Although protective styles are a great option to protect your hair but still keep it cute, they have their pros and cons. Although the pros usually outweigh the cons, it is always best to look up a style and find out its strengths and weaknesses. No one style is perfect for every type of hair, so finding out which protective style will best help you attain your hair goals is always a good idea.
A common protective style is crochet, sometimes referred to as latch hook braiding. This style is typically used to create length or protect one’s natural hair. Crochet braiding (or rather ‘the crochet method’) is a way of adding extensions to one’s hair. The basis of the method is first cornrowing one’s hair then applying extensions to the cornrows. Unlike a weave, however, the hair used is loose and not on a weft. And instead of being sewn in, crochet hair is looped under the cornrows with a crochet needle (essentially a hook) and secured with a knot.
Over the years, the textures of the hair used to crochet has become more natural-looking. With the help of crochet, naturalistas can be seen wearing havana twists, braid outs, flexi rod sets, and more while it appears to be their real hair. The undetectability of the crochet method has made crochet a more appealing protective style to the masses.
If you are considering giving crochet hair a try, here are 5 pros and cons to consider!
- They are affordable
Crochet hair is kinder to your pockets than some protective styles, so if you are looking for cost efficiency, they’re a great option. The hair can be found at most beauty supplies stores and on average is less than $10 a pack. If someone else is installing them for you that will inflate the price of the overall style, but you can always install them yourself. A quick YouTube search yields a plethora of tutorials on how to install, how to freshen them up, and how to style them. All which can help you avoid the salon and their prices.
- They are versatile
When it comes to styling them crochet braids offer endless possibilities. One day your hair can be in a wavy hairstyle, the next day a bob, the next day in locs, and the next day a fro. You can also play around with the curl patterns choose between textured or fine hair depending on your hair and preferences. Since your natural hair is concealed, thus giving you can incorporate a range of colors in your different looks.
- They are easy and quick to install
For Black women, crochet hair is extremely convenient in comparison to other protective styles. Getting braids sewn in as opposed to each individual strand being braided makes a very big difference when trying to cut down on time. It is also easier to switch from one style to the next with the crochet method. One can have their hair curly tresses one day and then in a couple of hours have a fresh set of braids, twists, or locs.
- No Shrinkage
One aspect of hair that many black women deal with is shrinkage. When your hair is freshly moisturized and still saturated, curls tend to remain loose and defined. Throughout the day your hair starts to dry and “shrink up.” With crochet hair, this is no longer a problem. The curly hair will stay defined all throughout the day and shrinkage is no longer a problem.
- Encourage Length Retention
With crochet hair, you can try out different styles without putting a lot of tension on your hair. It also allows you to protect your ends and keep heat off your hair for a little while. Since your hair is braided underneath the extensions and pretty much untouched, your hair has an opportunity to really grow.
Now that we have acknowledged the benefits of the crochet method, let’s take a look at the disadvantages.
- Can Cause Tension on Your Scalp
It is vital to the health of your hair that you are cognizant of the tension you are putting on your hair. Crochet hair is an added weight to your hair strands because it has been pulled through parts of your braided her. If too much hair creates too much weight, your hair and scalp will be under a lot of tension and can become irritated.
- Easily Tangle
Although it can help you achieve many protective styles, including the crochet style, synthetic hair is not always easy to manage. Because of its texture, synthetic hair tangles very easily and can affect the overall look of your hair if not maintained properly. It is important be careful with synthetic hair and remove it once it becomes too much so it does not tangle your hair too.
- Can Cause Stunting of Hair
Even though your hair is braided underneath the crochet, it is still there and has to be taken care of. If you don’t keep your scalp and hair moisturized and clean, it will become dry and healthy and potentially lead to breakage.
- The “Perfect Curl” is Not so Easy to Achieve
Just like your natural hair, it can be difficult to achieve a certain curl with crochet hair. You will definitely have to manipulate the hair with flexirods, hot water, and other methods to get your desired look. This is just something to keep in mind if you are looking for a style with as little maintenance as possible.
- Difficult for Updos
While your hair is braided back in cornrows, there is always the possibility that the cornrows might show in certain styles. Unless your braid is fully covered in extensions, which is not recommended because it would cause a lot of weight on that cornrow, the braid could be visible. Although there are many videos and techniques to achieve a great style, crotchet hair is still one of those styles that is very hard to put in an updo.