Crochet Hair Guide: How to Crochet Hair & More

  • Crochet hairstyles are protective styles where hair extensions are crocheted into a person’s natural hair.
  • Crocheted hair can come loose, braided or twisted, allowing endless hair styling options.
  • Crochet hairstyles last from two to eight weeks with proper care, which includes cleansing the scalp, moisturizing, and co-washing.

Crochet hairstyles come in many forms, allowing the wearer to get creative with styling while giving her natural hair a break. If you’re trying it for the first time, we’ve got the ultimate guide to crochet hairstyles for you, from pros and cons to types. We’ll share the history of crochet hairstyles, how to care for them, and, if you’re up for the challenge, how to do it yourself!

What Is a Crochet Hairstyle?

So what is a crochet hairstyle? For natural people, crochet hairstyles are great protective, which means extending synthetic hair into one’s natural hair. It still allows for a lot of variation in the actual style and is considered a “low manipulation style.” This means that your natural hair is usually not left out, so there is less risk of damage from over-styling or hot tools.

While it’s not the only protective hairstyle for a natural girl, it’s a great alternative to styles like box braids or Senegalese twists because your hair is completely braided in cornrows on a flat scalp. Then the extensions are woven or “crocheted” into the hair. Your hair experiences less stress compared to a different twist or braid.

The origins of crochet hairstyles are debated, but the technique – commonly known as crochet – dates back to the 1990s. They are often superior to other natural protective hairstyles, such as traditional braids or twists, because the installation time is significantly shorter, and they are considered easier to install on your own as opposed to some of the more time-consuming protective hairstyles.

Common styles that can be achieved with crochet hairstyles include:

  • Crochet braids (also known as lock hook braids).
  • Crochet twists.
  • Crochet wigs.
  • Even types where hair extensions are placed primarily on loose places mimic free-flowing hair.

Crochet hairstyles are most commonly used with loose synthetic hair, but you can also use loose human hair if you wish – especially if you want to use hot tools confidently.

Pros and Cons of Wearing Crochet Hairstyles

If you’re considering your next hairstyle, one that relies on crochet methods should be something to consider. But given the time and cost involved, whether you install it yourself or hire a stylist, it’s best to weigh the pros and cons to ensure crochet hairstyles are suitable for you.

The Pros of Crochet Hairstyles
So, let’s quickly talk about the benefits of crochet hairstyles.

Relatively easy to install – even for self-installers or first-time installers.
Easier to achieve this look than traditional box braids, wigs, or twists
Often cheaper than other protective hairstyles
Less stress on your natural hair because the hair is braided first.
Easier to keep your scalp clean and moisturized than braids.
Versatile styling options, including texture, length, and loosening with a weave or twist look.
It can be easily renewed by replacing old hair with crocheted new hair.
Disadvantages of crochet hair
Crochet hairstyles have many advantages, but they also have some disadvantages. So keep these realities in mind when you are planning your next hairstyle.

It doesn’t last as long as other protective hairstyles – up to two months can be squeezed out of a hairstyle.
Washing crocheted hair can shorten the life of a crochet hairstyle.

Types of Crochet Hairstyles

One of the great things about crochet hairstyles is that the sky is the limit to the looks you can achieve. As you can see in our inspiration photos above, you have many options to choose from. While you can opt for a more understated crochet style, this fun, low-manipulation style is also a great way to play with color, texture, and length without unnecessarily damaging your natural hair.

You can choose a crochet style that mimics traditional box braids, wigs, or Senegalese twists without causing stress to your natural hair. But you can also select a loose type that leaves the hair extensions free and the crochet base undetectable.
Just be sure to discuss your style goals with your stylist so they can advise you on the best hair extensions to use and how to maintain your style, so it looks great from the day it’s installed to the day you remove it.

Who Is Crochet Hair Best for?

Although crochet hairstyles are often advertised as protective for people with natural hair, anyone can rock a crochet hairstyle. Even if you relax your hair, you can still enjoy this style.

The most critical factor in whether crochet hairstyles are suitable for you is the health of your hair. Can your hair withstand being braided for two to eight weeks? Is your hair weak, brittle, or broken? If so, crochet hairstyles – or any hairstyle that relies on natural braiding hair – may not be for you.
Likewise, if you feel like you must wash your hair every day, then a crochet style may not be ideal because it won’t last as long.

How to Install Crochet Hairstyles

Compared to box braids, Fulani braids, or Senegalese twists, the crochet look is one of the few protective hairstyles that are great for first-time attendees to tackle. While it still requires mastery of crochet techniques – and more than one mirror – you can relax because you don’t need to worry too much about having the perfect braid technique.

Always start with clean hair.
Never start with dirty hair for any protective hairstyle. This is a great way to encourage more dirt and product buildup, creating a nightmare disassembly scenario when you’re ready to take your cropped braids out in a few weeks.
The front braids should be thinner, and if you’re doing a defined section, try to minimize the space between those particular braids so your final hairstyle will look more natural. While not necessary, some people like to weave braided hair into their natural hair as they braid. This is a great way to reduce the stress on your hair if you are concerned about the weight of the extensions used for crochet.

Some people sew the ends of their braids flat to get a balanced, neat look, while others tuck them down. There is no right or wrong choice here – choose the solution that makes you most happy.

Comb your hair
This is great if you want to create an intricate braid pattern, but it’s unnecessary. The tried-and-true option is to braid your hair from your hairline straight to the back of your neck. Again, since your hair will be hidden underneath the extensions, don’t worry about making them look perfect.

