In case the sheer number of styling options is making it difficult to decide what to do with your braids, we’ve rounded up our six favorite hairstyles for you to choose from.
Hairstyle How-To: Crochet Braids On Natural Hair
How many times have you looked at your favorite celebrity’s newest hairstyle or color and wished you were able to pull it off? Too many to count? Us, too. Fortunately, crochet braids are here to solve your hair woes and make those days of hair envy a thing of the past. Our new favorite ‘do offers endless style options and minimal damage to your tresses. You’ll want a new style every week!
If you’re still not sure crochet braids are for you, we’ve broken down exactly what they are, how to care for them, and rounded up some killer styles you’ll love.
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 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.
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 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.
Caring For 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.
Wash the crochet braids as you would usually wash your hair, making sure to give extra attention to the cornrows underneath the installed hair. Once your hair and 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 you’ve always wanted box braids but couldn’t imagine spending an entire day in the salon getting them installed, crochet box braids are the perfect solution. 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.
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. Give your natural curls a break and switch up your look with a whole new curl pattern.
Sleek And Straight
Don’t let the name “crochet braids” fool you. Your style doesn’t have to be braided or even textured. If you’re missing your sleek and straight locks but have been avoiding heat tools, crochet braids are here to solve all of your flat iron styling woes. 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.
Faux locs are one of this year’s most talked about styles but, unfortunately, the style isn’t perfect for everyone. The weight of the added hair coupled with the techniques of a traditional installation has the potential to wreak havoc on fragile locks. If you’re concerned about the effects of traditional installation, 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.
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