So there's this woman I've been following on Instagram named Amina Mucciolo. She runs a tassel factory with her husband in downtown L.A. and is the sort of enchanting creature who makes pinatas by hand. And then there is her hair: flowing braids of pastel yarn.
I was so blown away by her level of craftiness--I needed details. So over a quick lunch after a recent visit to her factory, I asked, she told, and now I’m here to share the genius with you. The following are excerpts from my conversation with her.
"I have been braiding my own hair since I was in middle school. I used to do braids for all of my friends in high school to earn extra money. I really wanted pastel pink hair but I wasn't quite ready to bleach my hair again. I was going to just braid my hair in my natural color using synthetic hair made for braiding like I do about once a year. But, after a quick google search, I discovered yarn braids. I learned via tumblr that some girls actually use yarn in the same color of their hair in lieu of braiding hair. Its a cheap, easily accessible option for braiding that is slightly lighter and helps to retain moisture. I knew the possibilities would be endless."
How To Create And Care For Yarn Braids
"It's just like any braid except much smaller. Each piece that you see was braided by hand.
I sectioned small pieces of my hair and attached a few strands of yarn by simply looping it on and braiding.
The process was trial and error, but I sorted it out eventually when I did my hair the second time. I use a few strands of yarn and tried to match the size with the piece of my natural hair. I use acrylic yarn because I learned that wool or other natural fibers might be too close to my own hair texture and would knot with my real hair. Also acrylic yarn is easy to find in a variety of colors.
I don’t do a great deal to prep my natural hair before braiding. I just make sure its clean and well conditioned. I may use a leave-in deep conditioner or hot oil treatment and sit under a dryer, but that's about all. As far as care goes, I co-wash and try to use minimal shampoo on my own hair, so the same is true for the yarn braids. Because yarn holds moisture, they get really really heavy when they're wet, so I try to just wash my scalp.
I wouldn’t recommend leaving any braids in longer than five or six weeks.
The pastel yarn tends to fade after about a month, so if you want to maintain the original color, you probably have to switch it out more often."
Pastel Yarn Vs. Pastel Hair
"I think yarn braids are a really great option for anyone that wants to try out a fun color without changing their own hair permanently. However it does come with its own drawbacks.
Installing the braids, depending on length and fullness, can be quite time consuming. It takes me about 24 hours to do my own hair.
That said, I love having pastel hair. I don’t think I could ever go back to normal colors. My current hair totally matches my personality better."
"I’ve shaved my head, had a mohawk and afros in various circumferences, but nothing has garnered as much attention as the pink yarn braids. It was a bit shocking at first because I tend to forget what my hair looks like. People do ask to touch it. Actually some don’t even ask. People have strange reactions when encountering something different, especially in smaller towns and suburban areas. I used to get really annoyed, but I’ve learned to adapt."
- Have you ever dyed your hair a pastel color?
- And would you try yarn braids?
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