Flashback to Crochet Micro Braids!
I used to wear the micro braided crochet styled hair extensions back in high school. I wore them quite often in fact, I had my track pictures taken with the style in. I can’t find that decent picture but I found this one of me in Atlanta. My girlfriend and I went to scout colleges but we also decided to pierce our belly buttons. Please pray for me that my children don’t follow in ALL of my footsteps. Sitting in someone’s house and getting my hair braided for hours on end, is not my speed.
Over the years I graduated to more sleek styles such as sew-in weaves. While I loved how my long sew-ins complimented my face shape, the styles were not always conducive to swimming or vacation. Before we went to Jamaica last year I discovered Lia Lavon YouTube channel and she gave me the endorsement I needed for wearing crochet braids on vacation. Check her out because she does a great job of ranking the crochet braid brands, giving you some insight on how they wear after they have been wet and washed.
Crochet Braids on Vacation!
For some reason I didn’t think synthetic hair and water was a good idea, well I was wrong. Wearing Crochet braids will help maintain a protective style no matter what type of contact you plan to have with water. With crochet braids, you’ll find a functional solution that looks polished. I will never forget the disastrous experience I had with a sew-in weave on vacation when I snorkeled in salt water. James and I were celebrating our birthdays at Couples Tower Isles in Jamaica 2009.
Sew-Ins Extensions and Salt Water- Just say NO!
Let’s just say I started the vacation with a blond wavy sew- in weave and ended the vacation with my natural bob blown out and straightened. After we returned from our snorkeling excursion I returned to the room and tried to untie my hair from the ponytail. It was matted and tangled. I worked for over an hour trying to use conditioner to unravel the mess. It was too late.
Thank god we were in Jamaica and the ladies in the salon at the resort could help me cut the matted extensions out and get me back to looking fabulous for the rest of my vacation. I now know tricks to help prevent this type of extension emergency. Putting your extensions in a braid, or bun and filling your hair cuticle with water and conditioner before getting into salt water will protect your hair from absorbing too much-dehydrating salt water. Also, colored treated extensions are not as ideal for swimming as virgin hair is.
Nonetheless, I believe sew-in-weaves are a lot of maintenance. That’s just not how I want to spend my leisure time. I put in protective styles to give my natural hair a chance to rest and not be manipulated. Plus we all know that shrinkage is real and who wants to do a regimen for natural hair while they are on vacation? Not I, I give my scalp a chance to breathe and I give myself a break from my natural hair routine so the last thing I want to do is turn around and style, curl and maintain a weave. Remember my post on Natural Hair Fatigue? Crochet braids are an easy alternative. Easy to maintain and much less maintenance. Plus, the textures are varying and consistent with my natural hair texture.
Maintaining Crochet Braids
How I maintain my crochet braids. Although I am a flexible natural, (meaning I do not omit all forms of heat, and I still utilize extensions), I still stay woke. I am smarter about how I incorporate these protective styling methods now than I was before I went natural. I love to experiment with my hair yet I stay focused on my real hair underneath the extended hair.
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Products used to maintain natural hair underneath my extensions/crochet braids:
Girl + Hair
This company was developed by a Physician after her decision to do the big chop and go natural. She struggled to care for her natural hair beneath her extensions and protective styles. She developed a line of under hair care products that help you maintain your moisture and encourage growth while wearing protective styles. I use the following products which all have a nozzle that is great for getting underneath the braids.
For the crochet braided hair you will need:
And don’t forget to sleep in your SWURLY sleep cap which is large enough to hold all that hair:
Also, make sure you have a Crochet Needle because the pieces can slip out.[/stextbox]
There are a wealth of videos saying these Crochet Styles can be easily achieved at home. I can braid the girl’s hair with no problems but braiding my own is a different story! My preference is a professional installation. I just took out my crochet braids and I will say this time the stylist used very small braids. This made the removal difficult and I was feeling a bit stressed about the removal.
Remember protective styling is great but the most important component is your natural hair underneath the style. Be sure to keep it clean and oiled. Choose a braid pattern that simplifies removal, deep condition in between protective styles and do not be afraid to try new styles or reinvent old ones!