just grab a hold of the knot at the base of the braid and just slide them out! I wish it were that easy for me! I normally will cut off the yarn at the bottom right up to the point that her real hair is (no sense wasting time unbraiding yarn!) Then I unbraid her hair from the tips up to the scalp. It takes me FOREVER and I hate it! Although now that I have B to help me.... Last time that V had the braids though, we just happened to go swimming right about the time I was ready to take them out. Her swim cap would not stay on her head so I just gave up and let her swim without it. When she got out of the pool her hair was, of course, drenched! The weight of the soaking yarn caused some of the braids to start slipping out, so I grabbed ahold and to my amazement I was able to slide it out! YIPPEE! I quickly set to work on her head and was able to slide most of them out. There were a few that wouldn't budge, and I didn't want to hurt her hair so I unbraided them my usual way. I plan on trying this again next time, but the key I think is that they need to be completely, soaking wet! A spritz with a spray bottle is not going to do the trick.
Q: Do you think the yarn is damaging to the hair:
A: I have not found that yarn braids cause ANY damage to V's hair. On the contrary, after I have taken out the braids in the past, I can see that she has had substantial hair growth while they were in and that her hair looks beautiful and healthy!
Q: How do you put them in?
A: That is where the videos come in handy! The two videos makeup about 15 minutes worth of info and demonstrations so PLEASE watch them to learn how to put them in OR if you have any other questions after reading this little Q and A! Yarn Braid Extensions Part 1 and Yarn Braid Extensions Part 2
V really loves yarn braids and I feel like they are a great addition to her versatile choices of hairstyles. I am not really interested in doing them that often, because we have plenty of other fun things we can do with her beautiful hair, and I don't want her to think that she needs to have extensions(or additions) to her natural hair in order for her to be beautiful. I am so glad that we have started doing more "free" hairstyles on her too. I think that between, cornrows, free hair, yarn braids and the many other fun styles we do, V has learned that her hair texture has AWESOME and ENDLESS possibilities!
Here are some more pictures for you to enjoy!
|These were her first ever yarn braids! She looks so little!|
|Here the braids are in half pigtails.|
|This one shows how you can add snaps for extra decoration - This was on Valentines Day.|
|This was her second set of yarn braids, just held back with a headband.|
You can see that I didn't add the yarn into the cornrows, only the hanging part of the braids. You can also see that the black yarn isn't a very good match for B's hair, but I didn't have any brown, so I just used what I had. It still looked cute.
One of our readers sent in some AWESOME yarn braid pics which have got my fingers itching to put more yarn braids in V! I think I will do them in October. So you will have to wait until then to see them!
Have you tried yarn braids yet??? Have I inspired you to give them a try???