Crotchet braids have become almost like an overnight sensation. For African American women, the convenience of getting your braids sewn in rather than countless hours of each individual strand being braided is extremely appealing. After all, you can have your hair curly one day or be daring with a set of braids, twists, or locs in 2 or 3 hours versus 10 to 15 hours. This protective style gained so much popularity with African American women; however, have you ever given thought to some of the downfalls of crotchet styles?
CROTCHET STYLING BASICS
In order to have your hair styled with crotchet braids or curls, your hair must be braided in cornrows at its base. The crotched hair is already braided or already styled and it’s super quick and very easy to install. Your hair can look very natural if done right. But here lies the problem: If your cornrows are braided down to your scalp too tightly it can cause tension on your follicles causing hair loss and thinning.
QUICK AND EASY STYLES ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE
The beauty of crochet styles is that they have made braids and curly styles even more accessible to women who want easy and diverse styling without the wait. So it's easy to get crotchet in braids twists or locs. Some stylists also charge less because there is less time involved in the installation of the hair. But, no matter whether you have hair that is super thin or super thick, this style may cause breakage. Let me break down for you some of the damage that crotchet styles can cause.
DAMAGING EFFECTS OF CROTCHET STYLES
1. You Need To Monitor the Strands Added To Your Hair and Their Weight
If you have crotchet braids that are braided throughout your hair, there are smaller strands that allow you to cornrow the hair underneath. Sticking a crotchet needle through your scalp is almost like parting your hair. However, adding a braided twist loc or braid through this small part of your hair under an already braided cornrow can pull at your delicate hair strands or even add a lot of unnecessary weight to your hair. This is especially the case if you want a full head of hair for your crotchet style. The weight of the added 10 to 15 pieces of hair extensions on your alone hair can be overwhelming to your scalp. You may not notice it at first glance but getting crotchet braids on a regular basis can cause spaces in between your hair that only a good, ethical hairstylist will only be able to see because you can't see your full head at once.
I had a client that came in regularly to get crotchet braids because we thought it was easy and super cute. As a stylist, I noticed that her hair was looking a little spacy in places where the strands of hair were placed. Over time, I noticed that it was actually in places where I normally would add the hair and we were using rough Marley hair at the moment to create the crotchet Marley Curls look. I noticed that many of my clients who came in to get that style had the same issue. I began realizing that the Marley hair was too rough and the strands that were added into it were big strands of hair that were pulling out her normal hair as the hair would be placed in with the needle and hair pulled through her already secured cornrows. As soon as I realized this I asked her to do an individual hairstyle instead. So we opted for individual twists for the next couple of hair installs. I noticed a significant change.
2. The “Perfect Curl” Is Not So Easy To Achieve
From the real story above, throughout the process and with many other clients I normally did the crotchet with crotchet hair that was already curly and super soft. I did it this way so that it would not pull any hair out because the strands where smaller and the hair I used was softer. Even though Marley curls are not as popular as a style, it can be such a hassle competing with YouTube stars to achieve a great curl by just dipping hair in hot water. Many of my clients would see the videos on YouTube and show me these styles. Unfortunately, what a lot of stylists do not realize is that any curls added to Marley hair must be rodded and dipped with hot water and set like that until it is time to install the hair. Not as easy to achieve as some of the YouTube stars may make it seem.
In order to get that perfect curl, these YouTube videos start with rodding and dip the curls in hot water more than once and set it for hours or even overnight. As a stylist, this is challenging because you immediately would take out the rods in order to be able to keep them. In turn, you get a lot of frizzy curls. As a client, you would have to maintain the curl that simply doesn’t last as long—especially since most stylists would not allow you to take the rods home. It would be nice if everyone could take home a new set of rods. However, that’s not reality and your hair may not look like it does in the photos you see on blogs or YouTube channels.
3. Beware of Hair ‘Snapping’
After having experiences with many clients, I decided to try doing the crochet style on my own head with the already pre-twisted Senegalese twists and…SNAP! Yes, my hair was snapping in the process of installing my crotchet twists. So after a week I took my hair down and realized I had a lot of hair shed. This brought me to the conclusion that my hair was definitely being snapped—literally to the roots. So I told myself I would not do any sort of crotchet braid, twist or locs on any of my clients’ hair so that I can continue a healthy hair regime with their precious crowns.
4. What About Updos?
No matter how you wear your hair, many of my clients who get crochet braids are still concerned that their hair braided underneath may show. Yes, your hair is braided back in cornrows but there is always the possibility that the cornrows might show every so often unless your braid is fully covered in extensions which would, once again, cause a lot of weight on that cornrow.
Although there are many techniques that show how to achieve a great foundation to style your hair, crotchet styles are still one of those styles that is very hard to put in an updo. But NOT anymore, thank to the PuffCuff Hair Clamp. The easiest way to achieve updos and not cause stress to your hair underneath is to use the PuffCuff to hold your center curls. Gather a good size handful of the crochet curls in the center back portion of your head. Let the hair around your edges fall. Then depending on how much hair you've gathered, choose the appropriate size PuffCuff and cuff that puff of curls. Use bobby pins to pull up and secure some of your dangling tendrils to achieve the look you desire. And there you are. Done —a painless, gorgeous crochet updo.
The PuffCuff STARTER KIT is the perfect toolset to help style crochets and aid in the takedown process. The TangleMaster and Misting spray bottle make for gentle and speedy detangling after removing the crochets, shampooing and deep conditioning your natural hair.MY FINAL THOUGHTS
If you want a healthy hairstyle, finding the right stylist to put the right amount of hair and tension to your scalp is hard to find. If you must choose your hair done in a crochet style then be sure to ask your stylist not to apply too much tension on your scalp so that your hair will have more room to attach the extension. This will help you achieve healthier tresses under your crotchet style. You can also ask them not to put too many pieces of strands on each cornrow so that the weight is not pulling at your scalp and not thinning out your hair. Follow these tips and you can still enjoy the convenience of crotchet styles without the cost of harming your hair.
Fatima Daniels is the owner of Natistic — Hair Where hair is Natural and Fantastic! Natastic is a natural hair salon that brings its clients both the quality and the fabulosity of an upscale establishment, all while being affordable! With unique techniques and creative styling, from the owner, herself, Natastic is an authentic, ever-growing brand. Follow Fatima on Instagram at @natastic_hair and Facebook.