Crochet braids are a popular protective style that adds length and volume to natural hair. With proper installation and maintenance, crochet braids can last up to 8 weeks or longer. However, many factors affect the lifespan of crochet braids. Read on as we explore what determines how long crochet braids last and provide tips for maximizing their longevity.
What Are Crochet Braids?
- What Are Crochet Braids?
- Benefits of Crochet Braids
- Factors That Affect How Long Crochet Braids Last
- How To Make Crochet Braids Last
- How To Wash Crochet Braids
- Types of Crochet Hair Extensions
- Prepping Hair For Crochet Braids
- Installing Crochet Braids
- Maintaining Crochet Braids
- Styling Crochet Braids
- Taking Out Crochet Braids
Crochet braids involve sectioning the natural hair into cornrows and then attaching synthetic or human hair extensions using a crochet needle or latch hook tool. Knotting or latching the hair through the braids holds the extensions in place. They are also known as hook braids.
Crochet braids allow you to quickly achieve a long, voluminous hairstyle while protecting your natural hair. The extensions add fullness and length while keeping your hair neatly tucked away in cornrows underneath.
Benefits of Crochet Braids
Many benefits make crochet braids a popular choice:
- Add instant length and volume. Crochet braids provide a quick way to get long locks with fullness.
- Low maintenance: Compared to other protective styles, crochet braids require less upkeep.
- Protect natural hair – Keeping hair braided underneath shields it from manipulation and environmental damage.
- Versatile styling: Crochet braids can be installed straight, curly, or in various patterns for endless styling possibilities.
- Cost effective – They are one of the most budget-friendly protective styles.
Factors That Affect How Long Crochet Braids Last
How long your crochet braids last depends on several factors:
Proper Installation and Maintenance
Taking time to properly install crochet braids and performing regular maintenance is key to their longevity. Rushing the installation or neglecting upkeep can shorten the lifespan.
Proper installation involves neatly sectioning the natural hair, taking care not to braid too tightly, and securely attaching the extensions.
Regular maintenance, like gently washing, conditioning, moisturizing the hair beneath, and taking out shed hairs, prolongs how long crochet braids last.
Hair Extension Type
Synthetic and human hair extensions have different lifespans.
On average, synthetic crochet braids last 4-6 weeks with proper care. The delicate synthetic fibers tend to tangle and shed more over time.
Human hair extensions can last 6–8 weeks or longer since human hair is more durable. However, human hair is often more expensive.
Lifestyle and Product Usage
An active lifestyle or using the wrong hair products can compromise crochet braids.
Activities like exercising, swimming, or playing sports frequently may cause the extensions to loosen or shed prematurely.
Using harsh shampoos, oils, or styling products can also weaken the braids over time, leading to early removal.
Excessive heat styling damages extensions, causing them to shed or mat.
Aim to minimize direct heat on crochet braids. When heat styling is necessary, use lower temperatures and heat protectants.
For synthetic hair, avoid heat tools altogether. Synthetic fibers can melt under high heat.
Tension When Installing
Braiding too tightly or with uneven tension when attaching extensions can damage the follicles, leading to hair loss or thinning edges.
Keep braids loose at the scalp, and take care not to pull hair too taut when adding extensions.
General Hair Health and Texture
Hair that is damaged, dry, or brittle is more prone to breakage and shedding, which shortens the lifespan of crochet braids.
Curlier textures or those prone to tangles and matting may also require removal sooner than straighter hair types.
How To Make Crochet Braids Last
- Follow these general tips to maximize the longevity of crochet braids:
- Moisturize often. Use a spray leave-in conditioner daily and massage hair oil into your braids and natural hair underneath at least twice a week. Moisturizing prevents dryness and shedding.
- Gently wash your hair weekly. Use a sulfate-free, moisturizing shampoo to refresh your scalp and hair. Avoid rubbing harshly.
- Deep condition regularly. Nourish hair and extensions with weekly deep conditioning treatments.
- Protect ends: Tie down or tuck in loose ends to maintain neatness and prevent snagging.
- Sleep carefully. Cover your hair in a silk bonnet or scarf at night. Adjust sleeping positions to avoid crushing braids.
- Handle gently; avoid over-manipulating. Finger detangle only when needed, and minimize brushing.
- Style intelligently – Wear low-tension styles like buns, ponytails, or half-up dos. Limit heat styling.
- Monitor shed hair. Promptly remove any shed hairs to prevent matting and tangling.
Following a diligent maintenance routine keeps the hair and extensions smooth and tangle-free for longer-lasting crochet braids.
How To Wash Crochet Braids
Cleaning crochet braids properly is essential for longevity. The buildup of dirt, oil, and product residue damages the braids over time. Follow these tips:
- Shampoo weekly: Lather a sulfate-free shampoo onto your scalp using your fingertips. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat if needed.
- Focus on roots: Concentrate shampoo only on the scalp and root area rather than the entire length of hair.
- Deep condition after: Apply a hydrating hair mask post-shampoo to replenish moisture.
- Air dry completely. Blot braids with a t-shirt, then allow them to fully air dry before styling to prevent mildew.
- Use light oils. Seal damp braids with a few drops of lightweight oil like grapeseed or jojoba oil to boost shine and softness as the hair dries.
The right cleansing routine maintains the beauty of crochet braids, so they last longer.
