Are you considering getting crochet braids, but are unsure of whether they will fit with your lifestyle, whether they will cause damage, and what you will have to do to install and maintain them? If so, keep reading this all-inclusive guide.
Crochet braids can be a great protective style option for the right person. I personally loved how easy they were to install and how versatile they could be. You could go for the curly, “shake and go” options or you could buy braiding hair that you blow dry so that it is straight.
Here are a couple snaps of me wearing the crochet style. I believe I am wearing FreeTress Water Wave hair in the majority of the pictures. In the bottom-left picture, I bought braiding hair, blew it out, and curled it with perm rods to achieve the look. I got so many compliments on this hair style. Crochet braids were a go-to style for me for about a year and a half.
The Bad and The Ugly
I would recommend that you DO NOT GET CROCHET BRAIDS IF:
- You have weak or thinning edges. My experience was that this was hard on my edges, even though my braids were very loose.
- You have allergies or other sensitivities to synthetic hair. Most crochet hair is synthetic, rather than human hair. There are some human hair alternatives, but I think for the price you would do better just getting a weave.
- You are really lazy. I know, this is a weird one, but I was EXTREMELY lazy before I started wearing crochet braids and wearing them only made that worse. They do not require a tremendous amount of maintenance and it is really easy to forget about your hair underneath.
- You’re having a hard time accepting your natural hair texture. A lot of the crochet braid options mimic natural hair with a loose curl pattern. If your hair is a lot different from the crochet braids, it may make it more difficult for you to get used to your hair texture when you take them out. At least, that was my experience. I used to get compliments all the time from people who would mistake the crochet braids for my natural hair. In fact, one woman from my office asked me what conditioner I was using because it looked my hair texture had improved dramatically (not knowing that my hair texture had not changed – I was just wearing fake hair!). Anyways, if you’ve had some difficulty accepting your own hair, I would stay away from these types of extensions.
Even if none of these apply to you, there are also some other cons to this style:
- Crochet braid hair is often very tangly and unpleasant to the touch.
- Crochet braids are really easy to mess up if you use the wrong braid pattern. You could end up having weird gaps that show your braids underneath the hair or that even make you look like you have a bald spot!
- Crochet braid hair prices have also been slowly increasing as the style has gained more popularity.
At the end of the day, crochet braids did not work for me because I did not take care of my hair well enough while I was wearing them. After a year and a half of wearing them frequently, my edges were thinning, my hair underneath was really dry and unhealthy, and I had no idea how to style my own natural hair underneath. I did not experience any significant hair growth because my hair would break as soon as I took the crochet braids out and manipulated my hair. To put it simply, because I neglected my hair, it did not end up being a protective style at all for me.
Since I have committed to healthy hair and working with my own tresses, I have sworn off all types of extensions, including crochet braids, because they make me really prone to laziness. Also, as I hinted above, I struggled with accepting my own natural hair after getting so many compliments on the fake hair. All that said, I definitely think that others could really enjoy the style, especially if they just need a break from their hair.
Tips and Resources
If you’ve decided to move ahead with installing crochet braids, you might be wondering where the start. I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here. There are soooo many YouTube videos out there on how to install this style. When I was doing crochet braids, my go-to resources were Mary K Bella’s YouTube channel and tastePINK’s YouTube channel. I found both of their tutorials to be very beginner friendly. They have step-by-step guides on how to install, cut, style, and maintain the hair. I also really liked their personalities. Check out their channels below:
I can also offer a few insights for first-timers:
- Try installing yourself. This can be a very cheap style if you do it yourself. You don’t even have to know how to braid your hair back. There are options on cornrow-less crochet braids all over Youtube. Check out tastePink’s channel above for some of these options.
- Be careful with how much hair you use. A lot of crochet hair options act like natural hair, in the sense that it gets bigger, tanglier, and crazier over time. It is really easy to look like the lion-lady if you put too much hair in, so I recommend trying to get away with as little as possible. I have a small head, so generally, when YouTubers would say they used 5 packs of hair, 3 packs of hair would suit me just fine.
- Do NOT leave them in for too long. Just don’t. It will be really hard to take down and the hair will start to look terrible. I recommend leaving them in for no more than 3 to 4 weeks.
- Keep washing your scalp and moisturizing your hair. It will make the style easier to take down if you keep your hair in good condition and you will get greater benefits from the protective style. Also, if you don’t wash your scalp, your head is going to itch like crazy.
- Clean the crochet braid hair before installing. A lot of this hair is cheap, synthetic hair from God-only-knows where. It is a good idea to soak the hair in apple cider vinegar before installing.
- If you love the style, buy in bulk. The hair is high demand and often goes out of stock, especially if you are looking for hair in the color number 2. Also beauty supply stores often jack up the prices for no apparent reason, so get a lot of it while you can.
I hope this guide is useful to you in deciding whether to install crochet braids and learning how to install and maintain them. If you would like more information on my own personal experience with crochet braids or more information on the crochet braid style, please leave your questions in the comments. I would love to help!
Good luck in your hair journey and thank you for reading!