If you know me, you know a few things when it comes to hair:
- I get bored easily.
- I love low-maintenance looks that don’t look low-maintenance.
- I like to give my crown a break every now and then.
Those points being said, my usual go-tos that satisfy all three have been box braids and Marley twists. They’ve both allowed me to switch my style up in various ways, they’re both low-maintenance with the versatility to be glam, and when they’re not too tight or left in too long and I take care of my scalp, my natural hair flourishes.
Last year, I wanted to try another protective style that would satisfy my three hair points, and decided to give crochet braids a whirl. I quickly fell in love – and because I’ve had folks ask a number of questions about my crochet braid styles, I thought I’d share in this post!
Now – crochet braids can easily be installed by yourself (visit YouTube University for tutorials), but my cornrowing skills are basically non-existent so I leave it to the pros. My pros in Toronto have been Hair By Glenna and V Crochet Braid Creationz (who did my hair at last summer’s Braids For AIDS braiding fundraiser).
The look basically consists of cornrowing your own hair, then hooking and looping extensions into the cornrows. The versatility comes in with your choice of extension texture or style – I’ve done crochets with two different types of curl (FreeTress Water Wave, and Outre Cuevana Bounce), but have seen people with straight styles, braids, twists, and locs. Aside from the usual loosening up of the fresh cornrows, I’ve experienced next-to-no pain or tension on my hair, making it a really comfortable style to rock.
Styling it over the weeks of wear can get creative too. I always ask my stylists to cornrow my hair in a way that allows me to do a centre or side part to switch things up, and as long as the parts and loops don’t look too obvious, I’ll pull the top back with a hair clip when I need to get it out of my face. Accessories also become my best friends. Gold hair clips and scarves have been my best friends, helping me to jazz things up when I need to. Depending on curl style, your look may get even better as it ages, or you can reset and retwist to freshen up your look. I usually leave my crochets in for 4-6 weeks, and even when I think it looks horrible by the end days, a fly sista will always compliment me – so I figure it can’t look that bad 😉
So, how do I take care of the crochet braids and my hair/scalp? Hair By Glenna gave me some great tips.
It’s important to keep the scalp clean without disturbing or ruining the texture of the extensions, unless you have a type that can be wet and refreshed. With mine, I’ve cleansed my scalp two different ways so as not to ruin my texture: either by putting a bit of shampoo or conditioner on an old toothbrush, scrubbing between the cornrows, spritzing the parts with water, then towel/blow drying OR by using daily sprays of rosewater (read up on some of rosewater’s benefits here).
To moisturize, I’d apply my favourite light scalp oil like rosemary oil, and keep it movin’.
Depending on how your stylist finishes your cornrows, taking crochet braids out might feel a bit awkward until you get into the rhythm. I usually just start by un-looping or carefully cutting the extensions from my cornrows, then find the ends of my cornrows and start unraveling. A good wash and detangle later, and I’ve been left with beautifully rested hair.
Have you tried crochet braids? Leave a comment with your thoughts and tips!