The thing about the perfect hairstyle is that there isn’t just one. Braids, curls, updos, buns, ponytails, straight, wavy, short, long—the possibilities are endless. Unfortunately, switching up your hairstyle that often can be exhausting, not to mention severely damaging to your locks. That’s where crochet braid styles come in.
Crochet braids are one of the best protective styles out there. Once your natural hair is cornrowed, you can crochet in box braids, Senegalese twists, straight hair, curly hair—almost any hairstyle you can imagine.
Crochet braids have gained popularity as of late because the installation process is often much faster than that of traditional braids, twists, and sew-in weaves, making them the perfect fit for anyone who loves to switch up their look. Sound like crochet braids are the perfect style for you? Read on to find out everything you need to know.
What are crochet braids?
Crochet braids are a style of hair extensions in which added hair is literally crocheted into your natural hair. Much like a traditional weave installation, your stylist will begin by cornrowing your hair before crocheting the desired hair into your natural hair.
Crochet braids are often considered the perfect protective style, especially when comparing African hair braiding styles. When done properly, your hair has the double protection of being cornrowed and tucked beneath added hair. Once your natural hair has been cornrowed, you can crochet in box braids, Senegalese twists, straight hair, curly hair—any hairstyle you can imagine, really.
Crochet braids have gained popularity because the installation process is often much faster than that of traditional braids, twists, and sew-in weaves. Crochet braids are also perfect for those who have steered clear of African braiding styles with added hair in the past for fear of the tight pulling and added weight. After your natural hair has been cornrowed, your stylist will simply loop your desired style through your braids with a crochet hook and gently secure it. Once you see how fast and easy installation is, crochet braids will become your go-to style.
Are crochet braids damaging to hair?
If installed properly by a hair care professional, crochet braids should not damage your hair.
How To Install Crochet Braids
Installing crochet braids is relatively easy, and in the hands of a professional, you can expect to be in and out of the salon in just a few hours. To begin, your stylist will cornrow your natural hair. Many stylists choose to cornrow several small braids straight back from the hairline, but the pattern of the braids can vary depending on your desired final look. If you plan to style your hair in a ponytail or bun and need the braids to look seamless in the back, be sure to tell your stylist.
Once all of your natural hair has been cornrowed, your stylist will weave your desired style through the cornrow with a special crochet hair needle. While the needle is very similar to the one used to crochet fabric, make sure your stylist uses a needle specifically for crocheting hair.
Traditional crochet needles tend to get tangled in your tresses. Your stylist will then slide the needle under your cornrow, open the needle’s latch, hook the hair that is being installed into it and close the latch before pulling the hair through the braid.
If your stylist is installing pre-styled hair, it should come with a loop at the base that they will use to tie the braid into your cornrows. If not, your stylist will create a loop with the loose hair and gently secure the style to your cornrows. They will continue weaving the hair through your cornrows until the style is complete.
How long can you keep in crochet braids?
As with most hair installations, crochet braids can last anywhere from six to twelve weeks with proper care. Because most—if not all—of your natural hair will be tucked away underneath the protective style, maintaining a regular hair care routine will ensure you’re properly caring for the installed hair as well as your natural hair.
You can wash the crochet braids as you normally would, making sure to give extra attention to the cornrows underneath your installed hair. We recommend the Mizani Moisture Fusion Clarifying Shampoo. This clarifying shampoo is the perfect formula to use when you want to say goodbye to oily roots and product buildup in textured hair, so you can start off so fresh, and so clean. Follow the shampoo with Mizani Moisture Fusion Intense Moisture Mask. Once the hair and your scalp have been thoroughly washed and conditioned, be sure your hair—both natural and installed—is completely dry before styling it. If you leave your hair damp (particularly near the scalp) you run the risk of developing dandruff, fungus, or even mildew.
In between wash days, prevent scalp build up with a good astringent—we recommend witch hazel. It will help remove dirt and keep your scalp feeling healthy between washes. Apply the astringent with cotton swabs to ensure you reach every nook and cranny of your scalp. If your scalp feels dry or irritated between wash days, soothe your scalp with Mizani Scalp Care Calming Lotion. The easy-to-use nozzle will help to apply the product directly to your scalp so not even a drop goes to waste.
Now that you know what crochet braids are, how they are installed, and how to care for them, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite crochet braid hairstyles for the ultimate inspiration.
10 Crochet Braid Styles To Try Now
Box braids without having to spend an entire day sitting in the salon chair getting your hair braided? Sign us up! Cut your styling time in half by buying pre-braided box braids that your stylist can install. Pre-braided box braids come in all thicknesses, lengths, and colors, so don’t worry—there’s a perfect braid out there for you.
If you’re looking for a style that’s a little softer than box braids, Senegalese twists are perfect. The two-strand twist gives the style a little bit more of a feminine feel, while still offering the same style and versatility of box braids.
Photo Credit: @cesar4styles
Have you always imagined what your hair would look like if you had a different curl pattern? Wonder no more. The beauty of crochet braids is that they provide you with a blank canvas to make all of your wildest hair dreams come to life. Have your stylist install hair that has a different curl pattern than your natural locks, because all curls are beautiful.
Photo Credit: @pekelariley
Sleek and Straight
While the name “crochet braids” seems to indicate that the installed hair must be braided or even textured, you can have smooth, straight locks. Have your stylist install a sophisticated bob or princess-like hair that goes down to your back so that you can enjoy straight tresses without any of the heat damage
Photo Credit: @cesar4styles
If you’ve always wanted to try out faux locs but were concerned about the effects of traditional installation on your fragile locks, consider a crochet installation instead. Have your stylist install already styled faux locs into your cornrows. The installed locs will give you the look you’ve been lusting over while without pulling on your natural hair.
Photo Credit: @toboreoweh
Big Barrel Curls
If your natural hair is too fine to hold a big barrel curl, crochet braids will finally give you the look you’ve been lusting over. Have your stylist install hair thick enough to hold the curls of your dreams all night long.
After your stylist installs the hair, work with 2-inch sections and start at the back of your head. Wrap the sections around your curling iron and hold or clip them until just heated through (approximately 30-60 seconds depending on the thickness of the hair). Continue until you’ve curled your entire head, setting the look with a medium-hold hairspray.
Photo Credit: @designsofcomposure
Crochet braids not only allow you to try out a variety of hair styles, but also provide the perfect opportunity to try out that new color you’ve been lusting over. You can purchase loose or pre-styled hair in a variety of colors. Channel your inner unicorn with super trendy pastel locks.
Faux Shaved Side
The great thing about a faux undercut crochet style is that you’ve already cornrowed your hair for the crochet installment, so you’re halfway done! Have your stylist install the hair of your choice and leave a few cornrows on the side of your hair free.
Photo Credit: @dontemitchellhair
Switching up your style is always fun. But if you’re not in the mood for a new look and just want to give your natural hair a rest, crochet braids are still a great option. If you’re just looking to protect your natural hair, have your stylist install hair that is very similar to your natural texture. Even though the installment will look like your natural hair, it will give you the freedom to style it however you want without the fear of damaging your locks.
Photo Credit: @lisafarrall
Taking the plunge and dyeing your hair can often be a terrifying decision. What if you hate the color? Crochet braids will allow you to try out all the latest hair dye trends from ombre to the newly popular tiger eye. Test the new look on a crochet installment before switching up your new ’do permanently.