My Advice for Handling Crochet Braids
I've had two sets of crochet braids over the past 4 months. I loved them! After my first set of crochets, I noticed something a little different about my hair. I had a hard press, so my hair didn't normally look like it does after being straightened, but I thought something else was off with my hair.
When I got my second set of crochet braids, I decided to look at how I was managing my hair and took a few notes of things not to do when caring for crochet braids.
1. Be careful about how you style your hair.Getting crochet braids is exciting!! You don't have to handle your twists the way you handle your loose hair. You're getting a break and it feels great. You have these braids that you can do so many things with! Here are some prime examples:
However, you don't want to over style your hair. Yes, this is a protective style, but the purpose of a protective style is to give your hair a break. You can't give your hair a break if you're constantly styling (read stressing) your hair out! This goes double time for your edges. You should always be super careful around your edges, but take more precaution with braids. Take into account how strong, or long, your edges are when styling your hair. Too much twisting and turn can pull the hair out. So, be mindful of this when you're having all this fun with your twists.
2. Care for your scalp and new growthYou have to care for the hair that's growing out of your head as it grows. You will have new growth sprouting up underneath the braids and you have to care for it, so it won't become weak. You have to know your hair and know what it needs and when it needs it. I would alternate between moisturizing the hair and oiling my scalp every 2-3 days. If the day came and I felt like my hair was in good shape, I wouldn't do it just for the sake of doing it. So, don't cake on products but don't neglect your hair either.
Another part that's tied to caring for you scalp and hair is determining whether to wash your hair or not. During my first stint, I washed my hair after a month. I wanted to keep my crochet braids for at least two months, so I knew I would have to wash them after a month. I used dry shampoo the month before and after the wash if I noticed build up. I also used it to refresh the twists themselves. The second set of crochet braids lasted only 6 weeks. Since I knew I wasn't keeping them long, I only used the dry shampoo to keep my scalp and twists fresh and this sufficed.
3. Handle your new growth with care.While you're caring for your new growth by keeping your scalp and hair oiled, moisturized, and clean the biggest advice I can give is make sure you're snapping your hair follicles at the root. Once I felt like my hair had thinned after my first set of crochet braids, I began watching how I was handling my second set of crochet braids. I would flip rows of braids over and rub my finger down the parts of my hair (moving from the front of my head to the back) to moisturize my scalp and hair every couple of days. Once I started paying more attention, I could hear hair snapping while I was doing this. It was then that I had a revelation!
I'm not saying this is the definitive answer to my hair thinning. I'm not even saying that my hair has thinned (for the reasons mentioned in my length check post). The point I'm calling attention to here is the type of care you need to show your new growth. It's so easy to forget that your hair is under all these cute braids and twists because you feel like the hair is protected and being held in place by the cornrows and crocheted extensions, but it's not fully protected! Unlike sew-ins, you don't have a cap to further protect your hair and keep new growth snags from happening, so patience and extreme care is needed! I would also suggest moisturizing and oiling your hair from the center of the part towards the cornrow (moving in sideways motion).
SO, the biggest piece of advice about crochet braids that I want you is PROTECT YOUR HAIR!! It's easy to get complacent with the protective style, but remember, our ultimate goal is healthy hair!!
What advice would you give for protecting your hair during protective styling?