7:36 PM / Thursday December 1, 2022

7 Jul 2017

Crochet braid hairstyles perfect for protecting your tresses all summer long

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July 7, 2017 Category: Beauty Posted by:

By Leah Fletcher

In the midst of oppressive summer heat, Kim Wilson loves wearing crochet braids for many reasons.

For starters, they require less time to complete when compared to other intricate hairstyles like kinky twists or box braids. Secondly, her actual hair is “protected” underneath the extensions and requires little or no manipulation to maintain.

“The braided base allows my scalp to ‘breathe’ while I am working out,” said the busy mother of two small boys, who confessed that the ease of not having to style her hair each day or visit the salon for at least four or five weeks is a blessing.

Crochet braiding was catapulted to popularity, according to cosmetologist Vickie Stevenson, because it reduced braiding time from six to eight plus hours, depending on the degree of braiding complexity, to one nearly two to three hours. And the easy removal system was considered a bonus.

Women have worn crochet braids since the 90’s. But, crochet techniques have come a long way, prompting thousands of women to pursue a more “natural” style. “Look around and you will spot Marley twists braids, Havana twist and jumbos all around. It’s not just about wavy or straight hair anymore,” explained Stevenson, who operates Hair by Vickii. Stevenson noted that kinky and curly top the options according to salon owner surveys.

With the help of YouTube and Instagram, braiders and stylists display many braid patterns to the world.  Stevenson also held that, whatever the desired look, it may be achieved easily today as hair manufacturers have risen to meet market demand.

“Walk into any store that sells hair and you will find endless options for different textures, colors and lengths of hair extensions,” said Stevenson, who added that the proper installation of crochet braids will result in flawless looking natural hair. “It can be difficult for people to tell the difference from the extensions and your own hair,” said Stevenson, who has been braiding10 years.

To create crochet braids, loose hair extensions are interlocked into cornrows using a crochet needle or latch-hook tool. To begin, the natural hair is cornrowed straight back into at least nine rows, depending on how thick you desire your finished style. There is no single method of cornrowing for this technique. Using the crochet needle, the hair is latched onto the cornrows and tied until each cornrow has a full row of extensions.

“When the procedure is complete, this look creates a full head of free flowing braids or hair, depending on the texture of hair used. Despite the term “braids,” most women who wear this style do so with loose extension hair, noted Elon Wesley.

“If using Marley hair or kinky twist hair with the crochet braiding method, you achieve wild, Afrocentric, dramatic hair that can be styled in many different ways and with synthetic twists extensions, designed for this installation, you achieve a dramatic head of locks,” Wesley said. 

The hair industry has responded to the demand and now offers packets of synthetic extensions expressly designed for this crochet installation process. The product offers all manner of length, color and texture. The cost to install crochet braids is inexpensive, with packets of the synthetic hair priced between $5 and $6. Braiding services on average range from a low of $85 to a high of $140. 

There are women like Ebony Hill, a self-described millennial in overdrive, who ponder whether to “twist” or “braid”. They, according to Wesley, have numerous options, in a marketplace that will assist them make an appropriate crochet hair styling decision.        

“I like the idea of giving my hair a rest for up to six weeks or longer depending on the intricacies of my braid pattern, quality of hair installed, and my maintenance routine. And since crochet braids are a long-term protective style, I am mindful that my natural hair needs care as well” said Hill.

During the summer, some women like to fashion their hair in some sort of protective style said Wesley, who has plied her trade as a braider for more than 20 years. But how can you do that without subjecting your hair to the heat and humidity?

“With a crochet weave or crochet braids, as they are commonly known, you get the best of both worlds,” Stevenson said, “you can keep the look of an Afro or a twist-out while still keeping your real hair moisturized and protected underneath.” She advised using a spray containing water, a leave-in conditioner and your favorite oils to do the trick. She counseled that covering your hair at night with a satin or silk scarf will keep it looking fresh.

While there are several types of hair you can use to create this look, according to Wesley, Marley hair is one of the most popular. Kanekalon, which is often used for traditional box braids, is another option. “Because this type of extension hair has a kinky texture, some women choose to design curly styles with perm rods, rollers or Bantu knots. However, you can also wear the hair as-is for a more fluffy, Afro-like hairstyle,” she said.

Crochet braiding is a great protective styling option for all hair textures and lengths, in Wesley’s opinion. This includes relaxed, natural, pressed and transitioning hair. ‘“Transitioners”, especially, may appreciate this style since it will give them a break from handling two different textures as their hair grows. It may also give those with relaxed hair an idea of how they’d look with natural hair if that’s their goal” she said.

In the final analysis, Wesley believe if you are considering crochet braids for the summertime because of their convenience, flexibility and costs, there are numerous styling options posted on Twitter and Instagram that will provide the inspiration you’ll need to create a look that doesn’t take hours.   

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