If you’re the experimental type that likes to play around with color and protective styles, yarn twists are a fun way to update your everyday look. "Yarn twists are traditional two-stranded twists done on hair as a protective style. However, instead of adding synthetic hair, yarn is added," says Michelle O'Connor, Matrix artistic director. Melding your natural hair with yarn will help give your braided tresses a break without altering your texture, notes hairstylist and barber Nigella Miller. "And not only will yarn twists allow your hair to retain moisture, but they're also a fun protective style," she adds.
To prove it to you, we rounded up our favorite yarn twist styles along with insight from natural hair experts O'Connor and Miller. These yarn twists are a suitable pick for both casual or formal occasions and can be styled in several ways. There are a ton of options out there in terms of color, length, and twist size, so you're bound to find something to inspire you.
Meet the Expert
Ahead, discover 21 ways to wear yarn twists, one of our favorite cost-effective, protective styles.
Thick and Natural
Matching the color of your yarn to your natural hair is subtle yet striking. It's the perfect choice for a yarn twist newbie. Going for chunkier twists will ensure your natural hair is completely tucked away.
Denim Side Flip
The best part of yarn twists is the color combinations you can create. Weaving together blue and white gives off a denim-like appearance that is sure to match your favorite jacket or jeans. "I love the denim yarn twist. It’s unique and stylish, and trying something different with a muted tone just works," says Miller. "Thinking out of the box and playing with texture that complements your fashion sense is how to do it."
Embracing grays has certainly gained popularity in recent years (for good reason), and yarn twists are a great way to join in on this trend without the processing or having to wait for natural graying.
If you're looking for a way to blend emerging grays, try pairing long twists with a cool-toned gray yarn.
ICYMI: Purple is the most underrated hair color. This yarn twist creates a gorgeous ombré color melt that will give your mane that something extra. Style by simply side-sweeping hair to the front to show off your length and color.
Lime Green Tendrils
Something tells us that Doja Cat would approve of these lime green twists. While the color palette may not be for everybody, it's ideal for those looking to make a bold statement. Finish the look by adding some hair jewelry to your face-framing tendrils.
If you like mermaid colors, opt for chunky deep turquoise yarn twists and style them in a half-up 'do.
A high ponytail is a foolproof style that we will never grow old of. Not only is this 'do practical—keeping hair away from your face and off your neck—but it's also a breeze to pull off.
Red Half-Up, Half-Down
Experiment with color and texture with thick vibrant twists. "The hot red yarn look is so bold but striking at the same time," says Miller. "There's a cool factor to being able to pull off an intense color like that, especially in a jumbo twist style." Bonus points if you can manage to swoop the top part of your twists into a bun.
Opting for brunette-level yarn is one way to bring out deeper skin tones. And pairing medium-sized yarn twists with metallic hair braid charms is an elegant way to accessorize.
The 90s are back, and that includes the iconic chunky highlights from the era. Implementing large, brown yarn twists with pops of blonde is a great way to get in on the throwback aesthetic.
Royal Blue With Accents
When it comes to yarn twist styles, there's no one size fits all. "Yarn comes in such a variety of colors as well as thicknesses. You can opt for a multicolored rainbow look, to a sleek bob that matches your own hair color," says O'Connor. This royal blue take with accent twists is also another viable—and highly recommended—option.
Neon color can be super high maintenance but enter yarn twists and your hair routine just got a whole lot easier (read: bright color sans effort). Style with a deep part to complement a rounder face shape and pair with double-winged liner to get that "wow" factor.
Bubble Gum Pink
Soft and dusty versions of pink hair might be trending, but we are loving this vibrant bubble gum hue. It works to brighten deeper complexions and perhaps, more importantly, is pure fun.
Make use of a multicolored yarn pack and create a beautiful rainbow on top of your head. If you’re feeling extra artsy, you can alternate colors within your twists or dedicated sections.
Yarn twists can allow you to experiment with natural shades, too. This includes blonde, black, and brown—and if you can’t decide between them, you can intertwine all three. "They can be done in a chunky style or they can be done in a more streamlined capacity," says O'Connor. Honestly, it all comes down to personal preference.
If a regular yarn twist bob isn’t enough for you, you should consider adding a splash of color. "Perhaps you want to be a redhead but your hair is raven-colored; you can make this look a reality with yarn," says O'Connor. Burgundy is a stunning shade of red that won’t distract from your features.
Mixing warm and spicy yarn shades is one way your twisted hairstyle can steal the show. Combining a caramel hue with pops of copper creates dimension and a totally customized color. Top it off with a hat for extra style points.
Teal and Red
Bleached brows plus these gorgeous teal and red twists equal a match made in heaven. "Whatever your preference is, yarn twists can be a really fun and creative way to try a new look and protect your hair all at the same time," says O'Connor.
Going for a neutral shade of dark brown will suit both warm and cool skin tones. And if you're a fan of the messy bun, then why not apply it to your yarn twists? Wrap your twists high atop your head, and tuck in the ends for a visually effortless finish.
This yarn twist look is the whole package. Sure, the vibrant yellow color is head-turning enough but the graphic liner? Jewelry? Fuzzy earrings and matching top? The details are what make it next-level.
Rose Gold Twists
If we had to guess the color of the 2010s-2020s, it would be rose gold. And we're so happy to see the color making a comeback with these waist-long twists that are accented with rosy golden yarn and locs.
What type of yarn should you use for yarn twists?
There is a wide variety of yarn available, but some materials are easier on your hair than others. Acrylic yarn is a popular choice since it is affordable, lightweight, hypoallergenic, and easy to clean. On the contrary, wool and other natural blends can be used, but be advised that these materials may strip hair of moisture or cause overheating (depending on the season).
Can you DIY yarn twists?
According to Miller, "Yarn twists are a style that you can do at home. Nonetheless, as with all types of services, getting them done at the salon is going to have a higher level of precision and expertise."
How much yarn do you need for yarn twists?
This will depend on the length of your twists, but in general, two bundles will usually suffice.