Did you know that crochet braids are one of the most versatile protective styles available for women with natural hair? If you’re seeking a hairstyle that melds fun and flexible with protection, you’ve met your match.
For many Black women, protective styles can mean incorporate weaves and wigs that are uncomfortable or time-consuming. Crochet braids, also known as latch hook braids, are an alternative that you may fall in love with.
Keep reading to learn more about this styling method that can change the way you do your hair.
How Do You Get Crochet Braids?
Crochet braids are hair extensions that attach to cornrows using the crochet method, which is typically done using a latch hook, beader, or bobby pin. The hair extensions are looped through cornrows.
Here’s a step-by-step if you want to do it yourself:
- Cornrow your hair all back
- Add the crochet hair bit-by-bit by using a crochet needle (or beader or bobby pin)
- Slide the needle under the cornrow with the latch closed
- Open the latch and hook the hair onto the needle
- Close the latch
- Pull the needle and hair under the cornrow until a medium-sized hoop is formed
- You should have a loop on one side of the cornrow and “tails” on the other side
- Fold the tails over the cornrow and put them through the loop - DON’T TIGHTEN
- Twist the loop with your fingers and put the tails through the loop again - REPEAT
- Pull to tighten and secure the hair
- You should have your first crochet “stitch” now - REPEAT all over your head
Tips for Crochet Braid Installation
- Clean your hair before installing crochet braids.
- Moisturize your hair before installing crochet braids.
- Space the hair where you feel appropriate. When you have most of your hair installed, feel around and “edit” where necessary. If your hair doesn’t feel voluminous enough, add more. If it feels too thick, remove some.
- Use thinner strips at the front of your hair so knots are smaller and less visible.
Why Are Crochet Braids So Popular?
This protective hairstyle gained popularity seeming overnight. Why? Because of its convenience. Having your braids sewn in rather than having each braid individually braided is an incredible option for those who have always sat to have their hair braided for hours on end.
What Are the Advantages to Crochet Braids?
As noted above, crochet braids have largely become popular because of their convenience. Here are some of the key benefits of crochet braids and why you may be inclined to try them.
- Crochet braids are inexpensive
Crochet braids are much less expensive than other protective hairstyles because you can use synthetic hair instead of human hair. Additionally, if you’re willing to do the task yourself (and it’s pretty simple!), then this cuts down the cost of a braider. Crochet braids will cost you as little as $20 for the complete look.
- Crochet braids only take a couple of hours to install
Compared to box braids, twists, and other protective hairstyles, crochet braids are quick to install. They usually take only 2-3 hours to complete. If you went to a braider last time and sat all day (12-15 hours!) and swore you’d never do it again, then this may be your solution!
- Crochet braids are versatile
Did you know that there are thoughts of styles of crochet braids to choose from? As your hairstylist which style of crochet braids may look the best on you to get an idea of the direction you should go. However, with a little creativity and a little help from YouTube, you’ve just found a hairstyle that you can wear repeatedly for years to come.
- Crochet braids can last 4 to 8 weeks
If cared for properly, crochet braids can last up to 8 weeks! Four weeks is generally the recommended length of time that you keep this protective style in. This is roughly 2-4 times the length of other protective hairstyles. It’s stylish AND low maintenance, which is many women’s dreams. See our section below on how to care for your crochet braids.
- Crochet braids are well-suited for DIY
If you’re not someone who loves going to the salon, don’t sweat it! Crochet braids can be done at home as long as you know how to cornrow your hair. And even if you’re not an expert, you can take comfort knowing that your cornrows will be covered by synthetic hair eventually. Just make sure you bring your patience and have some good mirrors on hand.
If you typically head to the salon, but you’re trying out this route to save some money, crochet braids are the ideal place to start! You’ve got this.
Are There Disadvantages to Crochet Braids?
If done incorrectly, crochet braids can also have a damaging effect on your hair. The base of this hairstyle is having your hair in cornrows braided down to your scalp. However, if these cornrows are too tight, then the tension created by the crochet braids will ultimately cause hair loss and thinning.
So, beware! Here’s your fair warning that this versatile method is protective, but only if it’s done the right way. Here’s what you should look out for:
- Monitor the strands added to your hair and their weight
You’ll be adding a braided twist loc or crochet braid through the small paid under your cornrow using a crochet hook with this hairstyle. Adding 10 to 15 pieces of hair extensions to your hair is often overwhelming to the scalp. It’s important to monitor the strands that you’re adding as well as their weight because they will pull on your hair and add a lot of unnecessary weight to your head.
- Watch out for hair snapping
The point of a protective style is to prevent the hair from breaking and to help it grow. However, you may encounter instances when installing the crochet braids that your hair SNAPS to the roots. If this is happening, you’ll likely notice a lot of hair shed when taking down your crochet braids after doing it, and then you’ll want to reevaluate if it’s a hairstyle you should use in the long term.
- Know how it may impact your life day to day
If you love wearing your hair in updos, then you may not be satisfied with the results. Your hair will be braided back in cornrows, and this can look good if the cornrows are done well. However, there is still the possibility that the cornrows will show occasionally show unless your crochet braids are fully covered in extensions. And even if this is the case, then that would add a lot of weight to the cornrow and increase the risk of hair breakage.
Regardless of how well you do your hair, you should know that your crochet style will ultimately be very hair to put in an updo. Depending on how you like to wear your hair day to day, this is a great factor to keep in mind.
How Do You Care for Crochet Braids?
Taking care of crochet braids is essential to helping them last as long as possible. Here’s our suggested hair care routine.
- Use a spray bottle of watered-down shampoo and spray your scalp with the mixture
- Lightly massage your scalp with the pads of your finger
- Cowash the added hair gently (if desired)
- Gently rinse out the mixture you used to clean your scalp
- Condition the added hair and rinse (if desired)
- Condition your cornrowed hair by spraying it with a light mixture of leave-in conditioner
- Add a moisturizer to your hair and the added hair
- Seal it in with oil
Washing crochet braids is difficult because you primarily want to focus on your own hair instead of the installed synthetic hair. However, if you wash your hair how you typically do, you run the risk of loosening the knots and ruining the style. We suggest washing your crochet braids once every two weeks to prevent loosening.
Here are some of our favorite shampoos, conditioners, and leave-ins:
- Clean-N-Curly Hydrating Shampoo
- Silk Milk Curl Softening Shampoo
- Green Apple and Aloe Nutrition Shampoo
- Enhancing Herbal Conditioner
- Green Apple & Aloe Nutrition Apple Cider Deep Conditioner
- Green Apple & Aloe Nutrition Leave-in Conditioner
- Intense Moisture Bamboo and Coconut Milk Strengthening Leave-in Conditioner
Removing Crochet Braids
When it comes time to remove crochet braids, don’t sweat it. Simply cut the added hair as close to the knots as you can. Be careful not to cut your own hair and unravel your cornrows. The crochet knots themselves should fall out as you unravel your braids.
Crochet braids can be a great hairstyle if you’re looking for something both protective, fun, and new. There are a lot of advantages to this style like their ease, price point, versatility, and so much more! However, there are also some key disadvantages like the amount of weight being added to your scalp and potential hair snapping. That said, if you’re wary of what might happen, you should be able to use this style to your advantage. Enjoy!
Did you enjoy reading this blog? Here are some others like this one:
- Steps to Maintaining and Moisturizing Locs and Protective Styles
- How to Prevent Breakage from Braids and Other Protective Styles
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