Crochet braiding a stylish, inexpensive and timely alternative for do-it-yourselfers
By Leah Fletcher
Crochet braiding has become a popular hairstyling option for African American women. For those seeking to transform their naturally short hair into longer tresses for a special occasion or to change their hair color to match an outfit, crocheted braids are a non-chemical means of adding hair extensions; straight weave extensions or traditional African braids.
The process requires no hair glue or caps, so damage to the hair and scalp is minimal. The crochet braiding technique makes it easier to get a preferred look in less time and at a fraction of the cost.
While the services of a professional hairstylist or braider may be employed, many are opting to do it themselves. Those do-it-yourselfers are employing the crochet braiding technique steps that follow:
The Crochet Braiding Technique
Step 1: To begin the process, purchase loose bulk hair extensions, braiding hair extensions or micro braid extensions. Also buy a latch hook crochet needle or a rug hook, which can be purchased on the Internet, from a hair supply store or a craft supply store. Using packaged human hair gives a more natural look to the hairstyle. Synthetic hair, on the other hand, is easier to use and is less expensive. If a ponytail look or long braid look is desired, begin crocheting at the crown of the head and continue to the base of the neck.
Step 2: Prepare your hair for the crochet braiding process by washing and conditioning it. Make certain your hair is adequately moisturized.
Step 3: Begin styling by separating your hair into small equal sections on your head, parting the hair vertically from front to back. Begin creating small cornrows or French braids in each section. Braid your entire head of hair from the forehead to the nape of the neck. Create 10 to 12 cornrows. It might be necessary to increase the number of rows depending on head size. Join the ends of the braids together by braiding them together above your neck. This is the foundation for all desired hair styles. If the cornrows are not secured, the crocheted hair might become loose. Cornrows also need to be tight to avoid the uneven hang of the installed hair.
Step 4: Slide the hook end of the crochet needle under the first braid of the cornrow on the left side of the head with the hook pointing upwards.
Step 5: Fold a small section of your packaged hair in half so that each side is equal, holding it to leave a loop at the end.
Step 6: To incorporate the weave hair or braised extensions, take a small bunch of hair and insert one end of it into the crochet needle. Insert the tip of the crochet needle into the braid.
Step 7: Place the folded end of the hair around the hook of the crochet needle and pull the hair under the cornrow.
Step 8: Using your fingers, pull the two loose ends of the packaged hair through the loop and tighten. Then tie both ends of the hair into two or three knots around the base of the braid to hold it in place. The strand should lie over the top of the row, covering the natural braided hair.
Step 9: Continue crocheting the hair down the cornrow leaving only a small space between the rows until the entire head is covered.
Step 10: Cut your hair to the desired length and style. Layered looks, Bob styles, and braided twists are popular with the crochet braiding technique along with long flowing one-length looks. Weave hair may be cut to mimic any style and length. If you use human hair, curl it just like your natural hair.
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