The most popular option is to make a two-in-one weave pattern, where you choose an even set of braids ranging from 10 to 12 from your hairline to the front half behind your ears. The ultimate goal is to have double the number of braids in the front half for less volume and more parting options and half the number of braids in the back half because the book in the back half is less of a concern. But once you’re just past the ears, you combine the two braids. So by the time you’re done, you should have turned ten into 5 or 12 into 6.

Crocheting the Extensions

Once you’ve finished draping the braid, it’s time to start crocheting. As far as tools go, there are several ways to do this. You can use crochet hooks or bobby pins. If you’re in a pinch, a large bobby pin might be a good way to go – especially if you find it challenging to handle crochet needles.

Be aware, though, that “crochet stitch” is a bit of a misnomer. If you’ve ever done crochet in the craft sense, you know that the needles used to crochet hairstyles are crochet hooks, not actual crochet hooks.

To begin, slide the needle under the cornrows and the latch off. Assemble your extension hair by folding it in half. Open the latch on the hand, slide the looped hair into the latch, and close the latch.
Gently pull the pin out from underneath the hair extension until about four or five inches (after folding) of ringlets are removed underneath the hair extension.
Open the latch, slide the extension of the looped hair, and remove the pin.
Hold the looped hair in one hand and the extension’s the free end (tail) in the other. Use your fingers to hold the loop open and pass the bottom through the loop.
Twist the loop flat once, so the excess of the tail is not stuck in the loop. Then thread your seat through the loop again.
Some people will choose to twist the hair loop and thread the tail through three times, while others will only need to incorporate it twice. Whichever way you choose, once you have sufficiently twisted the hair loop and threaded the tail through, pull it tight and eliminate any excess tail hair from the hair loop.
Continue doing this throughout your head until you have completed the crochet hair installation. Also, please note that the above steps should be followed when using bobby pins.

Styling the Crocheted Hair

Styling will depend on the hair you pick and the final look you wish to achieve. If you choose crochet braids or twists, follow the proper steps to create these looks. For a loose crochet look, start trimming your hair to eliminate any stray strands.

Also, shape the hair if you want layers, bangs, or even a blunt head. Depending on the hair and texture you want to mimic, you may need to use hot water and a curling iron to hold synthetic hair in place or a hot tool to hold human hair in place.

How to Wash and Maintain Crochet Hair?

This is one aspect of crochet hairstyles that can be a bit tricky. The reality is that it’s a two-part answer. Not only do you have to maintain the crochet hairstyle, but you also have to take care of the natural hair underneath.

Maintenance of crochet hairstyles
Crochet hairstyles can last anywhere from two to eight weeks, depending on your hair care routine. For crochet hair, your maintenance choices will depend directly on the type of hair you use. If you use synthetic hair such as Marley twists or Kanekalon, you can’t jump in the shower to wash them like you would with hair or human hair extensions.
Most crochet stylists will agree that you should avoid washing hair extensions altogether and focus on cleaning your scalp instead. However, if you choose to wash your crochet hair, do a gentle co-wash and handle the hair carefully. Vigorous rubbing can loosen the knots and shorten the life of your hair.

It would help if you still were careful with human hair when cleaning extensions, but you don’t have to worry as much about getting them wet. Still, avoid rubbing your hair extensions vigorously to protect your hairstyle.

First, this synthetic hair is not meant to be in constant contact with water. And doing so can cause curls or texture to fall, making your crochet hairstyle look sad. Worse, you may loosen the knots and cause the hairstyle to fall apart over time.

Caring for Your Hair

The whole point of protective hairstyles is to give your natural hair a break without the constant risk of manipulation that comes with wearing it out. But that doesn’t mean you should leave your natural hair untouched until you take down your protective hairstyle. If your goal is to promote hair growth and health, you still need to clean your scalp and moisturize your hair.

If you are still focused on retaining your hairstyle, opt for a targeted scalp cleanse that relies on the squeeze bottle method. While it may take more time, the goal is to use a bottle with a mixture of shampoo and water applied directly to the scalp.

Using the pads of your fingers, gently apply the solution to your scalp and your braids – try to avoid over-saturating the extensions.
Rinse the shampoo mixture and any combination that may saturate your extensions.
Opt for a leave-in conditioner for short hair rather than one that must be rinsed out of your hair. You can also spray your hair extensions with a leave-in conditioner.
The most important thing to remember when crocheting your hair is that you want to make sure your hair is thoroughly dry. While it’s not common, you run the risk of mold and mildew if your hair is wet and can’t dry it. When in doubt, use a hair dryer on a medium or low setting specifically to dry your cornrows.

How to Remove Crochet Hairstyles

Removing a crochet hairstyle is as easy as pulling a braid or twist – if not easier!

First, place each crochet extension as close to the original knot as possible. But make sure you don’t pinch your hair in the process.
While this is an optional option, some people like adding coconut or jojoba oil to their cornrows after trimming all the extensions and letting them sit for 30 minutes. Doing this will give you more slip and make removing the cornrows easier.
After 30 minutes, start unraveling your cornrows. The remaining crocheted hair should slide out easily as you work through the braid.

How Much Does It Cost to Get Crochet Hairstyles at the Salon?

This is a common question that people ask, and the tl;dr answer is that it depends. While installing a crochet hairstyle yourself is incredibly cheap since you only have to pay for the hair, a salon install can vary based on where you live, the salon you pick, and the complexity of the style you’re trying to create.

Factors such as the length you’re trying to achieve, or the size of your braids or twists (if you opt for that style) can come into play. However, plan to spend around $100 with the understanding that some salons will charge more because of the time commitment required to do this style.


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