Types of Crochet Hair Extensions
The type of hair extension used affects the longevity of crochet braids. Let’s compare the most common options:
Synthetic Hair Extensions
Synthetic crochet braids are the most affordable option. They come in multiple textures and styles.
- Uniform curl pattern
- Variety of colors and textures
- It doesn’t last as long as human hair
- Can’t withstand heat
- Prone to tangling
- Unnatural shine
Overall, with proper installation and care, synthetic crochet braids generally last 4-6 weeks.
Human Hair Extensions
Human hair crochet braids have a more natural look and feel. They blend seamlessly with natural hair.
- Light and bouncy feel
- Blends with natural hair
- Withstands heat styling
- Longer lifespan than synthetic
- More expensive
- Limited color selection
- Can still tangle over time
With the right maintenance regimen, human hair crochet braids can last 6–8 weeks or longer.
Curly Crochet and Faux Locs
For curly crochet braids and faux locs, extra care is needed. The curled and twisted shape makes them prone to tangling and matting.
- Finger detangle only when needed
- Sleep with hair wrapped in a silk scarf
- Moisturize daily, focusing on ends
The curly texture requires extra TLC, but proper upkeep allows them to last just as long as straight crochet braids.
Prepping Hair For Crochet Braids
Preparing the hair properly before installation helps crochet braids last by preventing breakage and shedding. Here are some prep tips:
- Shampoo and deep condition: Clarify and hydrate the hair one week before getting crochet braids.
- Detangle thoroughly. Ensure there are no tangles or shed hair before braiding down the hair.
- Apply leave-in. Coat hair with a moisturizing leave-in spray or cream for added slip and moisture retention.
- Consider large box braids. Rather than tight cornrows, opt for loose box braids underneath as an anchor. This puts less tension on the hair for longer-lasting crochet braids.
- Avoid chemical treatments: Hold off on chemical services for at least 2 weeks before installation to prevent damage and increased shedding.
Properly prepping the hair and scalp makes for the healthiest foundation for long-lasting crochet braids.
Installing Crochet Braids
The technique used when installing crochet braids also determines how long they last. Follow these tips for the best results:
- Create neat cornrows. Section hair cleanly from forehead to nape and cornrow back smoothly. Leave edges out to prevent tension.
- Secure ends: tie braids at ends with elastic bands to prevent unraveling.
- Work in sections: crochet braids in rows, working down from top to bottom and front to back symmetrically.
- Attach strands securely. Use a latch hook to pull the extension hair through braids. Ensure it is knotted or latched securely.
- Maintain even tension. Be careful not to pull hair too tightly as you attach the extensions.
- Seal ends: Once complete, lightly singe synthetic ends to seal. For human hair, apply clear nail polish.
Proper installation techniques prevent premature loosening and shedding for longer lasting crochet braids.
Maintaining Crochet Braids
Consistency is key when it comes to caring for crochet braids. Regular maintenance is what makes them last 4–8 weeks. Here are crucial maintenance tips:
- Spritz braids with a moisturizing leave-in conditioner, focusing on the ends.
- Massage hair oil like argan, olive, or jojoba oil along the braids and on your scalp every few days.
Gently Remove Shed Hairs
- Carefully remove any hair that has been shed using your fingers. Avoid pulling.
- Check regularly to prevent matting and buildup.
Tie Up Ends
- Secure loose ends in a bun or ponytail to protect them.
- Tuck in flyaway strands using bobby pins or silk scarves.
- Cover hair in a silk bonnet at night.
- Adjust the sleeping position to avoid crushing braids.
- Keeping braids loose and tangle-free is key for longevity!
Styling Crochet Braids
How you style crochet braids also impacts their lifespan. Here are some do’s and don’ts for styling:
- Try buns, ponytails, and updos to protect ends and minimize tangling.
- Set on large rollers or flexi rods for loose, romantic waves and curls.
- Gently brush through straight synthetic hair to smooth flyaways.
- Refresh curls in faux locs by gently finger-coiling pieces.
- Wearing hair down with ends rubbing on clothing frequently.
- Sleeping with wet hair overnight.
- Applying direct heat, like flat irons or curling wands, to synthetic hair.
- Harshly brushing through curly or coily crochet braids.
Choose low-tension styles and handle hair gently when styling for longevity.
Taking Out Crochet Braids
Removing crochet braids properly ensures hair health for the next install. Follow these tips when taking out your crochet braids:
- Generously coat hair in conditioner or oil to lubricate the strands.
- Starting at the ends, gently tease apart knots and detangle shed hairs using your fingers or a wide-tooth comb.
- Avoid ripping out braids or extensions.
Shampoo Scalp and Hair
- Lather the scalp with a clarifying, oil-removing shampoo to clear away the buildup.
- Allow suds to run through the length of your hair as you rinse.
- Repeat the wash if needed, then follow up with a moisturizing deep conditioner.
Dry and Style
- Apply a leave-in conditioner and style hair in braids or twists while it dries to prevent tangling.
Taking time to properly remove crochet braids prevents damaging hair, so it’s ready for the next install!
When done and cared for properly, crochet braids can last anywhere from 4–8 weeks or longer, depending on the hair type and extensions used. Maintaining your natural hair and extensions with regular moisturizing, gentle washing, and protective handling and styling allows the braids to last.
Avoiding heat and tension minimizes damage, so crochet braids maintain their beauty over time.
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